The Third Week Of Pregnancy
At pregnancy week 3 (i.e. about 1 week after conception), implantation occurs. Ayurveda strongly recommends to adopt a healthy diet including milk and its products, honey, ghee, rice and at the same time avoiding pungent, hot, heavy foods to ward off nausea. Keeping an erratic sleep schedule, and psychological dispositions like anger, grief, fear are also best avoided.
It’s the third week of your pregnancy and a lot is happening! Ovulation and conception could happen during this week and your baby will rapidly grow from a single cell to an embryo that attaches itself to your uterus. Let’s take a look at what goes on during this important week.
What’s Happening In Your Body?
Ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovaries) happens on the 14th day after the first day of your period though it can range between Day 11 – Day 21 depending on the length of your monthly cycle and this is the fertile period during which you have a higher chance of conceiving a baby.1 The egg will live for around 12 to 24 hours after it’s released and needs to be fertilized by a sperm within this time for conception to occur. And since sperm can live for around seven days inside your body if you’ve had sexual intercourse in the days before ovulation or have sexual intercourse within a day of ovulation you could fall pregnant.2 During the third week the fertilized egg moves through the fallopian tube towards your womb, rapidly dividing on the way. In fact, by the time the egg which began as a single cell reaches the womb it’s a group of more than a 100 cells (an embryo). And once it gets to the womb the embryo attaches to the lining of the womb (implantation). This takes place about seven days after conception. Congratulations! You now have a beautiful baby growing inside you.3 4 This week is a time of many more exciting changes as the development of your baby’s heart, brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract begin during this week.5
Healthy Practices To Follow
Now that you’re pregnant you have to take your baby’s health into consideration as well as yours. Here are a few things that can help keep both you and your baby healthy:
1. Have A Healthy Diet
Having a healthy nutritious diet is very important during pregnancy. Some nutrients like folic acid, iron, protein, and calcium are critical for your baby’s growth and development. Protein is necessary to create new tissue so your body needs more of it during pregnancy. Whole grains, dairy products (like yogurt and milk), chicken, beef, almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts are good sources of protein and can be incorporated into your diet.6 Calcium is also needed for the development of bones and teeth so stock up on green leafy vegetables, dairy products, and legumes. Meanwhile, iron is important during pregnancy for the development of your baby’s blood. Red meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and legumes are good sources of iron. And let’s not forget folic acid. It’s important to have adequate amounts of folic acid even before you conceive as it can help prevent birth defects in your baby. You can get this vital nutrient from green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, and eggs. Your doctor may also advise you to take a supplement so that you get enough folic acid.7
2. Get Enough Exercise
Being physically fit is important to your well being during pregnancy. And regular exercise can help you sleep better and deal with factors like backaches and exhaustion during pregnancy. It may also lower your risk for conditions like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia as well as anxiety and depression. It’s a good idea to get about two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (for example, brisk walking, swimming etc) every week but do remember to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program during pregnancy. And avoid activities where you might get hit in the stomach or fall down (for example, playing basketball or horseback riding).8
3. Avoid Harmful Substances
Your baby is exposed to everything that you take in so stay away from toxic substances (like lead, paint strippers, pesticides etc), cigarette smoke, caffeine, and alcohol. Certain medications might also prove harmful to your baby so make sure you check with your doctor before taking any medications or supplements.9
Ayurvedic Guidelines For Your Pregnancy
Ayurveda has a well defined regimen, known as garbhini paricharya, to guide you through pregnancy. Here are a few pointers you could take from this ancient science:
What To Do
Ayurveda details many beneficial practices for a healthy pregnancy:
- A healthy balanced diet is considered important according to ayurveda too. In addition, during the initial stages of your pregnancy (first trimester ) ayurveda encourages you to try liquid food that’s easy to digest rather than heavy solid food to help you deal with nausea and vomiting. Milk, honey, ghee, and preparations of rice and pulses are considered to be nourishing during this period.10
- Yoga is considered to be a beneficial practice during pregnancy. Doing yoga asanas like the baddha konasana (where you fold you legs inwards while sitting down on the floor so that the soles of your feet press against each other), and utthanasan (squats) consistently right from the beginning can be beneficial during the pregnancy as well as help during childbirth. But as mentioned before, do remember to check in with your doctor before starting on an exercise regimen.11
- Ayurveda advises the practice of meditation and breathing techniques for handling stress and developing positive thoughts.12
- According to ancient ayurvedic texts listening to music and mantras during your pregnancy can benefit your growing baby as well as your well being. For instance, the sound of the veena (an Indian stringed instrument) is considered to be particularly beneficial. 13 And there is some evidence that listening to music can actually lower your stress levels. One study that compared people who listened to classical music, heavy metal music, or sat in silence found that anxiety and anger were significantly reduced when people listened to classical music. 14
What Not To Do
Ayurveda also describes certain measures related to aahar (diet), vichar (thoughts and emotions), and vihar (activity) that need to be avoided during the course of pregnancy:
- Pungent, hot, and heavy foods that are difficult to digest are best avoided during pregnancy. Also, avoid alcohol and fasting as it can harm your baby.
- Grief, fear, anger, and excessive excitement are not considered good for the baby. It’s considered best if the expectant mother is in a happy and contented state of mind.
- Strenuous activities like walking excessively or carrying heavy weights are not thought to be appropriate during pregnancy. Keeping an erratic sleep schedule and overexposure to the sun are also best avoided. 15
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Pregnancy Week 1 & 2. American Pregnancy Association.|
|2.||↑||Getting pregnant. National Health Service.|
|3.||↑||Pregnancy – week by week. Department of Health & Human Services.|
|4.||↑||You and your baby at 0-8 weeks pregnant. National Institutes of Health.|
|5, 9.||↑||Pregnancy Week 3. American Pregnancy Association.|
|6.||↑||Protein in diet. National Institutes of Health.|
|7.||↑||Pregnancy Calendar Week 3. The Nemours Foundation.|
|8.||↑||Staying healthy and safe. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.|
|10, 15.||↑||Lakshmi, Vijay, and Sarika Srivastav. “Garbhini paricharya: Antenatal care in Ayurveda.” Journal of Ayurveda and Holistic Medicine (JAHM) 1, no. 8 (2013): 24-31.|
|11, 12, 13.||↑||Pithadiya, Archana C., Dhawal Makwana, and Samata Tomar. “GARBHASANSKAR-A TECHNIQUE OF EDUCATING FOETUS.” Pharma Science Monitor 7, no. 1 (2016).|
|14.||↑||Labbé, Elise, Nicholas Schmidt, Jonathan Babin, and Martha Pharr. “Coping with stress: the effectiveness of different types of music.” Applied psychophysiology and biofeedback 32, no. 3-4 (2007): 163-168.|