Pregnancy Tracker: Week 7

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 7




In the early days after finding out that you are pregnant it is normal for you to experience a range of mixed emotions.

You might feel surprised and confused, or even have feelings of utter disbelief – especially if you were not trying to have a baby or fell pregnant quicker than you expected. It can take a while for you to get used to the idea of becoming a parent. Know that it’s ok to have all these different feelings – there is no textbook ‘right’ way on how to feel.

Baby’s Development At 7 Weeks

At about 9mm long and the size of a blueberry, your baby is going through huge changes at this stage, the most startling development being the progress in the brain as most of the growth is concentrated in the little head, which is growing faster than the rest of the body.

Brain development in a foetus is a complicated process. At 7 weeks the brain is well on its way to development, but the complex parts will continue to grow throughout the gestational period, so it is important to take good care for the whole of pregnancy to ensure optimal brain development.

Your baby's brain is at the top of the neural tube, which has now formed and closed at both ends and will eventually become the spinal column. It consists of three areas (forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain). Amazingly, during pregnancy, your baby grows brain cells at the rate of 250,000 neurons per minute for the next 21 weeks

As facial features become more defined this week and next, different parts of the eye - the iris, pupil, lens, retina, and cornea - will start to develop. Tiny eyelids will begin to grow and to form a protective layer over the eyes.

The umbilical cord is in the process of developing this week. During your pregnancy, it will serve as your baby's connection to you, giving your unborn child oxygen and nutrition, and providing waste removal.

Baby’s digestive system (stomach, esophagus) is starting to form, as well as the pancreas and liver. The tiny kidneys have already formed and will soon start producing urine.

Understanding Pregnancy Hormones

You may not look pregnant yet, but your body certainly knows it is carrying your precious cargo, and lets you know all about it in so many ways. This can all be blamed on hormones!

You haven’t been subjected to such a barrage of chemicals since puberty. So getting to know and understand your pregnant hormones now will help you through the difficult weeks and months ahead.

Let’s talk about the good side effects first! Certain hormones are responsible for causing the uterine lining to become soft and spongy, and a safe haven for the embryo to thrive.  Other hormones trigger milk production in your breasts, while others assist in the development of strong, healthy bones for your baby. A lot of mums-to-be become radiant and glow with good health – this is also thanks to hormones.

On the downside, hormones can also be blamed on ‘brain fog’ and heightened emotions, leaving you feeling weepy for no reason.

Have a look at the list of the main preggie hormones, briefly discussed below, each of which has a special function to perform before, during or after pregnancy:

  • FSH (follicle stimulating hormone).

This hormone stimulates eggs to grow in the ovaries, which produces oestrogen.

  • LH (luteinizing hormone).

If you are battling to conceive, you doctor will check these levels as there may be an imbalance preventing conception.

  • hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).

This hormone boosts the production of oestrogen and progesterone and is the chemical that is responsible for showing up on a positive pregnancy test.

  • Oestrogen.

This is the main female hormone that, among other things, helps with sexual development.

  • Progesterone

Along with oestrogen, this is also an important sex hormone.

  • Relaxin

As the name suggests, this hormone helps to relax your pelvic muscles, ligaments, and joints in preparation for labour.

  • Placental growth factor.

This hormone promotes blood vessel growth and is required for increased blood volume to nourish the growing baby.

  • HPL (human placental lactogen).

This hormone is connected to milk production. It helps prepare your breasts for feeding and produces colostrum.

  • Oxytocin.

This is the all-important muscle-contracting hormone needed during labour.

  • Prolactin

This hormone is responsible for producing the milk you will need to feed your baby.

You And Your Body At 7 Weeks Pregnant

The usual symptoms that you have been experiencing thus far in your pregnancy may be continuing, like nausea, or full-blown morning sickness, which is extremely common now.  In addition, you are probably feeling exhausted, moody, needing to pee more often, experiencing food cravings or aversions.

As though these common symptoms are not enough, you may start to experience some new ones.

  • Acne breakouts.

More than half of pregnant women experience this unfortunate side effect. This is caused by the increased hormone levels that boost your skin’s production of natural oils and is luckily usually confined to the first trimester. Pregnancy acne is a typical condition and goes away of its own accord once hormones return to their normal level, so it is best not to take any medication unless specifically prescribed by your healthcare provider.

  • Heartburn and indigestion.

This is a very unpleasant burning sensation that travels from your stomach to your mouth after eating a meal. Avoiding spicy, fatty foods and caffeinated drinks may help reduce this symptom.

  • Excessive saliva.

This is a pregnancy symptom rarely discussed.  It is a harmless symptom but can be embarrassing when you find yourself drooling in public as excess saliva pools in your mouth, and it can make nausea worse. Try chewing some sugarless gum to alleviate the severity.  Luckily it usually doesn’t last long.

  • Breast changes.

Some mums-to-be can’t believe that they have grown a full cup size! Blame this one on oestrogen and progesterone! In addition, the areola has probably become darker in colour and larger in size.  Little spots or bumps may be noticed.  They are sebaceous glands that help supply lubrication to the areola and are nothing to worry about.

Hopefully you can take comfort in the knowledge that these symptoms are all normal, and that they should level off after the 12-week mark.

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