Get more information on week one of your pregnancy. Your first week is actually counted from the first day of your last period, before youve even conceived. If you do become pregnant, the fact that your body prepares itself becomes part of the pregnancy process, which is why the pre-conception weeks are counted.
If youre currently trying to fall pregnant theres lots to do and plenty to prepare before you begin this incredible journey. Join us for everything you need to know about the amazing 40-42 weeks of pregnancy.
Your physical pregnancy changes
As youre still waiting for an egg to be released so that it can make that all-important connection with a sperm, youre not going to have any kind of symptoms or see changes to your body just yet.
Your health and fitness during pregnancy
Fit, healthy and happy people seem to have less trouble conceiving so its important to avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Make sure youre getting enough sleep and ensure youre feeling as stress-free as possible. This is a great time to book a holiday with your partner and get away for a well-deserved break your body will thank you for it.
If you are on any prescription medicines its best to check with your doctor because some can harm developing babies.
Neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, have been linked to low levels of folic
acid during early pregnancy so boost your intake with a 500mcg supplement every day before conceiving and during the first few months.
Fresh tip: Be sure to stop using all types of birth control methods a few months before you start trying to conceive. Some can take a while to leave your system and its good to give your body time to adjust.
If youre planning to get pregnant soon now is the time to stock up on vitamins. According to nutritionist Emma Sutherland, folic acid is one of the most important when it comes to your pre-pregnancy diet.
From the moment you fall pregnant you will hear endless stories about what you can and cant eat and what supplements you should and shouldnt take. But rewind a moment, because before you get that far its the amount of folic acid, also known as folate or folacin, that you want to increase.
Why is folic acid so important?
It helps to produce red blood cells, norepinephrine and seratonin (chemical components of the nervous system)
It helps make DNA
It is a critical component of spinal fluid
Folic acid is one of the B group vitamins, also known as B9, and it is generally difficult for us to get enough folic acid from the foods we eat each day to get the supply thats recommended during pregnancy. This is why many countries recommend women planning pregnancy use a folic acid supplement during the preconception period.
The recommended daily intake for women before conception, and in the first three months of pregnancy, is 400 micrograms. Some countries even fortify staple foods with folic acid. These recommendations focus on the prevention of neural tube defects and there is also increasing evidence that folic acid influences birth weight, therefore a deficiency in folic acid may contribute to low birth weight in newborn babies.
pregnancies and examined whether periconceptual (the time preceding, including and immediately following conception) folic acid supplementation affected foetal growth and the risks of low birth weight, small for gestation age (SGA) and preterm birth. According to the results, starting folic acid (400-500ug/day) before falling pregnant reduced low birth weight risk by 57% and SGA by 60%. Periconceptual folic acid intake was positively associated with foetal growth resulting in higher placental weight and birth weight.
From a naturopathic point of view the last 2-3 weeks while the baby is in the womb are vital for establishing optimal development of the nervous system and brain. Research has shown that there is a clear link between preterm birth and neurological issues that may affect the babys mental development.
How do I get folates in my diet?
Getting more folates into your body is easier than you might think. By doing something as simple as taking a comprehensive prenatal supplement, which includes folic acid, as well as eating lots of foods that contain folic acid such as beans, rye bread, spinach and kale, you will increase your chances of having a healthy bouncing baby.
Looking for more pre-pregnancy tips and advice on conception? Woolworths Baby and Toddler Club has plenty of information on everything from fertility myths to pre-conception health.
Your week 1 pregnancy checklist
Note down the day you start your period and how long it lasts
Cut out all alcohol and caffeine
Check with your doctor if youre taking any prescription medications
Start taking 500mcg of folic acid every day
Relax and remain as stress-free as possible
The fun bit start practising!