Brain child. Your little's one's big accomplishment last week was the "zipping up" of the neural tube. This week, the budding genius is working on building brainpower. Although brain development will continue long after birth, the basic sections are laid down now. As the week progresses, the organ will divide into three parts: forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The forebrain will be responsible for things such as reasoning, problem solving, and forming and retaining memories. The midbrain will function as a traffic cop, relaying electrical signals to their final destinations in the brain. And the hindbrain will take care of breathing, heart rate, and muscle movement. The action isn't all upstairs, however. Limbs are also growing fast. Arm and leg buds have sprouted, though at this point they look more like paddles.
Measuring up. Your little one is 0.15 to 0.3 inch (4 to 8 millimeters) long this week, a little larger than the width of your pinky nail.
Gotta go! Do you find yourself constantly running to the bathroom? Your raging hormones and increased blood volume cause your body to produce more fluid, which then has to be eliminated. Don't cut back on your water intake, though; on the contrary, you should make an effort to drink more water than before you were pregnant.
Healthy habits. When you see your health care provider for your first prenatal visit, he or she may caution you about the risks of contracting toxoplasmosis, an infection that's passed through raw or undercooked meat and cat feces. The infection is harmful to your fetus but not to you (unless you have a weakened immune system). You may have already had toxoplasmosis without knowing it—if this is the case, you are immune. Even if you haven't, your chances of contracting the disease now are very low, as long as you take the proper precautions. To avoid coming in contact with the germ, order your burgers and steaks well done, and wash your hands thoroughly after preparing meat. Be sure to wear gloves when gardening so you don't accidentally touch any cat feces. And take yourself off kitty litter duty for the rest of your pregnancy.
From the experts. Are you wondering if your job will affect your health? "Most types of employment are not dangerous for pregnant women," says Margaret Comerford Freda, Ed.D., R.N. "There are exceptions, however, including jobs in which you inhale the fumes of cleaning solvents or do heavy lifting." If this is the case, you don't need to quit, but you should take some precautions. Find out more from Dr. Freda about working during pregnancy.