From head to toes. Last week
, the brain started to develop into three distinct structures. This week, other body parts are beginning: hands and feet are forming tiny webbed fingers and toes. And the tail your little one has been sporting starts to disappear.
Tummy works. The extremities aren't the only things developing-the middle is making strides too. As the intestines form, a middle loop moves into the umbilical cord because there's not enough room for it in the abdomen. Even at this early stage, the intestines are working to carry waste away from the body. A month from now, when there's more room in your little one's belly, the intestines will have moved back into the abdomen and out of the cord.
Live wire. If you could poke your little one's body, you'd see it react with a jerk. This is because the developing nervous system is already communicating with the muscles.
Measuring up. Your tiny resident is about the size and shape of a large peanut, weighing in at about 0.25 gram and measuring anywhere from 7 to 17 millimetres.
Start your photo album now ;ultrasound technology provides some good black and white images by this stage. This sonogram (an ultrasound photo) shows how much your little one has developed in just a few weeks. See the eye (1), chin (2), legs (3), and placenta (4).
Getting good care.
It's time for your first prenatal visit, so if you haven't visited your general practitioner or midwife, do so now. Women who start receiving prenatal care in the first three months have smoother pregnancies and healthier babies than those who don't receive early care. Whoever looks after you through the pregnancy it's important that you be comfortable with his or her philosophy and practices. Your visits are usually scheduled once a month until the seventh month (28 weeks) then more frequently until birth. Typically you will be seen every fortnight from 28 till 36 weeks and then weekly until the baby is born around 40 weeks. These checkups offer the perfect opportunity to ask questions; so don't hesitate to bring up any concerns, large or small. Write them down between visits so you won't forget. For more information, read Choosing a doctor and midwife
. When to tell.
It's a subject of much debate: when should you share your exciting news with the rest of the world? Some couples tell close friends and family right away. Others choose to wait until they're past the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage has diminished. Some women prefer to wait until they're showing. When it comes to telling your boss, only you can make that decision. If you have a high-risk pregnancy (or if morning sickness is keeping you tethered to the bathroom), you may need to share the information sooner rather than later so you can discuss a flexible work schedule. Whatever the case, you can't be fired from your job for being pregnant. However long you have been employed, you have a right to 18 weeks maternity leave and to return to your job after this period if you wish. If you have worked for your current employer for at least 26 weeks you have a right to paid maternity leave. If you do not qualify for this you may claim the state maternity allowance. If your job is such that it will harm either your health or the baby's, your employer must either offer you an alternative job or suspend you on full pay. You are also entitled to time off to attend antenatal clinics. From the experts.
Feeling fatigued? "It's a common symptom in early pregnancy," says Dr. Elaine Zwelling. "A good diet, plenty of sleep, and exercise can go a long way to heading off exhaustion." Get tips on how to boost your energy
from Dr. Zwelling and Dr. Thornton.