7 weeks pregnant: What’s going on in there
At seven weeks pregnant, your baby is 1/2 of an inch long, and as big as a single Cheerio. Isn’t it amazing to know that your tiny babe is developing more of a mouth and tongue, plus arm and leg joints, and is starting to develop more defined fingers and toes? Her permanent kidneys are forming (though she has already gone through three sets!), and her genitals will begin to form, too.
7 weeks pregnant symptoms
Hormones, hormones, hormones
That pesky pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), is doing all sorts of crazy things to your body. And, as if that weren’t enough, it’s also inviting other hormones to join the party. Symptoms like fatigue, mood swings, aching breasts and the need to make extra trips to the bathroom are still in full swing (your uterus has already doubled in size and is now pressing on your bladder).
Changes to your skin are a big part of pregnancy, too. With the new flood of hormones, many expectant moms find themselves dealing with acne for the first time in years. Using a mild daily cleanser and keeping your hair and hands away from your face will help because increased sebum production is causing trouble. It’s always a good idea to double check with your doctor before trying any new over-the-counter or prescription products, though—some acne treatments aren’t safe during pregnancy.
If you belong to the 50 to 80 percent of women who suffer from nausea during the first trimester, we’ve got your back —or your stomach, we should say. It’s not an easy symptom to manage, especially in the weeks before you’ve told others about your pregnancy. While nothing is guaranteed to combat nausea, here are some tried-and-true tips that have worked for other moms-to-be.
- Frequent snacking helps. Keep dry cereal or crackers on your bedside table and eat them immediately upon waking, even before you get up. This will allow you to start moving slowly and avoid dizziness, which can lead to more nausea.
- Ginger tea or ginger capsules and lozenges have been shown to help reduce nausea. You can also grate fresh ginger into your food. (Ginger ale doesn’t contain real ginger and is loaded with artificial flavours and sugar.)
- Avoid smells that trigger nausea. Thanks to a surge in estrogen, your sense of smell has turned you into a bloodhound. Switching to fragrance-free products can help.
- Preggie Pops are an all-natural candy with ingredients like sour lemon and green apple. Sucking on them can also help with the excess saliva that some women experience (pregnancy hormones cause that, too) and will help avoid triggering your gag reflex.
- Another all-natural trick is to add vitamin B6 (an ingredient in prescription anti-nausea medications like Diclectin) and vitamin B12 (which helps alleviate nausea and vomiting caused by pregnancy). Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everyone. Health Canada recommends that pregnant women take 1.9 milligrams of vitamin B6 and 2.6 milligrams of vitamin B12 each day. You can also boost your vitamin B6 levels with certain foods, such as chicken, avocado and bananas. Make sure to consult your doctor or midwife if you plan to try either because you’ll need to check the amounts you’re already getting from your daily prenatal vitamin.
- Sea-Bands and BioBands work for some women by putting gentle pressure on an area of the arm between the wrist and elbow that’s known to help with nausea. And, speaking of pressure, prenatal massages can have the same effect if your practitioner is well versed in pregnancy massage—an early pregnancy perk at last! 5 ways to cope with morning sickness
For some women, a more serious form of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting, called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), can make it nearly impossible to get an adequate intake of food and fluids. HG can lead to weight loss and dehydration and, in severe cases (like Kate Middleton’s), result in a hospital stay to rehydrate and receive nutrients through an intravenous drip. HG usually appears before week five, peaks between weeks nine and 13 and subsides between weeks 14 and 20. However, up to 20 percent of women will continue to be affected by HG for the duration of their pregnancies. It can sometimes be managed with medication under the careful supervision of your healthcare provider. If you suspect that you may have HG, mention it right away. Early intervention can make a big difference, and a wait-and-see approach can sometimes lead to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. You can read more about HG here.
What’s on your mind when you’re 7 weeks pregnant
Choosing between a doctor and midwife
You probably haven’t had your first prenatal appointment at seven weeks pregnant (it usually happens around week eight), but it’s not too soon to start thinking about what kind of care you want for the duration of your pregnancy.
Depending on whether your family doctor offers shared care (where she is able to provide prenatal care during the first and second trimesters), you will typically start seeing an OB-GYN during your second trimester and she will monitor your pregnancy and prepare you for delivery.
If you opt to use a midwife, you can start seeing her during your first trimester. (Depending on where you live, it can be harder to find a midwife, so it’s best to call your local clinics as soon as you know that you’re pregnant.) Midwifery is regulated and funded in most provinces and territories (except Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI and the Yukon), and you don’t need a referral from your doctor—just call the midwifery practice you’re interested in and ask if they have a waitlist. A midwife will manage your regular visits, diagnostic tests and routine bloodwork and can consult with other specialists whenever necessary. (Note: Having a midwife doesn’t mean that you have to plan a home birth. Midwives can attend hospital births as well.)
There are some differences between a midwife and an OB-GYN. A midwife will stay with you for your entire labour (no matter how long!) and will be the one to attend your birth. Depending on whether or not your OB-GYN is on call at the hospital when you go into labour, she may not be the one to deliver your baby—the nurses will probably be more hands-on, with the on-duty OB-GYN checking in occasionally. When it comes to postpartum days, a midwife will make bedside home visits during the first 24 hours and several times during the first week once you’ve had your baby and will continue to care for you and your baby for six weeks. If you have an OB-GYN, you have to get yourself and your newborn back to the hospital or the OB-GYN’s office for all postpartum care and checkups.
Just for kicks
Pregnancy to-do list: 7 weeks pregnant
If you plan to keep your pregnancy under wraps for a few more weeks, it might be a good time to take a look at your social calendar and think about how you’re going to manage a night out or social gatherings where your family and friends would normally expect to see you with a glass of wine or a cocktail. Depending on your drinking habits before you got pregnant, you may feel less scrutinized with some kind of beverage in your hand. It’s easy to order a virgin cocktail or simply have the bartender add a lime garnish to a plain club soda. (You could also carry a can or a bottle of beer around for the night after dumping it in the bathroom and replacing the beer with water.) If the idea of being deceptive makes you nervous, move your social plans to a time when you’re ready to share the news. Bonus: You won’t have to hide your first-trimester yawns all night, too.