Pregnancy Calendar Week 7
YOUR PREGNANCY WEEK BY WEEK: WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WEEK 7
A blueberry: That’s the size of your baby now! She’s still all curled up inside you, but her body is starting to stretch out. And major growth is taking place in your baby’s brain. For you, your heightened hormones continue and they’re causing more new symptoms that we help you get through this week.
At 7 weeks pregnant, you’re not looking much different on the outside, but you’re definitely feeling it on the inside. Growing a baby means lots of growing pains for you, and here’s what you may be coping with now:
About half of pregnant women experience constipation, a condition characterized by infrequent bowel movements and passing hard stools. Constipation is generally caused by lack of physical exercise and a low-fiber diet. For pregnant women like you, it’s happening because of hormones that relax the intestinal muscle, along with pressure of an expanding uterus on the intestines.Here’s what you can do to help relieve constipation:
- Eat a high-fiber diet. Aim for 25-30 grams per day from foods like vegetables, fruits, cereal, whole grain breads and bran.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Especially when your fiber intake increases, you should drink 10-12 cups of fluids (mainly water) each day.
- Exercises regularly. Walking, swimming and other light to moderate exercise will help stimulate your bowels and move waste along.
- Take in more of the good bacteria in probiotics, which aids in digestion. This will kick things into high gear for you. Look for yogurts with active cultures or ask your doctor about taking a supplement.
Thinking about laxative pills?
Don’t take them during your pregnancy as they may stimulate uterine contractions and cause dehydration.
Occasional Urine Leaks
Oh, the pressure—your ever-increasing bladder pressure—is what’s to blame if you’re experiencing the problem of involuntary peeing. This symptom can be messy at its best and embarrassing at its worst. By now, your uterus has doubled in size and your bladder is being squeezed in a big way.To overcome the occasional urine leaks that are very common in pregnancy, particularly when you cough, laugh, sneeze or strain, try these tips:
- Do Kegel exercises. To perform Kegels, sit or lie down and contract the muscles you’d use to stop urinating. Hold the contraction for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds with a 10 second rest between contractions. Try working up to 3 sets of 30 each day.
- Stay away from coffee, soft drinks and tomatoes, which can irritate your bladder and make it more difficult to control leaks.
- When you’re about to cough, sneeze or laugh, do Kegels or cross your legs to help prevent a leak.
- Keep your weight gain at a healthy, moderate level. Additional pounds put additional pressure on your bladder.
- Urinate more often. Try going every 30-45 minutes (before you even feel the urge). This will help train your bladder.
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about, your hormones are at it again—this time they’re making your skin produce more oil, causing annoying acne.If you’re battling blemishes, hang in there. Your hormones will normalize in the second trimester where you’ll probably see this symptom go away. For now, here’s what you can do to fight acne flare-ups:
- Wash with a gentle cleanser or mild soap (no more than twice a day) so you don’t dry out your skin.
- Use an oil-free moisturizer.
- Don’t’ scrub your skin since that may irritate it and worsen acne.
- If you wear make-up, use water-based products that are labeled “noncomedogenic.”
- Use acne treatment products that are safe during pregnancy. Those containing glycolic acid are OK, but products with benzoyl peroxide, retinols or salicylic acid have side effects that may harm your baby.
- Don’t take Accutane or use tetracycline. If your case is severe, consult with your doctor for a safe, effective treatment.
In the 7th week of pregnancy, most of your baby’s growth is taking place in her brain, but her body is making great strides, too.
Your baby’s brain is growing. With new brain cells forming at the super-fast speed of about 100 per minute, your little one’s brain is growing quickly and getting ready for all those smarts she’ll have when she arrives.The structure of your baby’s brain is evolving, too, and has now divided into the two parts that make up the cerebral hemispheres. Her see-through skull is growing and, overall, your baby’s head is disproportionately bigger than the rest of her body.
Your baby’s body is lengthening. Those cute little arm and leg buds on your baby are elongating this week. Right now they look like tiny paddles, but they’re slowly stretching out. Soon your little one’s fingers and toes will be forming, too.Another notable change in week 7: Your baby’s neck is straightening.
Diet and Exercise Tips You Should Follow
To keep you and your baby healthy, follow these tips in week 7:
Increase iron intake from food. With your increased blood volume, and the needs of your growing baby, you’re at a higher risk for iron deficiency, which can cause anemia (resulting in fatigue and poor health). So, be sure you’re getting enough iron by eating iron-rich foods including beef, pork, dark-meat poultry, leafy green vegetables and beans.
Take prenatal vitamins. A healthy diet is the very best way to get all of the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need. But, you’re eating for two, and getting everything you need through food can be a challenge. So, start taking prenatal vitamins this week. They provide you with an extra source of iron, folic acid and calcium—along with other important vitamins and minerals—to help you fill in any nutritional gaps.
Try pregnancy yoga. More and more expecting mothers are giving pregnancy yoga a try and for good reason. The physical and mental benefits are many and, when you combine it with cardiovascular exercise like walking, yoga is a great way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. Seek out an instructor specifically trained in pregnancy yoga and be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your sessions.
Things You Should Do
- Learn Kegel exercises.
- Avoid X-rays throughout your pregnancy.
Words You Should Know
Edema: Swelling caused by retention of fluid in body tissues, a common symptom pregnant women experience.
Kegel Exercises: Kegel exercises, also called pelvic floor exercises, help prevent/treat urine control problems that some women experience during pregnancy.
Linea Nigra: A dark vertical line on a pregnant woman’s abdomen (extending from the belly button to the pubic area). Not all women get one, but most do.
Obstetrician (OB): A doctor who specializes in caring for women during pregnancy and childbirth.