Week seven of your pregnancy is a period of important changes for both you and your baby. While not much is obvious from the outside, on the inside your body is preparing to nurture your child for the next several months. Each new development or symptom brings you one step closer to meeting your baby.
Changes in Your Body
By now, you probably know you are pregnant, but some women don’t find out for sure until this week. On the outside, you don’t look pregnant yet, but you’re noticing the signs. You probably haven’t gained weight and you may have even lost a few pounds due to morning sickness. Your bra may feel a little tight as your breasts grow, and your pants may feel a bit uncomfortable due to bloating.
Your baby is about a 1/4-inch long this week and is still considered to be an embryo. His or her tail is getting smaller and will soon disappear.
During this week, your baby’s head and face are developing. Nostrils appear and eye lenses begin forming. Hands and feet are also sprouting, though at this stage, they look more like little paddles than the cute hands and feet you’ll love photographing in seven months.
Twin Development at Week 7
Though multiples are often smaller than singletons at birth, their development each week isn’t that different until the third trimester. This week, your babies are each a little bigger than the top of a pencil eraser.
Many women have their first ultrasound between weeks 6 to 8. This is the appointment that will give you a view into your uterus to see your babies. You can also detect their heartbeats through ultrasound as early as week 6.
Pregnancy Symptoms: What You Can Do About Them
As baby continues to grow, you are likely to start experiencing early pregnancy symptoms, if you haven’t already. These include:
- frequent urination
- darkening of the areolas
- constant fatigue
- tender and swollen breasts
You may also have mild pelvic cramping and occasional spotting, which isn’t uncommon during the first trimester.
Food Aversions and Nausea
If your favorite foods seem repulsive and you’re craving pickles and tuna fish, don’t despair. You are experiencing food cravings and aversions related to your pregnancy. Odors that never bothered you before may suddenly make you nauseated. Nausea, food aversions, and cravings may last throughout your pregnancy, but most women start feeling better after the first trimester. Try to identify which foods and odors trigger symptoms and avoid them. It’s okay to give in to an unhealthy craving now and then, but keep your diet as healthy as possible. If you are having trouble maintaining a balanced diet while nauseated, try not to stress. Prenatal vitamins can help bridge the gap between your limited diet and healthy eating habits once your morning sickness goes away. If your symptoms are extreme and you cannot keep down any food or liquids for more than 24 hours, call your doctor.
Excessive salivation and the need to spit is an annoying symptom you may experience this week. While no one knows exactly what causes this, hormones or heartburn are likely suspects. Avoid irritants, like smoke, that may make the problem worse. Try chewing sugarless gum or sucking on hard candies. This may make it easier to swallow the excess saliva. It is also important to drink plenty of water. While you may feel that your mouth is overhydrated from all of the saliva, water may actually help to reduce the saliva production.
You may find yourself hitting the snooze button more frequently this week. Fatigue is common in the first and third trimesters. Try to go to bed earlier than your pre-pregnancy bedtime. If you have flexibility in your work schedule, see if you can get to work a little later. Your body is working hard, and keeping yourself refreshed is important.
Another way to boost your energy is to exercise. If you were exercising before getting pregnant, you can usually continue exercising throughout your first trimester with little modification. Check with your doctor before starting any new fitness routines, or if you have any questions or concerns about safely exercising during pregnancy.
Things You Can Do This Week for a Healthy Pregnancy
- You should schedule your first prenatal care appointment if you haven’t already. Many women have their first prenatal visit this week or at week eight. Your first visit will be the longest and most extensive checkup. During the visit, your doctor or midwife will review your health history, determine your approximate due date, identify pregnancy risks, and give you a physical exam, including a pelvic exam with Pap smear. You will have your weight and blood pressure checked, and urine and blood tests will likely be ordered.
- If you’re feeling up to it, start a prenatal exercise program. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests exercising 30 minutes a day to support a healthy pregnancy. Yoga, walking, and swimming are great options. Get your doctor’s approval before running, lifting heavy weights, or doing intense cardio exercise programs.
- If you’re a smoker, it’s critically important to quit. Smoking increases the risk of complications during pregnancy, such as low birth weight and premature labor. It may also cause problems with the baby after birth. Most people struggle to stop smoking cold turkey, and smoking cessation products may be unhealthy for your developing baby. Ask your doctor for help.
When to Call the Doctor
Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy are complications that may occur in the first trimester. It’s important to recognize the symptoms.
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that forms outside of the uterus, often in one of the fallopian tubes. It is a life-threatening emergency for the mother. You may have normal early pregnancy symptoms without being aware that the embryo is developing outside of the womb.
An ectopic pregnancy cannot survive. If left untreated, the area surrounding the embryo eventually ruptures. Consult a doctor immediately if you’re pregnant and experience any of the following symptoms:
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- fainting or feeling faint or suddenly dizzy
- low blood pressure
- rectal pressure
- shoulder pain
- severe, sharp, sudden pelvic pain
Most miscarriages occur in the first 12 weeks, or the first trimester, of pregnancy. While you can still have a miscarriage up to week 20, after you have passed your 12th week of pregnancy your odds of miscarriage are greatly reduced.
Miscarriages are caused by a problem with the baby’s genes, cervix or uterine issues, hormone problems, or infection. In many cases, there is no obvious reason for a miscarriage. Call your doctor if any of these warning signs occur:
- bleeding or spotting
- passage of tissue through the vagina
- gush of pink vaginal fluid
- abdominal or pelvic pain or cramping
- dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
Although a miscarriage is traumatic, most women go on to have a healthy pregnancy following a miscarriage.