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161 days to go...

ultrasound of human fetus at 17 weeks exactly

Your baby today

Every part of your baby has an enhanced blood supply bringing nutrients for growth. Blood vessels are easy to see on scans because the skin is still quite transparent, with little fat yet deposited beneath the skin.

While your energy levels are at a peak, make the most of eating out but choose your meals wisely.

Being pregnant doesn't have to cramp your lifestyle, and it's perfectly possible to eat out safely. You may, however, have to ask what's in particular dishes to avoid eating foods that aren't recommended during pregnancy, such as soft cheeses, shellfish, and raw eggs (see What to avoid).

Don't be afraid to ask questions about what exactly is in a dish and always request that your meat and fish are cooked to well done, to avoid any possible contamination. Check that all cheese and milk products, including yogurts, included in recipes, have been pasteurized.

You may find that fatty foods upset your stomach and cause heartburn (see ... Health), and, if so, stick with foods that have been grilled or steamed, rather than fried. Beware of accompaniments such as pickles and chutneys that may not be entirely fresh. Pâtés and terrines should also be avoided.

Ask A... Nutritionist

I'm a vegetarian but keep craving meat. Is this normal?

When you're pregnant, it's common for your body to crave things that might be missing from your diet. You may be craving meat because you are low in iron or protein, for example, both of which are required in higher quantities during pregnancy.

When you're pregnant, it's particularly important to ensure that you're getting the nutrients you need. If you don't eat meat, you can get iron from whole-grain cereals and flours, leafy green vegetables, molasses, legumes, such as lentils and kidney beans, and dried fruit, such as raisins, and apricots. It helps to have a glass of orange juice, or another drink or food high in vitamin C, such as peppers and other citrus fruit, with your meals, since this encourages the absorption of iron.

Protein is also crucial to your baby's development. Legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, and dairy produce all contain good quantities of protein. Try adding some quinoa-a protein-packed grain-to your diet. Quinoa is a great alternative to rice and is one of the few plant sources of protein that contains all the essential amino acids. It's also high in omega oils, which will encourage the development of your baby's nervous system and brain.

Stronger nails

Your nails are likely to be stronger and healthier than ever, due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.

Since your nails are in good condition, you can simply file them and they'll look nice even without nail polish. If you do decide to have a manicure, make sure it takes place in a well-ventilated room. Avoid using nail polishes that contain dibutyl phthalate (DBP), an ingredient that is linked to birth defects in animals.

pregnant woman filing nails

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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