In fact, your baby is making about 100 new brain cells every minute.
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:
At week 7, you might be starting to notice some small physical changes.
At this stage of pregnancy, you may not feel very different, because there are little if any visible physical body changes.
You may, however, begin to experience physical symptoms such as:
- nausea and vomiting, sometimes called "morning sickness"
- weight gain or loss
- excess saliva
- food aversions and cravings
- heartburn and indigestion
- a need to urinate more often
- mild pelvic cramping
- occasional vaginal spotting
Breast changes include:
- nipple erection or nipple sensitivity
- darkening of the areola, the part around the nipple
- the presence of areolar bumps, which are actually sweat glands, known as Montgomery tubercles
From weeks 6 to 24, there is a higher risk of urinary tract infections. If symptoms are not only from the pregnancy, and you suspect an infection, speak with your health care provider about treatment.
Throughout pregnancy, you will experience variations in certain hormones. These contribute to many of the symptoms you may experience.
Following implantation of the fertilized egg, your body begins to secrete human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which is the hormone that will be detected in a pregnancy test.
Progesterone is initially produced by the corpus luteum. It rises throughout pregnancy and continues to do so until the delivery.
In early pregnancy, progesterone is responsible for increasing uterine blood flow, establishing the placenta and stimulating the growth and nutrient production of the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus.
It also plays a vital role in fetal development, preventing premature labor and lactation, and strengthening the pelvic wall muscles to prepare your body for labor.
In addition to progesterone, the placenta is vital in secreting vital hormones during your pregnancy.
Human placental lactogen: This hormone is believed to handle mammary gland growth, which will be important for breastfeeding after delivery. It also plays a role in increasing nutrient levels in your blood. This is vital to the growth and development of your baby.
Corticotrophin-releasing hormone: This hormone is responsible for determining how long you will be pregnant and 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. This has been linked to maternal attentiveness, increasing the mother-baby bond.
Relaxin: This can cause physical symptoms such as pelvic pain, balance difficulties, and constipation. This is because it relaxes the mother's muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Another vital hormone in pregnancy is estrogen. This 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.
The rise in progesterone and estrogen can trigger some less pleasant pregnancy symptoms, such as mood swings and nausea.
At 7 weeks pregnant, there are many changes in your baby's development.
- continued brain development
- continued facial feature formation, including the nostrils, mouth, tongue, and eye lenses
- continued limb development, as limb buds continuing to mature resembling paddles
- hands, arms, and shoulders are forming
- continued spinal cord development
- continued heart, lung, and intestinal development
- gonad formation
- The knees and ankles are taking shape, and the legs are now in proportion to your baby's size. Toenails are also starting to form.
Muscle development continues, with additional growth and strength.
Although the kidneys are maturing and beginning to function, urination will not normally start until next week.
At 10,000 times larger than at the time of conception, your baby now measures approximately 13 to 18 millimeters (mm), or around the size of a large blueberry.
The embryo has distinct, slightly webbed fingers and toes. It is like a jumping bean, moving in fits and starts.
Things to do
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. Your health provider will examine you and obtain necessary tests to confirm your pregnancy and evaluate your health.
The following tests may be done:
- pap smear, if necessary
- blood tests, to check for blood type, Rh factor, iron levels, measles and German measles immunity, and so on
- in some cases, genetic and ethnicity-related genetic disease testing
- tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- urine testing to assess glucose (sugar), protein, bacteria and red and white blood cells
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.
Discuss all medications you are taking with your health 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, as recommended by your health provider.
Another way to maintain your health during pregnancy is to get 30 minutes per day of exercise such as yoga, walking or swimming.
Speak with your health provider about your current or desired exercise regimen to make sure it is safe.
Using permanent hair color is not recommended during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Instead, consider using a semi-permanent dye.
Is safe to eat fish during pregnancy, but you should limit your intake to 2 to 3 servings, or between 8 and 12 ounces of fish and shellfish per week.
Some fish have higher mercury levels, such as grouper, halibut, or Albacore tuna, or white tuna. You should limit these to one serving a week, or no more than 6 ounces.
Fish that are not safe to consume during pregnancy include king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico.
These have high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to your baby's brain and nervous system.
If you have questions regarding your pregnancy, be sure to contact your health care provider.
Call your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms that could indicate an ectopic pregnancy or loss of pregnancy.
- vaginal bleeding or passage of tissue
- leaking vaginal fluid
- feeling faint or dizzy
- low blood pressure
- rectal pressure
- shoulder pain
- severe pelvic pain or cramping
New research demonstrates that consuming a low-carbohydrate diet during pregnancy may increase the risk of certain birth defects by 30 percent.
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.