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Pregnancy Week by Week : Week 7 (part 1) - How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

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1. How Big Are You?

Although you are probably quite anxious to show the world you’re pregnant, there still may be little noticeable change. Changes will come soon.

2.How Your Baby Is Growing and Developing

Leg buds are beginning to appear as short fins. Arm buds have grown and divided into a hand segment and an arm-shoulder segment. The hand and foot have a plate where the fingers and toes will develop.

The heart has divided into right and left chambers. An opening between the chambers called the foramen ovale appears. This opening lets blood pass from one chamber to the other, allowing it to bypass the lungs. At birth, the opening closes.

The primary bronchi (air passages in the lungs) are present. The brain is growing; the forebrain divides into two parts. Eyes and nostrils are developing.

Intestines are forming, and the appendix and pancreas are present. Part of the intestine bulges into the umbilical cord. Later in development, it returns to the abdomen.

3.Changes in You

Changes occur gradually. You should have gained only a couple of pounds by this time. If you haven’t gained weight or if you have lost a couple of pounds, it’s OK. It will go the other direction in the weeks to come. You may still have morning sickness and other symptoms of early pregnancy.

4. How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

Jewish Genetic Disorders

A group of medical conditions considered genetic disorders occur more commonly among Ashkenazi Jews, who are of eastern European descent. About 95% of the Jewish population in North America is of Ashkenazi heritage. Some of the diseases found in this group also affect Sephardi Jews and non-Jews; however, the conditions are more common among Ashkenazi Jews—sometimes 20 to 100 times more common.


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Your baby’s brain is growing and developing.
The heart has divided into right and left chambers.

A great deal of research has been done to determine why these disorders occur more frequently in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Researchers believe two processes are at work—the founder effect and genetic drift.

With the founder effect, genes that cause certain problems just happened to occur among the founders of the Ashkenazi Jews. They emigrated to eastern Europe around 70 A.D. Before they left Palestine, these disorders were probably as common among all other groups in the area. When the Ashkenazi Jews settled together in Europe, they carried these genes.

Because Ashkenazi Jews do not often marry outside their faith or community, the genes were not spread among other communities. This is called genetic drift. The presence of the genes was not decreased by introducing genes from outside the community, so many of the problems remained within this group.

Some diseases and conditions occur within other Jewish groups, such as Sephardi Jews. Sephardi Jews are of Spanish or Portuguese descent, and particular disorders occur within this group, probably for the same reasons they occur among Ashkenazi Jews.

Today, various conditions are considered “Jewish genetic disorders.” However, we know people of other ethnic backgrounds can inherit some of these diseases. Some diseases and conditions are not usually found outside the various Jewish populations and are rare in the general population. These disorders include:

• Bloom syndrome

• factor-XI deficiency

• familial dysautonomia (Riley-Day syndrome)

• Fanconi anemia (Group C)

• Gaucher disease

• glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD)

• glycogen storage disease, type III

• mucolipidosis IV

• Niemann-Pick disease (Type A)

• nonclassical adrenal hyperplasia

• nonsyndromic hearing loss

• torsion dystonia

Screening tests are available for some of the diseases listed above. One test targets 11 genetic diseases and is designed for couples in which one or both members are of Ashkenazi or Sephardi Jewish descent. Many diseases can be identified before pregnancy or in early pregnancy. Discuss testing with your healthcare provider, if you’re interested.

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