The mother’s body is changing and the baby is growing. During this week, both the uterus and the baby have almost doubled in size from the previous week. At 7 weeks, the embryo is approximately the size of a tiny blueberry. Week 7 is a week that many developmental stages are met. Some organs are being created, while other organs are getting their start at the work they will continue to do throughout the duration of their lives. Many body structures are still vulnerable in their stages of development, including the nervous system and some major internal organs.
What is Developing?
Seven weeks sees a lot of developmental milestones. The head is finally shaped like it’s supposed to be with both hemispheres of the brain developed. The brain cells are generated rapidly. The arms and legs are forming and distinguishable hands and feet can be found, with the addition of shoulder and knee segments. Week 7 sees the development of the permanent set of kidneys that will start to filter through waste products. The liver is in operation and is creating red blood cells until the bone marrow is formed, the bone marrow is the site of blood cell development after birth. The embryo will have an appendix and pancreas; however, they are not fully in operation yet. The healthy development of the pancreas is vital, because the pancreas is the area of the body that produces the insulin hormone, which is essential in controlling glucose levels in the blood. The intestines are starting their development throughout week 7.
The umbilical cord is fully established and is providing nutrients and oxygen to the embryo. This is one of the first weeks that the embryo starts to look more like a baby.
What Mothers Should Be Expecting at Week 7?
Most mothers will still be suffering through morning sickness and the overwhelming tiredness that comes with carrying an extra lifeform around. Many women report an increase in breast size during week 7. Progesterone and estrogen are very high during the first part of pregnancy to help the body adjust to the changes that it needs to undergo to promote a healthy pregnancy. One of these changes is in the breasts.
The breasts will start to get bigger in week 7. There isn’t an exact ratio to how big they will get, every individual is different. Fat starts to be stored more in the breast and the blood flow increases in the breast area in preparation for future breastfeeding. The breasts will be sensitive and tender. The areola, the darker area surrounding the nipple, will start to change this week. The areolas will become darker and will start to spread more across the breast as the pregnancy progresses. It is natural for the areola to become darker and take up more space.
Cramping is normal throughout the first trimester, as the body is adjusting to promote a healthy pregnancy. However, cramping that occurs in the neck or shoulder should be addressed immediately by a doctor.