Week 7 of Your Pregnancy

A look at your body, your baby, and more

Pregnancy Week 7

Welcome to week 7 of pregnancy. While you may feel very pregnant, you likely don’t quite look it yet. You may have gained a couple of pounds by now, but you may also have actually lost some weight if you’re experiencing morning sickness. No matter your outward appearance, there are certainly some big changes happening inside.

 

Your Trimester: First trimester

Weeks to Go: 33

You This Week

While your cervix (the narrow, neck-like passage that connects the vagina and the lower end of your uterus) gets a lot of attention when you’re waiting for it to dilate during labor, there’s actually a lot happening in this area right now.

The uptick in hormones and blood flow during pregnancy increases production of cervical mucus, dubbed leukorrhea. This is the thin, milky-white, odorless discharge you may be noticing. This cervical mucus has started to gather and clump to become your mucus plug, which is exactly what you think it is: a plug made of mucus that seals the opening of the cervix in order to prevent bacteria from getting into the uterus. Your body will expel this plug once your cervix dilates in preparation for labor.

You know that famed pregnancy glow people are always talking about? That might be the only outward sign of your pregnancy right now. “The glow is not a myth,” notes Robin Evans, M.D., a clinical instructor of dermatology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “While not everyone gets it, if your cheeks have a rosy glow, it’s likely caused by the great increase of blood flow during pregnancy.” It’s also thought that pregnancy hormones might be causing your glands to pump out more oil, which can either offer you a pregnant sheen or prenatal acne.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all for skin quality during pregnancy,” says Dr. Evans. Every woman is different.

If your glow went the way of acne, wash with a gentle cleanser daily and use an oil-free moisturizer. Topical treatments such as benzoyl-peroxide, tea tree oil, or certain antibiotic creams or solutions are considered safe, but Retin-A, Accutane, and others are not.

Your best bet: Check with your healthcare provider before treating your breakouts.

Your Baby This Week

Even though your baby-to-be has doubled in size since last week, he or she will be just about an inch long by week’s end. While the development of baby’s mouth, nostrils, ears, and eyes kicked into high gear last week, this week they are all starting to look more and more defined. Baby’s eyelids and tongue have begun developing, too.

At the same time, your baby’s umbilical cord has likely taken shape. It will act as baby’s lifeline, connecting him or her to the placenta, which carries oxygenated blood and nutrients to your baby and takes waste away. Also, by 7 weeks, your baby-to-be is actually on his or her second set of kidneys. It’s true: Babies rapidly go through three sets during their entire gestation.

But perhaps the most exciting thing happening this week (or more accurately, midway through this week to week 8) is that your baby’s heartbeat can likely now register on an ultrasound. It’s worth noting, however, that baby’s heartbeat might be detectable, but it won’t be audible until further along in the pregnancy. A normal fetal heartbeat at this time is 90 to 110 beats per minute.

At Your Doctor’s Office

Twins can usually be seen on ultrasound between week 6 and week 7 of your pregnancy. Now is when two (or more) gestational sacs will be apparent on an ultrasound. Interestingly, if your first scan is taken prior to 8 weeks’ gestation, it may clearly reveal one distinct embryo. Yet, women who have had a second ultrasound later in the first trimester or even into the second trimester have been surprised with multiples. “Everything is really pretty small on an early ultrasound, so occasionally a second sac may be missed,” says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Taking Care

While that telltale baby bump has yet to arrive, you still might be feeling bigger than normal thanks to your expanding uterus, bloat, and constipation. You can credit the increase of progesterone for that. The hormone relaxes smooth muscle cells, making the small and large intestines move more slowly now, resulting in more water absorption and firmer stools.

To help deflate your distended belly and ease discomfort, continue to drink plenty of water. “Because it easy to get sick of drinking plain water all day, I like to recommend hot water with squeezed lemon, or tossing fresh ginger, mint, cucumbers, berries, or any fruit into your glass,” says Dana Angelo White, M.S., R.D., assistant clinical professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut and recipe developer for books including The Whole 9 Months.

If constipation is your culprit, increase your intake of insoluble fiber, such as whole wheat, flax, fruit with skins, vegetables, brown rice, and lentils. “It’s also a good idea to eat more foods that contain magnesium, which can relax your bowels and pull water into your intestines,” says White. Some magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, avocado, and nuts.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

For many women, the first prenatal visit is next week. Know that this will be a longer-than-average appointment where a lot gets done. For instance, your healthcare provider will take a blood and urine sample; you might also get a Pap smear and an ultrasound to confirm that your baby is growing and thriving.

Know that you don’t have to do anything special to prepare for your blood work, so go ahead and eat and drink normally beforehand. But do call ahead and ask if an ultrasound is on the schedule. If it is, you may need to arrive with a full bladder for the test. (Sound waves travel better through liquid.) You’ll also get an estimated due date based on all of the above, as well as information you provide about your last menstrual period.

For Partners

It’s natural for a mother-to-be to feel out of place in her skin right now. She’s pregnant but doesn’t look it yet. She feels bigger, but there’s no baby bump to speak of. Meanwhile, her breasts and skin are experiencing changes, too. You—perhaps the only one who knows that she is pregnant—might want to make comments about the changes. Know that even well-intended positive comments can make a woman feel self-conscious and anxious. Listen to and take your cue from how she’s speaking of the pregnancy and her body.

Verywell Checklist  

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins.

  • Continue drinking about eight to 12 glasses of water a day.

  • Increase your intake of insoluble fiber and magnesium, if needed.

  • Ask your healthcare provider if you should expect an ultrasound in week 8.

Last Week: Week 6
Coming Up: Week 8

Sources:

American Pregnancy Association.Concerns Regarding Early Fetal Development.  http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/early-fetal-development/

Merck Manual Consumer Version. Physical Changes During Pregnancy. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/women-s-health-issues/normal-pregnancy/physical-changes-during-pregnancy#v809316

Mary Jane Minkin, M.D. Email communication. November 2017.

Robin Evans, M.D. Email communication. October, November 2017.

Vora RV, Gupta R. Pregnancy and skin. J Family Med Prim Care. 2014 Oct-Dec;3(4):318-24. http://www.jfmpc.com/article.asp?issn=2249-4863;year=2014;volume=3;issue=4;spage=318;epage=324;aulast=Vora