Week 7 is a big week for your baby: a typically developing baby will go through a growth spurt right around this time, doubling in size and beginning to develop the structures that will become arms, legs, and major internal organs. At this time, your baby’s heart is already pumping blood!
At Week 7, your baby might be growing rapidly… even if you aren’t. It’s not uncommon for women to have gained very little weight and still not look pregnant. You may be experiencing breast tenderness, the urge to urinate, fatigue, and other familiar symptoms. Also, if you were suffering from morning sickness before, this is likely to continue throughout the week. Continue to use whatever remedies work for you (and are approved by your healthcare provider!).
Your diet and exercise choices continue to be important. You should be taking your prenatal vitamin, getting plenty of folic acid, and aiming to get adequate calcium (around 1,200 mg daily) and iron. The current recommendation for iron in pregnant women is about 27 mg of iron daily, which can be supplied through a healthy diet. However, some women need additional iron supplements, which your doctor can recommend if low iron levels are seen during your prenatal blood work.
It’s not uncommon to start wondering how the pregnancy will affect you in the coming weeks and months. Many women and their partners wonder if it’s still safe to have sex. If you’re healthy and not considered a high-risk pregnancy, there’s no reason to abstain from sexual intimacy. Your husband or partner might also be relieved to know that sex will not hurt the baby (a surprising number of men worry about this!). Your baby is well protected in the amniotic sac.
Finally, you should be careful about your use of any over-the-counter medications, and talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before taking any. Some medications, such as antacids and cold remedies containing iodine, have been shown to interfere with nutrient absorption, while a few others can interfere with your baby’s normal development. On the other hand, some medications are generally considered safe to use if you have your doctor’s permission and carefully follow label instructions. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol), cough medicine containing dextromethorphan, throat lozenges, and some decongestants. As always when you’re pregnant, it’s better to be overcautious, so if you have any doubt about a medication, supplement, or herb, refrain from taking it and consult your healthcare provider.
Your baby’s fetal age is now 5 weeks—and things are starting to happen fast. Right around this time, typically developing babies go through a tremendous growth spurt. In the beginning of the week, your baby was about 0.18 inches. By the end of the week, your baby will have almost tripled in size to 0.5 inches, or about the size of a raisin. The amniotic sac, too, has formed and is busy protecting your baby.
This growth spurt is accompanied by continued development of organs and features. Lower down on your baby’s torso, small bumps have appeared that will grow into legs. The same is true higher up, where tiny arm bumps have appeared and are already divided into a hand segment and shoulder segment.
Heart development has continued. The primitive tube has now divided into the right and left sides of the heart and is pumping blood through the baby’s circulatory system. The foramen ovale has also formed—this tiny hole in the muscular wall separating the right and left sides of the heart allows blood to bypass the lungs, which already have formed the bronchi, or main air passages (although obviously they won’t be used for another seven and a half months). Elsewhere, the baby’s intestines are starting to develop, and the appendix and pancreas are already formed.
Some of the most exciting work, however, is going on in your baby’s head. The early facial features, including eyes and nostrils, are visible now, and the brain has separated into a divided forebrain.
“Many “natural” supplements are marketed to pregnant women, but the majority have not been tested for safety or efficacy.”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018