During week 7 of pregnancy, your baby will continue taking huge developmental strides; your baby's vital organ systems are continuing to grow with most development in the head and face regions.1-4 In fact, your baby is making about 100 new brain cells per minute!3
Your baby has already gone through three sets of kidneys by week 7, but this week they will start developing their final set which will be ready for waste management.
In the next few weeks your baby will start to produce urine which will form part of the amniotic fluid.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a series of articles on pregnancy. It provides a summary of each stage of pregnancy, what to expect, and insights into how your baby is developing. Take a look at the other articles in the series:
You will also see introductions at the end of some sections to any recent developments that have been covered by MNT's news stories. Also look out for links to information about related conditions.
Symptoms at 7 weeks pregnant
At this stage of your pregnancy, you may not feel very pregnant because there are little if any visible physical body changes. You may, however, begin to experience physical pregnancy symptoms such as:2,3,5
Fatigue is particularly common during the first trimester and tends to return in late pregnancy.
- Morning sickness
- Weight gain or loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excess saliva
- Food aversions and cravings
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Urinary frequency
- Mild pelvic cramping
- Occasional vaginal spotting
- Breast changes such as enlargement, tenderness, tingling, nipple erection, nipple sensitivity, darkening areola and the presence of areolar bumps, which are actually sweat glands, known as Montgomery tubercles.
(Note: pregnancy increases the risk of urinary tract infections from weeks 6-24, so if your symptoms are not simply from the pregnancy and you suspect an infection, speak with your health care provider about treatment.)6
Your hormones at 7 weeks pregnant
Throughout your pregnancy, you will experience variations in certain hormones, which contribute to many of the pregnancy symptoms you may experience.
Following implantation of the fertilized egg, your body begins to secrete the hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) which is the hormone used to detect pregnancy. HCG is responsible for regulating estrogen and progesterone and contributes to frequent urination.7
Progesterone, which is initially produced by the corpus luteum, rises throughout your pregnancy and continues to do so until the birth of your baby.
In early pregnancy, progesterone is responsible for increasing uterine blood flow, establishing the placenta and stimulating the growth and nutrient production of the endometrium (lining of the uterus). Additionally, progesterone plays a vital role in fetal development, preventing premature labor and lactation, as well as strengthening the pelvic wall muscles to prepare your body for labor.7
In addition to progesterone, the placenta is vital in secreting vital hormones during your pregnancy such as:7
- Human placental lactogen: this hormone is believed to handle mammary gland growth, which will be important for lactation following the birth of your baby. Additionally, it plays a role in increasing nutrient levels in your blood, which is vital to the growth and development of your baby
- Corticotrophin-releasing hormone: this hormone is not only responsible for determining how long you will be pregnant, but it is also responsible for your baby's growth and development. Later in pregnancy, the rise in both corticotrophin-releasing hormone and cortisol not only complete fetal organ development but also provide the mother with a surge of cortisol which has been linked with maternal attentiveness, increasing the mother-baby bond.
Another vital hormone in pregnancy is estrogen, which is responsible for fetal organ development, placental growth and function and mammary gland growth, which will be important for lactation following the birth of your baby.
Additionally, estrogen is needed for regulation of other hormones produced during pregnancy.
Because of the rise in progesterone and estrogen, you may experience some not so pleasant pregnancy symptoms such as mood swings and morning sickness.
Another hormone, relaxin, can cause physical symptoms such as pelvic pain, balance difficulties and constipation, because of its role of relaxing maternal muscles, ligaments and joints.
Baby's development at 7 weeks pregnantAt 7 weeks pregnant there are many changes in your baby's development. Developments that are underway include:1-5
By the time you are 7 weeks pregnant, your baby's brain and facial features are continuing to develop and their toenails are even beginning to form.
- Continued brain development
- Continued facial feature formation including nostrils, mouth, tongue and eye lenses
- Continued limb development with limb buds continuing to mature resembling paddles and now have hands, arms and shoulders. Also taking shape are the knees and ankles, with the legs now in proportion to your baby's size. His or her toenails are also starting to form
- Continued muscle development with additional growth and strength
- Continued kidney development; the kidneys are maturing and begin to function however urination generally begins next week
- Continued spinal cord development
- Continued heart, lungs and intestinal development
- Gonad formation occurs.
Things to do in week 7 of pregnancy
Even though it is early on in your pregnancy, your task list is beginning to grow throughout your first trimester. This is a good time to schedule a prenatal visit at which time, your health care provider will examine you and obtain necessary tests to confirm your pregnancy and evaluate your health.5,6
Testing that may be ordered include:5,6
- Pap Smear (if necessary)
- Blood work such as blood type, Rh factor, iron levels and possibly genetic and ethnicity related genetic disease testing, German measles immunity, etc.
- Sexually transmitted disease testing
- Urine testing to evaluate for glucose (sugar), protein, bacteria and red and white blood cells.
Lifestyle changes at 7 weeks pregnant
You will soon find out that there are many lifestyle modifications that need to be made during pregnancy and even after delivery.
During pregnancy, you will need to take care of yourself and your developing baby. Be sure not to drink alcohol or smoke during pregnancy, and avoid all other toxic substances such as drugs during this time. Be sure to discuss all medications you are taking with your health care provider to ensure that you should continue use during your pregnancy. To nourish yourself and your baby, make sure you eat a healthy diet and take a good prenatal vitamin.2
Another way to maintain your health during pregnancy is to get 30 minutes per day of exercise such as yoga, walking or swimming.5 Speak with your health care provider about your current or desired exercise regimen to make sure it is safe.
Everyone wants to look their best but using permanent hair color is not recommended during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy; instead consider using a semi-permanent dye.6
While it is safe to eat fish during pregnancy, it is recommended that you limit your intake to 8-12 oz. of fish and shellfish per week.6,8
Some examples of fish that are safe to consume during pregnancy include shrimp, canned light tuna (note: mercury varies can to can), pollock, catfish, salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, trout, Atlantic and Pacific mackerel and cod. If you plan on eating albacore tuna and tuna steak, it is recommended to limit consuming this fish to 6 oz. per week.8
Most importantly is to avoid eating shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel while pregnant, as they have high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to your baby's brain and nervous system.
Baby's size at 7 weeks pregnant
At 10,000 times larger than at the time of conception, your baby now measures approximately 13-18 mm.
At 7 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a blueberry.
In fruit terms, your baby is now the size of a blueberry.3,4
The embryo has distinct, slightly webbed fingers and toes. It is a jumping bean, moving in fits and starts.
If you have questions regarding your pregnancy, be sure to contact your health care provider.
Call your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage such as vaginal bleeding or passage of tissue, leaking vaginal fluid, feeling faint or dizzy, low blood pressure, rectal pressure, shoulder pain and severe pelvic pain or cramping.5
Recent developments on pregnancy from MNT news
While medical guidelines recommend complete abstinence, a large survey of women in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand finds drinking alcohol during pregnancy to be a prevalent practice.
Women who consume a high-fiber diet during pregnancy may reduce the risk of their offspring developing asthma, according to the results of a new study published in Nature Communications.