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Week 1: Preconception
Understanding gestational and fetal age.
The first week of pregnancy is called preconception because it actually begins with the start of your last menstrual period. Why? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when your egg becomes fertilized, so the date of your last cycle is a more accurate starting point.
Your doctor will calculate your due date by counting 40 weeks from the start of your last menstrual period. This is called the gestational age, and it’s how most doctors measure pregnancies.
Because ovulation and conception take place about two weeks after your period begins, your baby’s fetal age (which begins when your egg is fertilized) will be two weeks less than his gestational age. So, when you’re eight weeks pregnant, your baby’s fetal age is 6 weeks.
Early Pregnancy Nutrition Tips
How to give baby the healthiest start.
During preconception, focus on giving your body the nutrition and fitness it needs -- and always consider what a baby will need in the months to come:
- Eat balanced meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners. Compare what you’re eating to what’s recommended on ChooseMyPlate.gov.
- Make sure your diet includes essential minerals and vitamins needed for pregnancy. Both folate and folic acid have been shown to reduce the risk of early pregnancy birth defects:
- Folate is found naturally in lentils, peas and dried beans.
- Folic acid is added to fortified whole-grain breads.
- Enhance your diet with prenatal vitamins. If you haven’t already, talk with your OB-GYN about supplements.
- Address any medical conditions. If you’re taking prescription medications, you should consult your doctor or OB-GYN prior to becoming pregnant.