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Pregnancy Day by Day : Welcome to your First Trimester (part 17)

- 9 Bad Habits That Can Cause Miscarriage
- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy
You are 6 Weeks Exactly 238 days to go…

By the end of this sixth week, one of your baby’s major organs—the heart—is rapidly developing and circulating blood.

Your baby today

Here the back of the embryo can be seen lying over the yolk sac. The opening overlying the developing brain has now closed (left side of image) and this will be followed two days later by closure of the opening at the base of the spine (out of view).

Your developing embryo may still be tiny, but is undergoing rapid and complex development.

The heartbeat is now more easily recognized on an ultrasound scan. The heart continues to form from a simple smooth tube which, as it becomes more muscular, loops, folds, and divides to form four chambers. On the left side the upper chamber (left atrium) takes in blood from the lungs. From here blood passes through a one-way valve (the mitral valve) into the main left pumping chamber (the left ventricle). This then pumps blood out of the heart to the body along the main artery (the aorta). On the right-hand side of the heart, the upper chamber (right atrium) collects blood returning from the body and passes it through a one-way valve (tricuspid valve) into the right main pumping chamber (right ventricle). This pumps blood to the lungs and the cycle continues.

At this stage of development, the circulation is very basic with the heart tube simply sending blood around the length of your baby. No blood travels from your baby’s circulation to the placenta .

Types of miscarriage

At this early stage, a common concern is that the pregnancy will miscarry. A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy at any time up until the 20th week. After 20 weeks the loss is referred to as a stillbirth. The signs of a miscarriage are vaginal bleeding and periodlike cramps.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do to prevent a miscarriage. In around 60 percent of cases, it is caused by a one-time genetic problem. Bleeding does not always mean that the pregnancy is being miscarried. Since not all miscarriages follow the same pattern, there are various terms to describe what happens:

  • A threatened miscarriage occurs when the pregnant woman experiences bleeding and possibly pain, but the baby survives.

  • An inevitable miscarriage occurs when there is bleeding and pain due to the pregnant woman’s uterus contracting. The cervix opens, and the fetus is expelled.

  • A missed miscarriage is when the fetus dies but is not expelled. Surgery may be needed to remove it.

Actual size of your baby

At 6 weeks, your baby’s crown to rump length is 0.15 in (4 mm).

Your 7th Week

Getting in shape now will stand you in good stead as your pregnancy continues. Keeping active is important, so work up a daily exercise routine to strengthen your muscles and reduce fatigue—but listen to your body and don’t exhaust yourself. This week your baby’s vital organs, including the lungs and gut, start to develop. Your baby’s head already looks too big for his body as the brain rapidly enlarges.

NOTE

Set yourself some fitness standards to see you through your pregnancy

Embryo at 7 weeks

You are 6 Weeks and 1 Day 237 days to go…

You may be spending a lot of time in front of the mirror trying to spot your “bump,” but it could be weeks yet before you show.

Your baby today

In this side view of the embryo the spinal cord is clearly curved as it begins to develop. The pale-yellow ridgelike structures along the back are somites—your baby’s developing muscular system.

Like most newly pregnant women, you’re probably on the lookout for a rounded belly, but it’s unlikely to make an appearance just yet. On average, the fourth month marks the greatest period of growth, with your pregnancy most definitely appearing as a rounded abdomen.

If it’s not your first pregnancy, you might show earlier, possibly as early as eight to 10 weeks, since your abdominal muscles will be more relaxed. Conversely, women who have firm abdominal muscles may show later. If you are expecting twins or triplets, you can expect to show even earlier.

… Doctor
Q: Can having sex in pregnancy harm the baby?
A: Unless you have been told by your doctor to avoid sex because of specific problems, such as a history of miscarriage or unexplained bleeding, then sex is safe at any stage. Enjoying intimacy with your partner is beneficial to your relationship.

Your baby is cushioned in fluid in the amniotic sac inside your uterus and protected by a plug of mucus at the cervix. Even deep penetration isn’t harmful.

Strengthen your abdominals

It’s safe to do abdominal exercises lying on your back during your first trimester. Toward the end of the first trimester, or when you start “showing” (see image), you should stop doing abdominal exercises on your back .

When you are doing abdominal exercises, it’s important to breathe correctly: remember to inhale to start and exhale on each effort.

The purpose of abdominal exercises is to strengthen core muscles. The deeper transverse abdominis muscle that runs horizontally across your body is vital for core stability and strength as your baby develops. The rectus abdominis muscle that runs vertically down your body is the muscle that will stretch during pregnancy and weaken, so it’s vital to keep the transverse muscle strong to help your posture and support your spine.

The sooner you begin to strengthen the transverse abdominis, the better. In the first trimester, one of the exercises you can do to strengthen this muscle is shown below.

Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor and arms at your sides. Inhale to begin and as you slowly exhale, push your lower back flat on to the floor. Hold this position for 3–5 seconds and repeat.

Strengthening and Toning Exercises

Exercises that strengthen your muscles will help you deal with the additional demands of pregnancy and to manage better during labor and birth.

The exercises shown are sometimes called “functional movement enhancers” because they increase the strength of the muscles that you use for everyday functions such as walking, carrying, lifting, sitting, and standing. The workout can be used alongside walking, swimming, or other cardiovascular exercises and can be done around 2–3 times a week.

Warm up

Walk in place, swinging your arms back and forth. Continue for 3–5 minutes until your muscles are warm.

Biceps curl

The biceps is an important muscle for carrying and lifting. You can use 3–5 lb (1–2 kg) weights for this sequence if you’re a regular exerciser. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight, and arms at your sides. Breathe in, then exhale as you bend one elbow, raising your hand to shoulder level. Alternate arms until you’ve done 20 curls each side (40 in total). If you find this easy, try doing a total of 60 curls.

Side lunges

These (and the forward lunges,) strengthen the abdominal and thigh muscles. Start with hands on hips, legs hip-width apart. Step one leg out to the side, bending the knee. Keep the other leg straight. Step back to the starting position, keeping the tummy pulled in and torso straight. Do 10 lunges on each leg.

Forward lunges

Start with hands on hips, feet hip-width apart. Step one leg forward; bend the opposite knee toward the floor, allowing the heel to lift off the floor. Return to the starting position. Do 10 lunges on each leg.

The bridge

This exercise works your bottom, hamstrings, and inner thighs, and builds strength in your lower body to support your growing belly. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees slightly apart. Raise your hips (this relieves pressure on your back and is safe in the second and third trimesters). Keep your hands on the floor next to you, arms straight. Slowly bring your knees together while clenching your bottom; open and close your knees 10 times. Slowly lower your hips and roll onto your left side to end.

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