- Women's Health
What to Expect in the 7th Week of Pregnancy
Development at Seven Weeks Gestation
Seven Weeks Pregnant
Early pregnancy symptoms often reach their peak from weeks 7-9 of pregnancy. Morning sickness, bloating, and fatigue can be overwhelming. Women who had experienced only faint nausea (or even an absence of morning sickness) may suddenly become extremely nauseated. Still others will escape this dreaded pregnancy symptom entirely.
The baby continues to grow at an incredibly rapid pace. The mouth opening is formed along with the vocal cords. The inner ear is developing as the cochlea develops its classic, spiral shape. Organogenesis, or organ creation, is fully underway. Kidneys, lungs, and the liver are also under construction during this week of pregnancy.
Ultrasound at 7 Weeks
The Mother's Symptoms
Some women are shocked that their waistband is too tight this early in the pregnancy. The baby is extremely tiny, but bloating caused by fluid retention and an increased uterus size contribute to a bigger tummy. Sometimes constipation also causes a bit of bloat!
Progesterone and estrogen levels continue to rise, and the increase in progesterone causes smooth muscle linings within the body to relax. This laxity causes the lining of the intestines to work less efficiently, causing constipation for a number of expectant mothers. Stool softeners are included in some prenatal vitamin preparations, but can also be purchased separately. Always discuss any medication with a physician to ensure it is safe for use in pregnancy. Natural treatments to constipation include increasing fluid intake, exercising, and eating a diet high in fiber.
Another annoying symptom can be a hypersensitivity to smells. Cooking dinner can become impossible as the scent of cooking meat, onions, or other strong smells trigger nausea. This is the perfect time to keep a few frozen dinners in the freezer to make meal preparation easier.
Increased saliva is another odd symptom that can bother some women. One theory behind the copious amounts of spit is that the body produces more saliva to neutralize stomach acid. The combination of extra saliva and morning sickness can be quite unpleasant!
The pregnant body also ramps up its own blood volume. A side effect of the increased blood flow is increased urination: since the kidneys process more blood, there is more fluid to excrete. Long car trips are definitely more tiresome with frequent stops at roadside service stations!
Fortunately, most of these symptoms will be greatly reduced in the second trimester.
A Severe Case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Beyond Morning Sickness: Hyperemesis Gravidarum
While the majority of women have nausea in early pregnancy, most are able to cope with small, frequent meals and other natural remedies. For a small number of women, morning sickness becomes extreme and the expectant mother will vomit continually, unable to keep any food or fluids down. This condition, called hyperemesis gravidarum (literally: excessive vomiting during pregnancy) can be dangerous for the mother and child.
Contact a physician if vomiting is constant and no food can be kept down. Rehydration via intravenous fluids may be necessary, and sometimes a prescription anti-nausea drug like Zofran (Ondansetron) is required to stop the vomiting.
Prenatal Vitamins and Nausea
Prenatal vitamins are wonderful for the amount of nutrients they have stored in their ovoid capsules. Unfortunately, these pills can be large and difficult to swallow. Some women have increased nausea after taking a prenatal vitamin.
One solution to this problem is to take the vitamin in the evening, rather than the morning. Some women find a certain time of day to be better for their morning sickness symptoms.
Another option is to discuss chewable vitamins with your healthcare provider. Two Flintstones brand vitamins contain the same quantity of folic acid and other nutrients needed for pregnancy, and are generally more tolerable than large prenatal vitamins.
How Big is Baby? Seven Weeks Pregnant
The Baby's Development at Seven Weeks
The baby's development continues at a rapid pace during the seventh week of pregnancy. The embryo is now five weeks old from the point of conception, and is beginning to develop eyelids over the optic pits - where the future eyes will be. The umbilical cord is formed by the end of this week, connecting the baby to the developing placenta. The baby's intestines actually loop into the umbilical cord at this point in time, and will migrate into the baby's abdomen over the coming weeks.
The liver now supplies baby's blood cells, and will continue to do so until the baby's bone marrow can take over the job. A tail is still apparent, and the baby is still termed an embryo at this stage. As the baby grows, the front of the body begins to straighten out and the "tail" begins to grow smaller.
The arm buds lengthen and hands begin to form. There are no distinct fingers this week, but the flattish hand "paddles" can be observed on ultrasound. For women who have an ultrasound scan planned this week, the gestational sac, yolk sac, embryo, and heart beat should all be visible. Some women are slightly "off" on their dates, and may only see a gestational sac and fetal pole - if this occurs, the ultrasound will often be performed again in a week to confirm gestational age.
The baby has doubled in size over the past week, and is now 1/2" long. This is approximately the size of a pearl.
This fun pregnancy journal includes space to paste belly shots, ultrasound photos, and more. Organized by trimester, the journal allows pregnant moms to turn their pregnancy into a keepsake!
Start a Pregnancy Journal
Create a pre-baby book by taking a photograph of your belly during each week of the pregnancy. This is a great way to document the progression of the pregnancy, and is a wonderful keepsake to remember baby's time in the womb. When ultrasounds are taken, include the photos next to the belly picture to get an internal vs. external view.
Include your thoughts and feelings (and even symptoms) - then hand it down to your child when he or she is an expectant parent-to-be!