Even though you may not feel that you’re pregnant yet, you have a baby growing and developing inside of you! Although your baby was just conceived, he or she is working overtime. The fertilized egg goes through a process of division. About 30 hours after fertilization, it divides into two cells, then four cells, then eight, and continues to divide as it moves from the fallopian tube to the uterus. By the time it gets to the uterus, this group of cells looks like a tiny ball and is called a morula. The morula becomes hollow and fills with fluid — it is then known as a blastocyst. Near the end of this week, the blastocyst will attach itself to the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. This is called implantation. The implantation in the uterus is an essential connection — the endometrium will provide the developing embryo with nutrients and will remove wastes. Over time, this implantation site will develop into the placenta.
Adequate intake of certain nutrients, such as folic acid, protein, calcium, and iron, is essential for nourishing your baby. A folic acid supplement — which, ideally, you’ve been taking since before you conceived — is particularly important because folic acid helps prevent defects of the neural tube (the structure that gives rise to the brain and spinal cord), which forms very early in pregnancy. Your intake of protein, which is used to create new tissue, should increase during pregnancy. In addition, calcium is necessary for the development of bones and teeth, so make sure you’re getting a good dose of dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and legumes. Iron is essential during pregnancy as you support the continual increase of your baby’s blood volume. Good sources of iron include red meat, legumes, eggs, and leafy green vegetables.