Week 7 is an exciting time for you and your baby, as you will both be changing rapidly. It’s the time when your baby experiences a huge growth spurt.
At 7 weeks, the embryo now measures between 9mm to 10mm long (from crown to rump) and is 10,000 times bigger than it was at conception. Your baby’s fingers and toes are now formed, although not separated, giving them a paddle-like appearance. The embryo shows flurries of rapid movements at this stage. The liver is now producing red blood cells, and will continue to do so until bone marrow is formed which then takes over the production of red blood cells.
7 weeks marks the start of a huge growth spurt. During this period (between 7 and 20 weeks) your baby’s body parts will grow rapidly and organs such as the heart and brain will develop and increase in complexity. The basic structures of all major body parts and organs are formed during this time, with much of the growth being focused on the brain. Your baby’s brain cells are being generated at a rate of 100 per minute! The first blood vessels of the circulatory system appear. The appendix and pancreas are now evident, and inside the mouth, tooth buds, a tongue and the palate are all developing. The ears are continuing to form while the eyes are now covered with the beginnings of what will later become eyelids.
Your Body and Symptoms
As you are now half way through the first trimester, you may be getting used to being pregnant however there is a lot of change on the horizon. You may feel that aches and pains are more pronounced and may experience back ache even though you’re not carrying any significant weight yet. This can be due to the softening of the the ligaments and muscle which will all for your growing baby bump.
‘Morning sickness’ usually diminishes as pregnancy progresses, although some women continue to experience it throughout pregnancy – both are completely normal.There are many different remedies for nausea in pregnancy but it is best to speak with a midwife that can go through this with you in more detail. Ginger is often advised however for some people this will make the nausea worse. Cold drinks, citrus fruit and mints can also help. The need to urinate more frequently is also likely to persist at this time. If you are feeling the need to urinate more frequently, you should ensure that you do not reduce the amount of fluids that you drink as remaining hydrated is important for both you and your baby throughout pregnancy, dehydration will increase any nausea symptoms you are experiencing.
You are also still likely to be experiencing tender breasts. This is due to a combination of pregnancy hormones and increased blood supply to the breast tissue. You may also find that your breasts have increased in size. Some women report that their breasts grow by a whole bra-cup size. You may find it helpful to invest in a new, and properly fitted bra with no underwires. These changes are all normal and necessary to prepare for breast-feeding. You may also be experiencing aversions to foods and/or smells. If you are finding this a problem, it is a good idea to look for substitute foods. For example, if you are averse to meat, look for high-protein foods / iron-rich foods.
Some women suffer from constipation during their pregnancy. This is caused by the muscles in the bowel relaxing, leading to a more ‘sluggish’ digestive system. Food remains in the digestive system for longer, ensuring that the maximum about of nutrients are extracted from it, but constipation can be an unpleasant side effect of this. Eating a diet that is high in fibre, and eating probiotic foods, e.g. probiotic yogurts, can help to alleviate constipation.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
Bright red vaginal bleeding is common but not normal at this time. This is most often due to a slight threatened miscarriage which will hopefully settle but it can also be due to an ectopic pregnancy which is more serious. With an ectopic pregnancy there may be a sharp severe pelvic pain which may cause nausea and vomiting. The lower tummy and pelvis may be very tender and painful. The risk of an ectopic pregnancy is low in women who have not had one before but much higher if they have had one before or if they have previously had pelvic infection. In these cases a medical assessment is urgent and imperative.
On the NHS you will be left alone at this stage unless you have any problems. If you do experience any bleeding, you will be seen quite quickly either in A & E or by your GP. You will be given a scan and a blood test. If you do experience sharp pain, passing out or heavy bleeding call an ambulance. If there is any suspicion of an ectopic pregnancy then a scan will be performed, an ectopic pregnancy must be excluded.
Private Care Available
At any stage in your pregnancy you can book an ultrasound scan privately. At this stage you can see the embryo (or embryos) along with being able to see the heartbeat. This is called an early pregnancy or viability scan.
If there is any suspicion of an ectopic pregnancy then an ultrasound scan will be performed, generally this scan will be done trans-abdominally, however in casses where the womb is tilted back or where there is a high maternal BMI this may be performed trans-vaginally.
You can book a face to face consultation with an Obstetrician or private Midwife to discuss any concerns you may have. You could also arrange a telephone consultations if you feel you would benefit from the support and knowledge of Medical input at this stage, to discuss your symptoms, nausea support and medication if required
At this gestation you are able to book the following scans
Early Pregnancy Scan 7-11wks