YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Noticing both positives and negatives
It's week seven of your pregnancy, and you might still be feeling a bit rough if you experienced the onset of morning sickness last week. While this nausea may not go anywhere soon (it's usually gone after 14 weeks for about half of women, and about four weeks after that for the remaining expectant moms), it's not the only big change that's occurred in your body recently.
While no one can tell that you're pregnant yet on the outside, you might have noticed that your jeans are feeling a bit tighter than usual as you begin to put on weight – unless you've been having a lot of trouble keeping food down, in which case they may feel slightly looser.
Your uterus has doubled in size by this point (causing more pressure on your bladder), and the amount of blood in your body and the increase of fluids that your kidney processes may mean that you're always feeling the urge to pee. The extra blood volume, which is about 10 percent more than it was before you got pregnant, will continue to increase throughout your pregnancy. Eventually, you'll have about 45 percent more blood once your baby reaches full-term.
The extra blood coursing through your veins could be giving you a great pregnancy glow, making your skin seem to shine from within and lessening the need for blush on your cheeks. However, the influx of pregnancy hormones might mean that your skin is experiencing more breakouts than usual – which is an easy enough fix after a trip to the drugstore.
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From lentil bean to blueberry
While you've been dealing with all the positive and negative changes going on in your body, your baby's been busy growing – now the size of a blueberry. At this point, the head is a lot bigger than the rest of the body, and dark spots mark where the eyes, nose and mouth will be. The forebrain has developed into two sections, which will make up the left and right hemispheres. Believe it or not, 100 new brain cells are being created every minute – making your baby smarter and smarter!
Hands and feet are also beginning to emerge, but they look more like little paddles at this point than they do fingers and toes. Your unborn baby might even start making small jerky movements, but you probably won't be able to feel them until about the fourth month.
Your baby is still considered an embryo this week, and there's a visible tail extending from his or her tailbone – but don't worry, it'll be gone in a few weeks! While this shrinks, everything else will continue to grow, like the liver, bone marrow, appendix, pancreas and intestines. The umbilical cord is also visible now, connecting your baby to the placenta.
Gear up for that first prenatal appointment
Many doctors recommend scheduling your first prenatal exam around the eight-week mark, so you should be preparing to head in next week for your appointment. Gather up all of your medical history so any genetic diseases or disorders can be discussed during the exam, and ask your female family members if they experienced any strange pregnancy symptoms or complications when they were pregnant.
At the exam, your due date will be determined and your doctor will start to track your weight gain. You'll also likely get some blood work done to determine your blood type, check for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), rubella immunity and a red blood cell count to rule out anemia. You may also be given a pelvic exam and a transvaginal ultrasound to check on your little embryo. Sit down and make a list of questions to ask your doctor during the appointment so you won't be caught off-guard when asked about any concerns.
Your next move? Start planning how to break the news to your family, friends and work colleagues. Maybe you can make an announcement at an upcoming family gathering or design a card to send out with your baby's first ultrasound image. When it comes to work, be sure to tell your supervisor the big news before you chat about it with your coworkers, and speak to someone from human resources to determine your rights and benefits as a pregnant employee.
Need something to keep your mind occupied while you battle morning sickness and fatigue this week? How about starting to develop a wardrobe of pregnancy clothes? While you won't be able to wear these items just yet, it's always fun to head out for a shopping trip (or three!).
If this is your first child, you might also want to take some time to appreciate your last few months of being a kid-free woman. How about holding a lavish dinner party at your place (which is still free of toys) or going on a romantic getaway with your partner? While you'll certainly be able to do these types of things once your bundle of joy arrives, it's definitely nice to take advantage of downtime while you still have it!