You are 7 Weeks and 4 Days 227 days to go…

Your baby’s facial features are beginning to develop and over the next few weeks will become much more defined.

Your baby today

The upper and lower limb buds that will form the legs and arms are clearly visible by now. The baby’s head is still curled over the chest, but the beginnings of ears can just be detected as raised areas at the base of the head.

Your baby has ears! Low down, near the jaw line, the ears form, each arising from six small mounds, fusing together to give your baby his unique and individual ear shape. As the face and jaw forms and your baby’s neck extends moving away from the chest wall, the ears migrate upward; they will come to lie at the same level as his eyes by 11 weeks.

The lips and nose are now beginning to take shape. To form the upper lip, two separate ridges of tissue grow from each side of your baby’s face to fuse with the small piece of tissue in the midline extending downward beneath the nose (the grooved part of the upper lip).

At around this stage, your baby’s small and large bowel lengthen. Because they have insufficient room to expand inside the still very curled-up embryo, the intestines appear as a bulge on the surface of the abdominal wall. This bulge is covered by a membrane, into which the umbilical cord becomes attached. The bowel will continue to grow in this embryonic sac until 11–12 weeks when it will be reabsorbed into the abdominal cavity, leaving just the surface attachment of the cord.

According to one study, eating apples during pregnancy could reduce the risk of your child developing asthma.

Following a Mediterranean diet may have the same effect. Researchers found that the babies of mothers who ate plenty of fish, olive oil, fruit, and vegetables were up to 30 percent less likely to wheeze as well as 50 percent less likely to develop skin allergies.

… Safety
Cooking with care

Scrupulous food hygiene is important in pregnancy for a number of reasons. Firstly, your immune system is under extra pressure during pregnancy, making you more susceptible to food poisoning. Secondly, there’s a risk that food-borne illnesses can affect the health of your baby, so it pays to be cautious. Do the following:

  • Wash your hands carefully and regularly, with hot water and soap. Make sure they are completely dry before preparing food, since bacteria spread more easily on damp skin.

  • Keep food in your fridge until you plan to prepare it, and cook it thoroughly before serving.

  • Serve food piping hot, since germs can multiply in lukewarm conditions.

  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately, and reheat them well, only once.

  • Thoroughly clean your hands, implements, and work surfaces.

  • Set the correct temperature on your fridge and freezer.

Make time for preparation and take the precaution of washing all fruit and vegetables. Keep raw foods away from cooked foods.

You are 7 Weeks and 5 Days 226 days to go…

Life goes on even though you’re pregnant, but make sure you seek the right help if you’re becoming overly tired.

Your baby today

This ultrasound scan of the baby in side view shows that the head (at top) is relatively large compared to the rest of the body. The lighter, elongated area at the center of the baby’s darker body is an upper arm bud.

You may find work a strain at times. If you have symptoms, such as fatigue, and still haven’t told colleagues you’re pregnant, it can make for a stressful and difficult day. If you’ve told some colleagues, or your boss, you’re expecting it may be easier but you might feel you have to prove you can still do your job as efficiently as before.

Traveling can be tiring so explore the possibility of doing more flexible hours, so that you can commute when it’s less busy. Be reassured that even though you aren’t feeling your best, your unborn baby is unlikely to be affected. Do, however, take care of yourself.

If you find that you’re struggling to deal with your workload, consider speaking to your boss (you can ask him or her to keep your pregnancy a secret until you are ready to tell), or someone in the human resources department, to give yourself a little breathing space. If you have colleagues who are close friends, lean on them for support in these early weeks.

… Doctor

Q:I’m going on an overseas, pre-paid vacation to a tropical climate. Can I have vaccinations now that I’m pregnant?
A:In principle, it’s a good idea to avoid traveling to parts of the world where there is a high risk of disease unless you really need to. Local health care might not be adequate and food and water may be contaminated, which poses dangerous risks.

If it isn’t possible to change your destination or postpone your vacation, be aware of the following:

  • Oral vaccines to protect against yellow fever, typhoid, polio, and anthrax, for example, are contraindicated during pregnancy, although your doctor may decide that if you need to travel, the risk of having the vaccine is lower than the risks associated with contracting the disease.

  • Some vaccines (polio and typhoid) are safe when given by injection. Mefloquine tablets, taken to prevent malaria, are considered safe after week 16.

  • It’s safe to have a tetanus vaccination if you’re pregnant; check whether yours is up-to-date.

Are you nesting already?

There’s nothing like a new arrival to inspire you to get all those do-it-yourself (DIY) jobs done around the home. For most women, the nesting bug occurs in the later weeks of pregnancy, but if you’re itching to get your house in order before then, make sure you exercise a little caution.

First of all, avoid putting yourself and your baby at risk: don’t stand on tall ladders, and don’t bend and crouch for long periods since this may affect your circulation. Avoid contact with oil-based paints, polyurethane (used for flooring), spray paints, turpentine, and other paint removers, and avoid inhaling plaster dust.

You are 7 Weeks and 6 Days 225 days to go…

If you’re planning a vacation, take into account that you may not feel up to a long trip.

Your baby today

The yolk sac can be seen floating like a balloon in the amniotic cavity on its fine stalk. As the embryo has drawn nutrition from the yolk sac it has gradually reduced in both size and importance. Meanwhile the placenta (on the right) is becoming established.

You may have planned a vacation before you found out you were pregnant, or just feel like getting away. If you’re feeling tired and have morning sickness, however, you may not feel up to traveling too far.

One advantage of going away is being able to spend quality time with your partner and fully embrace the fact that you’re going to be parents. When going on vacation, check with travel insurance companies to see if you can get coverage during pregnancy and check the medical facilities at your destination. If you have prenatal records, take them with you. Some airlines may not accept pregnant women on flights after 36 weeks without a doctor’s letter written within 72 hours of the flight confirming your due date and your fitness to fly.

Relax and take the opportunity for a snooze on the plane trip, but make sure you get up regularly to stretch your legs. It’s even more important to keep the blood circulating when you’re pregnant.

Breathe easy

Exercise can help keep breathlessness at bay, and increase the efficiency of your heart and lungs (cardiovascular system), helping you to deal with the physical demands of pregnancy now and in later months.

A cardiovascular workout involves increasing your heart rate for at least 20–30 minutes. However, pregnancy is not a time to start training for a marathon; stick to moderate-intensity workouts. A way to test if you are exercising at the right level is to talk while you are working out —if you can’t, lower the intensity.

Try doing interval training, which involves alternating five minutes of cardiovascular workouts with five minutes of toning for the upper body . Breathe out as you lift the weights, and in as you relax.

Breathing deeply allows oxygen to travel to your vital organs and helps the cardiovascular system to function effectively. During pregnancy, it’s important to avoid taking short, shallow breaths and to focus on expanding your rib cage and filling your lungs with air.

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