This week your baby experiences a huge growth spurt. Your baby’s heartbeat
will be visible on a viability ultrasound scan.
Ultrasound image of embryo at 7 weeks gestation.
At 7 weeks, the embryo now measures between 4.2mm to 5.1mm 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 also 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.
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 bones to make way 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. Eating ginger, e.g. ginger biscuits, or drinking ginger tea can be beneficial in relieving nausea. Many women find it helpful to eat ginger biscuits before getting out of bed in the morning. 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.
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. 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.
Bright red vaginal bleeding is common but not normal at this time. This is most often due to a slight threatened miscarriage which will settle but it can also be due to an ectopic pregnancy which is altogether more serious. With an ectopic pregnancy there may be a sharper more 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 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.
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 consultation with an obstetrician to discuss any concerns you may have.
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Hannah Murphy
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
' Professional and friendly 'Lyndsey Dilla
When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!
Great Portland Street