The 7th Week of Pregnancy

You’ve reached the halfway mark of your first trimester. Congrats! This is an important mark for most women, as it’s the first time when they can actually see their baby on a scan. It’s also an extremely busy week for your body. Your baby develops extremely fast at this time, with an astonishing rate of 100 brain cells per minute and the heart evolving into a complex organ with dedicated functions. Each baby develops differently, but usually around this week tooth buds and tongue begin to form and arm buds sprout, along with further development of ears, nostrils and eyes. Your baby’s blood type also develops around this time.

For most women, breasts grow at a peak rate and pregnancy aches become overwhelming during the 7th week of pregnancy. This can partly be caused by pregnancy hormones, but discomfort and loss of energy are also due to the fast paced developmental changes in your body. Your taste in food has probably changed. If you’ve already developed aversions towards certain foods, replace them with healthy alternatives to replenish the necessary vitamins and minerals. Due to hormones, urination is much more frequent in the 7th week. Despite that, you and you baby need more fluids intake than ever. Avoid caffeine, it’s associated with some pregnancy risks and it’s a diuretic, which means you’ll pee more. If you’re feeling tired, that’s normal, too. Your system is working swiftly on producing the placenta and developing your baby. Eat as many as 7 small meals a day and exercise lightly to keep your energy levels up.

The good news is that, starting with the 7th week, you’re becoming more aware of your baby and you can already see what’s going on in your tummy with an early pregnancy scan. Seeing their baby for the first time is a wonderful experience for both parents. Your sonographer can check if everything is developing as planned and even calculate your EED (estimated due date). It is usually also possible to detect twin pregnancy during the 7th week.

This is a time of awakening for many women, preparing them psychologically for the journey. Seeing your baby for the first time on the screen and feeling your body change drastically makes you feel closer to your baby and motivates you to eat healthier and get the proper care. You are now much, much closer to becoming a mom.

Healthy Habits for Sleeping Well during Pregnancy

It becomes harder and harder to maintain a good sleeping routine as the pregnancy progresses. Nausea, pressure on the bladder, cramps and mood swings and usually the factors that stay in the way of a good night’s rest. Here are a few tips on how to develop healthy habits that will help you sleep well during pregnancy.

Find a good sleeping position

Sleeping on the side is the best position for both you and your baby. On the opposite end is sleeping on the back: this can result in back pain and problems with breathing and circulation. As the pregnancy evolves, when lying on the back, the weight of your uterus puts pressure on your back and intestines and reduces the blood flow to your uterus. Sleeping on your stomach is not associated with any risks, but it can become very uncomfortable as your belly and breasts increase in size.

As you progress towards your third trimester of pregnancy, train yourself to sleep on the left side. This position is optimal for increasing the blood flow and provision of nutrients to your baby. Shifting positions during sleep is perfectly normal and should not be a reason to worry. If you reach an uncomfortable position, you will wake up. Many pregnant women find it difficult to stick to one position. If you’re feeling tired or uncomfortable from sleeping on your left side, try using pillows to prop up your back or legs.

Create a sleeping routine

Establish a sleeping routine and try to stick to it. Pair it with a ritual that helps you relax before going to bed, such as drinking a glass of warm milk, brushing your hair or reading. Avoid eating, watching TV or surfing the web while in bed. It’s easier to fall asleep when you associate sitting in bed with sleeping and not with stimulating activities that normally occur during the day.

Use relaxation techniques

Relax your body and mind with a massage, stretching exercises and prenatal yoga. Exercising will also help you stay in shape and improve your circulation and your physical well-being. Schedule you exercises in the morning and afternoon, but keep your physical activity low in the hours before bedtime.

Take daytime naps

Take half-hour naps during the day to reduce fatigue. One or two power naps of 10 minutes are also healthy for your mental and physical well-being. You will feel less tired and have better concentration throughout the day. Avoid taking naps that are longer than 30 minutes, otherwise you might feel drowsy all day.

