Your baby is growing. And the materials that will become your baby’s body come partly from your genes and partly from everything you eat, drink, and smoke while you are pregnant.
Life in the womb is a time of tremendous growth and change. Your baby gets a safe place to grow in your uterus, and also gets all of the oxygen and nutrients to nourish their growth through your bloodstream!
Wait, WHAT? My baby lives off of my blood??
Well, yeah. There is something growing on the inside of your uterus, along with your baby, called the placenta. It looks like a red balloon, lined with blood vessels. The “string” of the balloon is the umbilical cord, which is attached to what will become your baby’s belly button. Through that cord, your blood with all of its vitamins, fats, nutrients, proteins, oxygen-filled red blood cells, germ-fighting white blood cells, and more, gets passed along to your baby.
Until your baby is born, they are a part of your body. You share blood. And, since they can’t eat or drink or smoke on their own, they get whatever you give yourself. And whatever you take in, those are the building materials for your baby’s body.
It sounds confusing, but it’s really pretty simple. A baby’s cells develop partly through the genes of their parents and partly through the nutrients or toxins passed along through your blood.
That sounds like a giant responsibility and, in some ways, it is. But it’s important to remember in order to grow a healthy and strong baby, it’s good enough to be good enough.
We will give you some tips, and your prenatal care provider (your doctor or midwife) can offer more ideas of how to take good care of your body and your baby. For now, start where you are. Be as gentle with yourself as possible and take everything one step at a time.