Your Pregnancy: Week 7
Physical changes are occurring gradually, and while you probably aren’t “showing” yet, you might see the numbers on your scale creep up – which is normal. You also might start having food cravings and aversions, but try not to stress too much about that extra scoop of ice cream or the fact that vegetables make your stomach turn. All you can do is try and eat as much nutritious food as possible and know that your appetite will change in a few weeks.
A few women notice an increased amount of saliva – medically called ptyalism (pronounced tie-al-ism) – that is often associated with morning sickness. Some remedies for morning sickness also help with this, like eating dry, plain crackers, chewing sugar-free gum or having smaller, more frequent meals.
Getting friendly with your toilet? Morning sickness is a well-known and expected part of pregnancy – but that doesn’t make it any less miserable. Take advice from Dr. Shari Brasner on how to relieve your nausea and vomiting.
Prepare for pregnancy heartburn by picking up some antacids on your next drugstore run.
The thought of the gym might be exhausting and sickening, but there’s an important exercise you can do without getting off the couch: Daily Kegel exercises will strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles, tremendously helping with labor and postpartum incontinence. It can never be started too early!
If you have a cat, stop changing the cat litter. (We know that’s a tough one to give up.) Your partner will have to step up on poop duty because there’s a chance you can contract toxoplasmosis, a cat-related disease that could be dangerous to the fetus. If you must change the litter, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands afterwards.
Your baby is going through an incredible growth spurt this week. The crown-to-rump length of your little one is a half an inch long – about the size of a blueberry – which is twice as big as last week and 100,000 times bigger than at conception.
The teeth and inside of the little mouth are beginning to form, and the ears are continuing to develop. Also, each eye now has an optic cup, retina and lens, and the top of the nose is forming. Your little guy or gal will go through three sets of kidneys before his or her big debut and is currently working on round two. Additionally, the liver is producing red blood cells, and a loop of the growing intestines is bulging out of the belly.
As for something a bit more tangible, the hands and feet are beginning to form from stubby arms and legs, and the embryo’s tail-like protrusion is starting to disappear into a less aquatic-looking human. Plus, baby is certainly on the move in there (but doesn’t feel anything just yet).
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
Morning sickness is a misnomer. It can strike any time of day (or all the time), and it can cause significant distress. Generally it hits in the first trimester and resolves by a magical twelve- or thirteen-week mark. Unfortunately, we don’t understand the nausea or vomiting. We don’t know why the body sometimes seems to rebel early in pregnancy. When doctors don’t understand what causes a problem, it’s difficult to treat it. But I have collected various pieces of homespun wisdom from my patients as to what works for them, from which I have compiled the following catalog of remedies, all of which have helped some of my patients to one degree or another:
- Eat more frequently but in smaller quantities.
- Take your prenatal vitamins at night rather than in the morning.
- Take liquid antacids, which seem to be more effective than tablet forms.
- Try seabands or acupressure brands.
- Consider the use of pharmacological medications, some over the counter (Benadryl, Unisom), some prescription. But never take them without first asking your doctor.
- Keep food in the stomach. Crackers by the bedside, for instance, provide a perfect pick-me-up (and keep-it-down).”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: So What Exactly CAN I Eat?
As science has learned more about pregnancy and fetal development, more links have been found between food contamination and complications. So women are now welcomed to pregnancy with a very large list of things they must not eat. Between the nausea and the no-nos, trying to find a dish on a menu can feel like an advanced logic problem. Then there are those fancy diets designed to turn every meal into the optimum pregnancy nutritional powerhouse. They look so good on paper, but what if they’re not available at the deli in your office building? What if everything they’re serving at your sister’s baby shower contains something you’ve been warned to avoid? How can a pregnant woman get all the nutrients her body and her baby need while dodging the seemingly ever-growing list of prohibitions?
The first thing to understand is that your baby’s health and your own do not depend on optimum eating experience. Yes, you want to try to eat a balanced diet and to steer clear of things that are considered dangerous. But if you’re straining to pack three superfoods into every meal, you can feel free to loosen the reins a little. Babies can grow just fine on a pretty basic diet, especially early on. Many women who suffer from major nausea in the first trimester are unable to eat anything but simple carbs, and this has never been shown to be harmful. So if the thought of fatty fish is activating your gag reflex, fear not for your baby’s brain. You’ll have a chance to fill out your diet later on when the sickness lifts, usually by the end of the third month.
The next thing you need to know: All prohibitions are not equally crucial. There are varying opinions out there about which matter most. Some say sushi is fine in a reputable place, some say listeria is so rare you needn’t worry about deli meat, while others focus on the seriousness of the disease rather than the frequency of outbreaks. Ask your doctor which food concerns she thinks are most important. You can bring in real-life food dilemmas as examples and ask what she’d recommend. So the next time you find yourself faced with a menu of seared mercury, poached PCBs, and salmonella on toast, you’ll know which way to turn. (Toward the waiter, as you ask ever-so-politely for an uncontroversial off-menu entrée).
Find More: Pregnancy Food Myths
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.