7 weeks pregnant: Changes for mum

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7 weeks pregnant: Changes for mum

Now that your pregnancy is well underway, you’ll almost certainly be feeling pregnant. You’re pregnancy hormones have kicked in and this week they’re likely to contribute to pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness. As unpleasant as pregnancy symptoms are, they are normal and a sign that your pregnancy is well underway and developing normally.

This week your cervix (the entry to your womb) will secrete a thick layer of mucous known as a ‘cervical plug’. It protects your baby from germs and helps to ensure your pregnancy continues on a healthy road.

Cervical plug

The key change in your body this week is the development of the cervical plug. This thick layer of mucous blocks the entrance to your womb to prevent foreign substances which may harm your baby from entering your body. By the end of this week, it is firmly in place, and will remain blocking the entrance to your womb until late in pregnancy, when it loosens to enable the cervix to prepare for dilatation during childbirth.

Pregnancy hormones and symptoms

Your pregnancy hormones are working particularly hard in this second month of pregnancy. While that’s good news for your baby (the hormones regulate growth of your baby and ensure your pregnancy develops normally) it often doesn’t seem like good news for mum. Pregnancy hormones don’t only regulate your baby’s growth, they also change the way your organs function and can cause a range of pregnancy symptoms. Although they’re normal, pregnancy symptoms can be difficult to cope with and unpleasant.

Morning sickness

135567130 Morning sicknessMorning sickness, or nausea and vomiting, can last all day not just in the morning as the name implies. It is the most common pregnancy symptom. It’s thought to be caused, at least partly, from hormonal changes which disrupt normal patterns of food digestion and cause food to pass through your system more slowly. Morning sickness is a normal part of a healthy pregnancy and up to 90% of women experience it in the first trimester. It’s likely you’ll experience morning sickness in your first trimester.

Although most women experience it, morning sickness is far from pleasant. However it is rarely anything to worry about. As long as you can eat enough to get all the energy and nutrients you and your baby need, morning sickness will not do you or your baby any harm. But it’s important to ensure you are eating enough to get all the nutrients you and your baby need to stay healthy. You might need to snack regularly throughout the day to ensure you eat enough, rather than trying to eat just a few big meals. Also make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids as this will ensure you are properly hydrated and keep your morning sickness in check.

When to see a doctor about morning sickness

Morning sickness which is so severe that it prevents you from eating enough is called hyperemesis gravidarium. It can be is dangerous and requires treatment. If you are so nauseous that you can’t eat or vomiting prevents you from keeping food down, talk to your doctor.

Managing morning sickness

If you have mild-moderate morning sickness the following tips should be enough to help you cope and ensure you get all the nutrients you need:

  • Choose foods which are high in carbohydrates and low in fat and avoid greasy and spicy foods. Salty foods and those containing ginger might also be useful. Foods which have made your morning sickness worse on previous occasions should be avoided.
  • Have a snack before you get out of bed. Dry toast is a good option.
  • Avoid large meals, instead nibble throughout the day.
  • Don’t lie down after a meal.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids. If it’s hot, sucking icy poles might help reduce the nausea associated with morning sickness.
  • Get outside and breathe in plenty of fresh air.

Fatigue

The changes in blood flow which began earlier in pregnancy are likely to continue to be felt this week. Your heart is beating a little faster than normal to ensure baby gets enough blood. It’s one of the reasons you’re probably feeling more tired than usual, and may also cause you to become dizzy or have a headache. But like morning sickness, fatigue during pregnancy is normal and the first trimester is one stage of pregnancy when you’re likely to feel tired, often (even after a good night’s sleep).

Coping with pregnancy fatigue

Fatigue during pregnancy is normal and it’s your body’s way of telling you to get more rest. If you’re having trouble finding time to rest these tips might help you deal with pregnancy fatigue:

  • Develop a sleep routine so that you are going to bed and getting up at regular times each day.
  • Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex- don’t use it for reading, watching TV or other types of relaxation.
  • Go to bed a little earlier that you usually do.
  • Take a nap during the day is you feel like you need a bit of extra rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and limit fluid intake before bed- there’s nothing that disturbs a good night’s sleep like needing to get up for a wee in the middle of the night.
  • Keep exercising even if you feel tired. Exercise can reinvigorate you.
  • Reduce your workload- hand over some of your chores to another person or find some things that you can simply leave for a later date.

Breast changes

141243460Your breasts will carry on increasing in size this week as the glands which will eventually produce milk to nourish your newborn baby are continuing to grow. The increasing amounts of blood circulating through your breasts will cause your nipples to darken (if they have not already).

It’s also normal to experience tingling in your breasts, which may be a bit tender or sore. Although your breasts may be uncomfortable, the changes are normal and an indication that your body is preparing for lactation (production of breastmilk).

