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8 WEEKS, 1 DAY

223 days to go...

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Your baby today

At this early stage in the pregnancy the placenta is much larger than the fetus. The fetus can just be seen within the amniotic sac. The fronds (white area) on the surface of the sac make up the placenta and at this stage surround nearly all of the amniotic sac.

Not all pregnant women have cravings, but many women do experience a change in their food preferences.

When it comes to being pregnant, it seems your body instinctively knows what you like to eat. Experts are not sure how this can happen but it seems your body has natural protective mechanisms; certain foods are not good for the developing baby so your body turns you away from them; or your body is deficient in certain nutrients, so craves foods that will provide them.

Suddenly you can't stand the thought of food and drinks that you have always loved and find yourself craving things you never previously liked, or you long for bizarre combinations of foods. Aversions and cravings are often associated with nausea. It's common to be turned off by fatty foods since the smell alone can make you feel sick. You may start to dislike the taste or the smell of coffee or tea, cigarettes, and alcohol.

It is common to crave strong-tasting foods such as pickles, which may be due to the fact your taste buds change during pregnancy. What's termed "pica" is an unhealthy craving for bizarre items (see as a matter of fact).

You should try to eat healthily, but there are a few foods which should be avoided (see What to avoid). Otherwise eat whatever combinations you desire-and don't worry about the strange looks you might get in the sandwich shop!

Ask A... Nutritionist

Should I stop adding salt to my food?

There is no need to limit salt intake but don't have in excess of the recommended 0.2 oz (6 g) a day.

During pregnancy, your blood and other bodily fluids expand almost 50 percent, an expansion that requires extra water and salt. The majority of salt in the diet comes from processed foods, not from the salt shaker or the salt you add in cooking. To manage your intake, eat whole foods you cook yourself and add your own salt to taste.

Focus On... Dads

Satisfy her cravings

If it's a mom-to-be's responsibility to play host to baby for nine months, it most definitely falls within a your dad-to-be's job description to see that your partner gets everything she needs. A word of warning: cravings usually occur the minute the local store has closed, or in the evening when you're relaxing. Forget the pickles and ice cream you've been told to expect. Instead, be prepared for a last-minute dash to the local pizza place, a trek to a 24-hour supermarket that carries organic sour cream-flavored potato chips, beets, or a chocolate doughnut.

You can help by preparing meals and snacks some of the time: if your partner is presented with healthy food lovingly prepared by you, she may be less likely to reach for any unhealthy food she craves.

If an ice cream craving strikes, try to have one spoonful, not the whole container. Pair it with fresh fruit for a healthy combination.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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