Who doesn’t like a chocolate analogy?
Can you believe that your growing baby is now 10,000 times bigger than they were at conception! The fact that your embryo is still only the size of a chocolate M&M doesn’t seem so disappointing now does it?
At a length of around 10mm, your baby’s head is much larger than their body. There’s a reason for this though as there is a lot going on and their brain is growing fast. Your embryo is busy generating brain cells at the astonishing rate of 100 a minute. A network of nerves will be spreading through your baby’s body and they will start being able to make small movements. This is because their brain and spinal cord is beginning to send messages to their muscles. It won’t be long before they are able to feel different sensations like temperature and taste.
Your baby’s liver is busy making all the blood cells they need until their bone marrow is developed enough to take over the job. Their hands and feet are starting to separate but they won’t look very recognisable just yet and are still in the form of buds. They are starting to form cartilage which will grow into their arms and legs. Remember to keep taking your folic acid every day as this plays a crucial part in helping your baby’s development. And ideally stop drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. If you are finding it difficult to quit completely, work on reducing your intake and ask your midwife for support in stopping when you go to your first antenatal appointment.
What is happening to my body at 7 weeks?
Your uterus has doubled in size and is now the size of a lemon. Although you would think all this extra work would make you hungry, you may find that eating is a job in itself – especially if you are feeling sick. Nausea can be pretty miserable, but should pass by week 14 or so. For some unlucky ones, the sickness carries on throughout and you may need help with rehydration at some point. Just keep focusing on what you are growing – it won’t make it better, but it is a sliver lining!
Because your blood and overall fluid volume is increasing (up to a third by the time you are done!), you may find that you need to visit the ladies a bit more often to have a wee! I wish I could tell you that that settles down, but once your baby is really bouncing around, you’ll be back and forth like a yo-yo! Just think of all the steps you’ll be doing!
You may also find yourself feeling thirstier than usual as your body will need more fluids to create the extra blood. Aim to drink eight glasses of liquid a day – this can be water, milk, fruit juice or herbal tea but avoid drinking anything heavily caffeinated. Another change you might notice is bleeding gums. Your pregnancy hormones can make your gums swollen and sore so you might notice some blood when you brush your teeth. Take extra care of your dental health and see your dentist if you are concerned – treatment is free while you are pregnant and until your baby’s first birthday.
You should be starting to think about letting the maternity unit know that you are pregnant, if you haven’t already, so that they can give you an appointment for your booking visit. I will talk more about that next week!
At the moment, you probably don’t look pregnant – your bump typically won’t start to show until around week 12 if it is your first pregnancy. However, if you have been pregnant before, you will start to look pregnant earlier as your stomach muscles and womb have already been stretched.