Coping with breast discomfort

If your breasts are sore or uncomfortable, these tips may help minimise the discomfort and the effect it has on your daily life:

  • Remember that breast discomfort usually lessens after the first trimester;
  • Wear a good supportive bra made from fabric which ‘breathes’;
  • Tell your doctor if you notice a lump or strange discharge from your breasts.

Emotions

If you’re feeling a little emotional by this stage of your pregnancy, that’s also normal and generally nothing to worry about. Your raging pregnancy hormones are at least partly responsible, but the changes you’re experiencing and anticipating also play a role. Having a baby is one of life’s greatest experiences but it comes with major lifestyle changes and lots of responsibility.

You may be excited and completely positive about those changes and that’s great. On the other hand, you may be just a little (or a lot) worried about what will happen and that is perfectly normal. You may have already started reading about how to have a healthy pregnancy and, at the end of it all how to be a good mum and you may already be a little concerned that you won’t have what it takes. Whether you’re worrying about the glass of wine you had before you knew you were pregnant and whether it might have harmed your baby, if you’ll survive childbirth or whether you’ll have what it takes to be a great mum, you’re not alone. These concerns are normal for pregnant women and there’s no point bottling them up. Talk to your partner, a good friend or your pregnancy care provider if you’re worried.

Even if you’re not consciously worrying about the future, your emotions may still be all over the place. If you cry at the drop of a hat, get angry about tiny little things that don’t normally bother you or keep forgetting things, you probably hate it, but rest assured it’s a fairly normal part of pregnancy (just blame it on the hormones. You might also be worrying about work and how you’ll negotiate time off with your boss, or how you and your partner will balance the necessity of work and earning money, with the pleasure of family life with a newborn.

Whatever it is that you’re feeling, don’t bottle your emotions up- while they’re normal, keeping them to yourself may make them worse. Start by talking to your partner or a close friend who you trust. During every nine months of your life you’ll have some up and downs and the nine months of your pregnancy are no different. Don’t worry if you go through a few ups and downs. However if you feel constantly down, are crying a lot, having trouble sleeping or feeling very lonely, you may have depression which needs treating.

If you’re not depressed but just a bit down or overly worried about your baby, taking simple steps like sharing your worries with friends, getting enough rest and avoiding overworking yourself, may be the only ‘medicine’ you need. It’s also important to remember that although there are steps you can take to increase the chances your baby will be born normal and healthy, if pregnancy complications do arise, they are not your fault.Reading parenting and pregnancy books, or talking to friends who’ve been survived the whole pregnancy thing might also help.

When to talk to your doctor about depression

159175972 Couple huggingSometimes emotions can get on top of you during pregnancy and a condition called antenatal depression develops. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if:

  • You’re in a low mood, for example feeling sad or angry, for a period of two weeks or more;
  • You feel so down that you cannot do the day to day things you need to do;
  • You feel like life is not worthwhile.

Some women have a greater risk of depression during pregnancy and it is particularly important the women talk to their doctor early if they start feeling down during pregnancy. They include those who:

  • Lack financial and emotional support;
  • Have difficulties in their relationship;
  • Have been abused in the past or are being abused in their current relationship;
  • Have sleep problems;
  • Are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders;
  • Are from another ethnic minority;
  • Have experienced depression or other emotional health problems in the past;
  • Have family member who has experienced emotional health problems;
  • Have a drug or alcohol use disorder;
  • Are experiencing significant stress;
  • Had a difficult relationship with their own mother.

Managing antenatal depression

Pregnancy is hard enough without depression, so if you are feeling depressed, or even if you’re not, it’s important to take measures to protect your emotional health such as:

  • Ensuring you have plenty of support from family and friends;
  • Ensuring you get support from health professionals if you feel down all the time or can’t function properly because of negative emotions;
  • Remembering to let go and just relax- if the house is not spotless or there is washing in the basket, it probably doesn’t matter that much. Relax and accept that you can’t do everything.
  • Put time aside for you – whether you read a book or listen to your favourite music, it’s important to for pregnant women to have a bit of ‘me’ time;
  • Put time aside to spend with your partner to do things you enjoy together and be intimate;
  • Talk about how you’re feeling with your partner, friends and family, and if needed a health professional.

References

More information about week 7 of pregnancy

Woman in blue top, seen from the neck to just below the breasts.For more information about pregnancy symptoms, see Pregnancy symptoms.
120002144 Happy coupleFor more information about the seventh week of pregnancy, see 7 weeks pregnant.
147008539 Happy coupleFor more information about how baby is developing and changing this week, see 7 weeks pregnant: Changes for baby.
114274104 Woman at doctor'sFor more information about pregnancy health in the seventh week of pregnancy, see Doctor appointments and health information this week.
154021786 Couple using tabletFor a summary of the key points about the seventh week of pregnancy, see 7 weeks pregnant: Key points.
Date Created: February 4, 2013

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