Eat little and often

In between your main meals, include snacks and small meals. This keeps the energy levels stable and it also helps reduce pregnancy nausea for some women. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid spicy or fatty meals to ease your digestive system.

Top 6 Celebrity Diets during Pregnancy

What are pregnant celebrities eating these days? Between struggling to stay in shape and resisting to cravings, sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine can be difficult. Find below how some celebrities managed to eat for two in a healthy way. A current trend in exercising seems to be yoga training, combined with eating fruits, nuts and fish. As for dealing with cravings and morning sickness, each one has their own unique tricks.

Kate Middleton had a healthy lifestyle before being pregnant as well, so not many sacrifices were needed. Her diet includes healthy snacks of nuts and fruits and nutritious meals with codfish, chicken, turkey and some (craved) vegetarian curry. She gave up drinking coffee and using tanning spray in order to minimize possible negative effects. Kate also reduced her intense workout and changed to lighter exercise activities, such as morning walks and pregnancy yoga. To prevent the appearance of stretch marks, Kate uses cocoa butter, which is rich in Vitamin E.

Curry dishes were also among Lily Allen’s cravings when she was pregnant with her second child, Marnie Rose. Lily also liked to spend lazy afternoons watching DVDs while drinking tea and eating sweet treats like caramel biscuits and sweetened yoghurt.

Victoria Beckham included omega-3 rich foods in her pregnancy diets, with a preference for smoked salmon. Her cravings for marmalade toast with tea are not too bad either. Many pregnant women crave for junk food, high in salt or sugar. To stay in shape, Victoria continued her yoga exercises, combined with pilates and cardio workouts.

Coleen Rooney declared she felt much more comfortable with her curves during the second pregnancy and did not hesitate to sunbathe at the beach. While exercising to stay fit, Coleen is not concerned with the gained weight, but rather with eating healthy. She used scented candles for dealing with her pregnancy cravings and was spoiled by her husband with bath oils massages for reducing backaches.

Sophie Dahl craved for pineapple during her first pregnancy, which is quite healthy and can also help with morning sickness. Sophie likes to eat organic and sustainable food, cooked from scratched and with passion.

Mel B kept a pretty strict pregnancy diet while expecting her third child, in 2011. Breakfast was the most consistent meal, including eggs, turkey and avocado. Lunch consisted of light salads with chicken or fish. She had plenty of fruits for snacks and replaced coffee with herbal tea.

Nutrition Advice for Your Third Trimester

Your baby’s growth rate will be at its highest during your third trimester. At this stage, your baby’s eyes start opening and later on detect light, breathing begins and many vital minerals are absorbed from the intestinal tract. Nutrition in these last months is as important as ever, so make sure to include these essential vitamins and minerals in your diet.

1. Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays an important role in blood coagulation and it helps prevent loosing too much blood during labour. Foods rich in Vitamin K are bananas, prunes, potato skins, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is recommended for overall maternal health and for your baby’s development. You will find it in nuts such as almonds and pine nuts and in spinach and green olives. Eating the nuts in their raw form is the healthiest option. Another excellent benefit of Vitamin E is that it helps minimise and heal stretch marks.

3. Vitamin D & Calcium

Calcium complemented by Vitamin D support the calcification of your baby’s bones and prevents forgetfulness in expecting mothers. Spending time in the sunlight is the easiest way for Vitamin D intake, as the human body can synthesize Vitamin D from sun exposure. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, tofu, sesame seeds, almonds and Brazil nuts. During rainy weather, try including mushrooms and fatty fish like Mackerel and Salmon in your diet for a sufficient intake of Vitamin D.

4. Iron

Iron keeps you energy levels up and minimizes the effects of blood loss during childbirth. There are two types of iron you can absorb from food: heme iron, which is found in meat, and non heme iron, found in vegetables. Heme iron is more easily absorbed that the iron found in vegetables. Rich sources are red meat and poultry. Dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, apricots and tomatoes are not only iron-rich, but contain other essential vitamins and minerals as well.

