7 Weeks Pregnant—Nausea, Fatigue and Breast Changes
At 7 weeks pregnant, your body is still working hard to build the placenta that will support your baby during your pregnancy. Your baby’s brain development is on overdrive too, creating over 100 brain cells every minute. You’re also pumping more blood, and your uterus is twice its original size. Although you’re not likely showing in the belly yet, don’t be surprised if you’ve gained a little weight or your breasts have already begun to swell.
(And if you’re interested in tracking your pregnancy week by week—Ava can help.)
How big is my baby?
Baby’s Length: 0.50 inches.
Baby’s Weight: 0.04 ounces.
How is my baby developing?
This week, your baby’s arms and legs continue to grow, and they even have the beginnings of hands and feet, although these look more like paddles at this point. Your baby’s brain development also begins this week. Though she is still considered an embryo, more than 100 brain cells are created every minute. Additionally, intestines and kidneys are developing, too.
Rapid growth continues, and though your baby is still as tiny as a single blueberry, she’s doubled in size since last week. In addition to brain development, her appendix, heart, lungs, spinal cord, mouth, eyes, and intestines are taking shape. Even more importantly, a loop in your baby’s intestines is bulging into her umbilical cord. The umbilical cord connects your baby and the placenta, carrying nutrients and oxygen to your baby through distinct blood vessels.
What’s happening in my body?
You might swear that you’re already starting to show, but that bump is more likely bloating caused by slower digestion or a bit of weight gain. Your body is also pumping more blood, and your uterus has doubled in size, which contributes to the frequent need to urinate.
Food cravings or aversions
Speaking of weight, along with morning sickness, you may find yourself experiencing powerful food cravings—and aversions. Cravings and aversions are very common during pregnancy. They can also be confusing, especially if you’re suddenly craving foods you had no interest in before you were pregnant, or if you’re averse to some of your longtime favorites.
It’s okay to indulge in these cravings (as long as they’re safe!), but a well-balanced, nutritious diet is more important than ever. If you’re averse to your usual sources of nutrients, research effective substitutes.
Higher hormone levels can also trigger additional saliva production. Some women have a constant surplus of saliva along with a metallic taste in their mouth that can make eating very off-putting. Though it’s uncertain why the excessive salivation occurs, it is likely due to progesterone and estrogen coupled with indigestion or nausea.
Don’t be surprised if your bras no longer fit the way they once did. Like your uterus preparing to house your baby for the next 33 weeks, your breasts are already starting the process of becoming baby’s primary food source once she’s out of the womb. At seven weeks pregnant, some women report having gone up a full cup size. Progesterone and estrogen are on still on the rise, and they’re the culprits behind why your breasts feel so achy, tender, tingly, and sore.
Acne and skin care
Your skin may be affected by the changes in your progesterone and estrogen levels. Instead of that pregnant glow you’ve heard so much about, you may be sporting acne like a teenager. Before slathering your spots with acne-fighting products, check with your doctor to be sure the ingredients are safe during pregnancy.
While you’re figuring out the safest skincare routine, now’s a good time to go through the ingredients of other products you regularly use, including makeup, hair products, and cleaning supplies. The skin is your largest organ, and because it is porous, it can absorb the chemicals it comes into contact with.
The waiting game
This can be a hard time if you haven’t been able to see a doctor yet. Even if you’ve had a positive pregnancy test, you may feel insecure about your pregnancy until it’s confirmed by your doctor. Trust that your baby is developing on track, and take this time to relax and care for yourself.
Nausea and vomiting
As awful as it is to feel queasy all the time, a significant finding out of Cornell University indicates that it can be a good thing. The study found that morning sickness—associated with two-thirds of pregnancies—is actually the body’s way of protecting you and your baby from food-borne illness and harmful chemicals that can result in organ deformation during a critical time of growth.
They found that morning sickness peaked from weeks 6 through 18, precisely the period when baby’s organs are most susceptible to chemical disruption.
Interestingly, they also found that women who experienced morning sickness were less likely to miscarry than women who did not. They also found that women who vomited were significantly less likely to miscarry than women who only felt nausea.
The study also noted that meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs—the most commonly observed food aversions—were the foods most likely to carry microorganisms and parasites before refrigeration and modern food handling practices. Consequently, aversions may also be a way of protecting you and your baby from potentially contaminated foods.
Speaking of cravings and aversions, if you’ve been having sudden cravings for bizarre things like dirt, chalk, or laundry detergent, you may be experiencing pica. Pica involves compulsively eating non-food items with no nutritional value. Nearly all cases of pica are seen in pregnant women and adolescents—periods of increased nutritional demands.
Though researchers aren’t sure why some people have pica during pregnancy, it’s been hypothesized that pica may stem from nutritional deficiencies, such as having low iron. So, instead of reaching for sand, cigarette ashes, or plaster—which obviously aren’t good for your health and the health of your baby—consult your doctor to determine if nutritional supplements are in order.
What else should I do?
- Make sure you have your first prenatal exam scheduled.
- Create a list of questions you want to ask your doctor including checking about continuing with any exercise regimens, medicines, or other activities you are unsure of.
- If you’re dealing with lots of nausea, try carrying small snacks in your purse and nibbling something regularly. Many women swear by ginger candies, while others find acupressure bands, usually used for motion sickness, provide relief.
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