Weeks 6 to 10 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Embryo in uterus, with detail of development at 8 weeks pregnant

Overview

During the first 6 to 10 weeks of your pregnancy, your body goes through many changes. Your baby grows very quickly, even though you can't feel it yet. You may start to feel different, both in your body and your emotions. Because each pregnancy is unique, there's no right way to feel. You may feel the healthiest you've ever been, or you might feel tired or sick to your stomach ("morning sickness").

These early weeks are a time to make healthy choices and to eat the best foods for you and your baby.

This is also a good time to think about birth defects testing. These are tests done during pregnancy to look for possible problems with the baby. First-trimester tests for birth defects can be done between 10 and 13 weeks of pregnancy, depending on the test. Talk with your doctor about what kinds of tests are available.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Eat well

  • Eat at least 3 meals and 2 healthy snacks every day. Eat fresh, whole foods, including:
    • 7 or more servings of bread, tortillas, cereal, rice, pasta, or oatmeal.
    • 3 or more servings of vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables.
    • 2 or more servings of fruits.
    • 3 or more servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese.
    • 2 or more servings of meat, turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, or dried beans.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid sodas and other sweetened drinks.
  • Choose foods that have important vitamins for your baby, such as calcium, iron, and folate.
    • Dairy products, tofu, canned fish with bones, almonds, broccoli, dark leafy greens, corn tortillas, and fortified orange juice are good sources of calcium.
    • Beef, poultry, liver, spinach, lentils, dried beans, fortified cereals, and dried fruits are rich in iron.
    • Dark leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, liver, fortified cereals, orange juice, peanuts, and almonds are good sources of folate.
  • Avoid foods that could harm your baby.
    • Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, chicken, or fish (such as sushi or raw oysters).
    • Do not eat raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs, such as Caesar dressing.
    • Do not eat soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy foods, such as Brie, feta, or blue cheese.
    • Do not eat fish that contains a lot of mercury, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, or king mackerel. Limit some other types of fish, such as white (albacore) tuna, to 4 oz (0.1 kg) a week.
    • Do not eat raw sprouts, especially alfalfa sprouts.
    • Cut down on caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and cola.

Protect yourself and your baby

  • Do not touch kitty litter or cat feces. They can cause an infection that could harm your baby.
  • Avoid things that can make your body too hot and may be harmful to your baby, such as a hot tub or sauna. Or talk with your doctor before doing anything that raises your body temperature. Your doctor can tell you if it's safe.

Cope with morning sickness

  • Sip small amounts of water, juices, or shakes. Try drinking between meals, not with meals.
  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day. Try dry toast or crackers when you first get up, and eat breakfast a little later.
  • Avoid spicy, greasy, and fatty foods.
  • When you feel sick, open your windows or go for a short walk to get fresh air.
  • Try nausea wristbands. These help some people.
  • Tell your doctor if you think your prenatal vitamins make you sick.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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