Understanding your pregnancy: Week 7

A quick snapshot

You are now officially just over halfway through your first trimester. Your baby has grown to about 10,000 times bigger than when you first conceived. It is now the size of a corn kernel, grape or blueberry and your uterus is the size of an orange.

What’s changing in your body

  • Constipation may be your unwelcomed friend this week. The large bowel tends to get a little sluggish during pregnancy as the hormone progesterone slows down muscle contractions. It will help for you to drink lots of fluids and make sure your diet is high in fibre.
  • You'll be feeling all the earlier symptoms as well but perhaps with even more gusto. Nausea, intolerance to certain foods, vomiting and even heartburn can hang around for most of the day.
  • Lots of drooling makes you feel you constantly have to swallow. Be careful about your oral hygiene but watch how far back you go with your toothbrush. Your gag reflex may be too sensitive now for you to be brushing the back of your tongue.
  • You could have an outbreak of pimples due to the hormones racing around your body.
  • You may find you are especially sensitive to the heat and want to strip off your clothing the first chance you get. This is the result of the extra circulating blood volume in your body and the hormonal power surges common in the early weeks.
  • You may feel a bit of "thickening" around your middle even though it's not until after week 12 that your uterus will be lifting up out of your pelvis. Some women gain a few kilos in the first trimester and others lose weight, it's purely individual.
  • You might be feeling really tired all the time and no amount of sleep seems to make a difference. This is a common symptom of early pregnancy but by the end of the first trimester your normal energy levels will return.

How your emotions are affected

  • No big changes on the emotional front this week. You might still be feeling a sense of disbelief that you are pregnant.
  • The reality of being pregnant may hit you this week. You might worry about how you could possibly be a parent and the idea of raising a small child to adulthood is can be daunting. Try to just deal with one day at a time and have confidence in your own abilities. Speak with your own mum if you can or other women who've had children.

How your baby is growing

First Trimester: Week 710

  • Your baby's bones are beginning to form and their facial features are becoming more recognisable. The back of their head is growing faster than the front.
  • Their mouth and tongue are starting to form, along with their arms and legs. So far they still look like paddles, flapping around from the side of their chest, but as the weeks progress they'll become more defined.
  • So much of your baby's growth is concentrated on their brain this week that around 100 new brain cells are forming every minute.
  • Your baby's sex glands are starting to form but it's still way too early to tell if your baby is a boy or a girl on ultrasound.
  • Your baby's kidneys are where they need to be this week but they haven't started filtering the baby's blood just yet. They will soon start producing urine which will form a fair percentage of the amniotic fluid which the baby is going to float around in for the next 7 months or so.

Tips for the week

  • Make a dental appointment. Poor oral hygiene and gum disease is linked with premature labour as well as other complications. Speak with your dentist about how to maintain a healthy mouth during your pregnancy. Remember to tell them you are pregnant because x-rays at any stage of pregnancy can be risky.
  • Consider eating more ginger. Many women say that ginger biscuits, ginger beer or ginger sweets help to settle a queasy tummy. Eat small snacks often and avoid too much time in between meals. Don't be concerned if you can't face tea or coffee. Lots of women say these are the first of many aversions they develop through their pregnancy. Try herbal or peppermint tea instead or sip on cool, iced water.
  • Stock up on salty foods and fill your pantry with spreads. Many women crave salty, vinegary foods at this time and when eaten as a snack, can be tolerated more easily than a heavy meal. Look for a spread which is high in the B group vitamins and has some nutritional value other than just sugar.