At 7 weeks pregnant, the embryo is 10,000 times bigger1 than when it first reached your uterus! Your child is approximately a 1/4 of an inch in length now, about the size of a blueberry or coffee bean. The umbilical cord starts to form as a literal lifeline to the fetus, carrying oxygenated blood and nutrients to your unborn child. Tiny arms and legs start as buds from the torso, and facial features2 like eyes, teeth, nose and even nostrils become more apparent. Kidneys, pancreas and other essential organ cells also start to take shape. At this point, the neural tube closes, and the brain develops into three distinct parts. Your child's heart rate pulses with life at 90-110 heartbeats a minute3.
If your gynaecologist ordered prenatal tests during a previous visit, these tests may involve returning to the office for results to track your prenatal development. Throughout your pregnancy, your hormone production fluctuates significantly, which contributes to the pregnancy symptoms you may experience.
Even if you are not sharing the news of your pregnancy just yet, your child is certainly reminding you through these pregnancy signs in your everyday life. Your child bump will also become more obvious in the weeks to come.
• Swollen breasts: Some women have grown a full cup size at 7 weeks pregnant. They will be tender, tingly and achy. Fat is also building up in your breasts and blood flow to the area is increasing. Your nipples may be sticking out a little more than usual, but they're sensitive and tender, and may hurt to the touch. The areola, the dark area around the nipple, is now darker and larger. It will continue to grow and deepen in colour over the next few months.
• Food aversions and cravings: Food aversion is a common pregnancy symptom, as is food craving. Your favourite foods can suddenly make you feel nauseous or even start vomiting. That chocolate cookie or cheese you normally avoid can prove to be irresistible. It might be a challenge, but you can still try to maintain a balanced diet. Cater to your new tastes by eating and exploring different, yet nutritious meat and vegetables, and finding substitutes for foods you have an aversion to.
• Digestive issues: Pregnancy hormones affect your gut microbiota and may cause gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea4 or constipation5. Diarrhea can cause dehydration and malnutrition, while constipation can manifest as abdominal distension or general discomfort. Be sure to stay hydrated and nourished for you and your child. In addition, High-fibre food like bean sprouts and brown rice can help soften the stools and ease constipation. Chewing thoroughly helps with digestion, too. If these symptoms are chronic or severe, there might be inflammation or other underlying issue, so please consult your physician before it becomes a medical emergency.
• Frequent urination: At 7 weeks pregnant your uterus is twice as large as it was pre-pregnancy, and your body now carries around 10% more blood than it did prior to becoming pregnant. Furthermore, you are also at higher risk of UTI6 as the uterus sits directly atop the bladder, blocking urine drainage and causing a bacterial infection. By the time you are ready to deliver your child, your uterus will be the size of a watermelon fruit and you will have about 45% more blood. The increased blood flow and your growing uterus will cause you to make more bathroom trips. However, don't cut back on your liquid intake as both you and your child will need a steady amount of hydration throughout your pregnancy.
• Fatigue and shortness of breath: Your body is still manufacturing the placenta, and your child's life-support system. One way to fight fatigue when you're 7 weeks pregnant is to eat smaller meals, but more often. You may want to eat six smaller, and healthy meals to keep your blood sugar on an even keel and help maintain your energy level throughout the day.
• Body odour: B.O.7 is one of the more embarrassing symptoms you might experience during pregnancy. Bacteria on your skin breaks down protein molecules found in your perspiration, which can produce a less than pleasant odour. Your sense of smell might also be more sensitive during this period, so go easy on yourself.
• Mucus discharge: You might notice more whitish mucus discharge starting from this week. To help prevent bacteria and infection, your body creates a mucus plug8 in your cervix, effectively blocking out foreign pathogenic substances. This side effect may stain your clothes but is harmless and natural.
• Pelvic cramp: Some women experience cramping pains in their pelvis. While this is fairly common, be sure to check with your doctor if the pelvic pain is sharp, severe, or accompanied by bleeding or spotting.
• Heartburn: This symptom leaves you with a burning sensation from your tummy to your mouth after you eat. This is pregnancy-induced indigestion and heartburn. Avoid triggers like spicy or fatty foods, or drinking caffeinated drinks. A tablespoon of lemon juice9 in your water might help against heartburn and nausea, but too much might induce stronger acid reflux. You could also drink sometime before or after you eat, as too much fluid with too much food will aggravate heartburn.
• Ginger is your friend
Morning sickness can leave you feeling horrid. As your uterus grows, it can push on the stomach, forcing some of the acid back into the esophagus. This may make you throw up, and you may worry whether your child is getting enough nutrients. These fears are common, but your child is probably doing fine. Eliminating morning sickness may be impossible, but you can take ginger products (sucking on ginger candy, chewing ginger gum, drinking ginger tea, etc.) to calm your tummy and help fight nausea10.
• Start exercising
You can begin a simple workout at 7 weeks pregnant. However, do not exercise on your back after the first trimester, or use jerky or twisting motions that may result in injury. Soon you'll have less oxygen available for exercise, so be sure to stop when you become tired. Regular exercises will also help with mood management, lower uric acid levels11, build muscle strength, increase energy level and sleep quality, among many other medical benefits. Your lifestyle might become increasingly sedentary over the next months, and regular exercises are a great way to stay healthy and active.
• Treat yourself to a facial
Due to pregnancy hormones, your face might have excessive oiliness or dryness, or both at the same time. If that pregnancy glow that you read about hasn't kicked in and you're affected by hormone-fuelled acne, you may want to try a facial. Most facials are okay, as long as you let your beautician know that you're expecting so that she can skip treatments such as peels, which might irritate your skin. While you're at it, why not pamper your hands and feet with a manicure and pedicure treatment?
• Make time to relax
It's natural for most women to be stressed in pregnancy, but that doesn't mean you should take your own emotional well-being for granted. Long-term stress can increase the concentration of stress hormones in the amniotic fluid12 and affect your unborn child, so be sure to make time for yourself and regulate your blood pressure. Schedule specific times to engage in relaxing activities such as breathing exercises, calming your nerves with a midday tea, or a walk in the park for some fresh air in your lungs. Reduce visual stimuli near bedtime for a more restful sleep.
• Daily showers and frequent clothing change
Taking a shower every day can help alleviate the mucky feeling. Use thin panty liners and change your underwear frequently so you stay feeling fresh.
During your first trimester, your child is still tiny. Therefore, you do not need to gain more than 2 to 4 pounds. That said, prenatal development differs from mum to mum. If you're suffering from morning sickness, you might not gain weight at all. In fact, you might even lose a little weight. That's also fine, as long as your appetite picks up, and you'll make up for it in the next trimester.
We hope the information and the suggestions in this article have helped you learn more about your pregnancy and progress at 7 weeks. If you have any doubts, be sure to consult with a medical expert
17 Weeks Pregnant
2Child development at 7 weeks
3How Early Can You Hear Child’s Heartbeat on Ultrasound and By Ear?
4Diarrhea During Pregnancy
5Constipation During Pregnancy
6How to Treat a UTI During Pregnancy
7What Smell? Causes and Remedies for Body Odor in Pregnancy
8What Is the Mucus Plug?
9All About Having Lemons While Pregnant
10Is Ginger a Safe and Effective Treatment for Nausea?
11High Uric Acid in Pregnancy – Risks, Effects, and Preventive Tips
12Too much stress for the mother affects the child through amniotic fluid