Try to keep your diet varied, yet keep in mind that it is recommended to not mix heme iron sources with non-heme iron sources in one meal, as the amount of each type of iron absorbed is reduced and thus total absorption is not maximized.

Nutrition Guide for Your Second Trimester

At this stage, what your baby needs most is to grow. Most expecting moms feel more energized during the second trimester and begin to put on weight. Vital systems start to develop and kicking can be felt already. Here are the most important vitamins and minerals you will need for a healthy development during your second trimester of pregnancy.

1. Vitamin E

A good balance of Vitamin E and Omega oils is healthy for you as well as for your baby. Vitamin E helps prevent and heal stretch marks, while contributing to your baby’s development. Vitamin E in excess is not recommended. Avoid taking dietary supplements and try instead nuts such as almonds and pine nuts, spinach and green olives. These vitamin-rich foods are healthiest in their raw form and will satisfy the recommended daily dose in a balanced diet.

2. Vitamin C and Zinc

Vitamin C and Zinc are both critical in aiding your immune system and preventing infections. There is also evidence that Vitamin C and Zinc can help with the development of the baby’s nervous system. Try including strawberries, kiwi and other fruits in your diet, as well as bell pepper, broccoli, lamb, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and peanuts. Eating one portion of peanuts per week during pregnancy reduces the chances of your child developing allergies later on. Peanuts are recommended only for those without a family history of peanut allergy.

3. Vitamin D and Calcium

During the second trimester, your baby’s bones and teeth begin to harden. Calcium with Vitamin D and magnesium are essential in the formation of bones and teeth, so make sure you spend sufficient time in sunlight and eat plenty of cheese, milk, tofu, mushrooms, sesame seeds, almonds and Brazil nuts. Complete you diet with fish like Mackerel and Tuna, which are rich in magnesium and Omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene is the most popular provitamin A, widely available in plenty of fruits and plants. Because it converts to Vitamin A within your body, it plays an important role in the development of your baby’s vision. You will find beta-Carotene in orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, beetroots, mangoes and papayas. Sweet potatoes and lettuce are also a rich and healthy source. Beta-Carotene is a safe source of Vitamin A and does not have its toxic effects. It is highly recommended to not use dietary supplements of Vitamin A and to avoid consuming liver during pregnancy.

7 Vitamins and Minerals for a Healthy First Trimester

Are you eating everything your baby needs at this early stage? We’ve prepared a list of vitamins and minerals that are essential for your health and for your baby’s development during the first trimester of pregnancy.

1. Folate

Folate, or folic acid, is of critical importance in stages like pregnancy or infancy, due to its significant aid to rapid cell division and cell growth. Folic acid is recommended during the preconception period – just before and after the moment of conception – as well as during the first trimester. Also known as Vitamin M or Vitamin B9, folate intake is important for preventing congenital malformations and is required in the formation of all bodily cells for both you and your baby.
Rich sources are leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, asparagus and turnip greens. Other folate-rich foods are bananas, avocado, broccoli and fortified grain products.

2. Vitamin D

Intake of Vitamin D increases the bioavailability of calcium. Also called the „sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D can be synthesized by the human body when exposed to sunlight, so enjoy sunny afternoons outdoors as often as possible. Your baby’s spinal cord and bones start developing during the first trimester. It is important to have plenty of Vitamin D during this period, as it helps with the calcification of foetal bones. Foods rich in Vitamin D are fortified milk products, mackerel, button mushrooms and Shiitake mushrooms. Don’t forget sun exposure!

3. Calcium

Calcium is essential in the formation of bones and teeth, as well as for other cellular processes. There is evidence indicating that deficit of maternal calcium can lead to hypertension and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are the most popular sources of calcium. Other calcium-rich foods include: sesame seeds, soy products (especially tofu), sardines, herring, almonds, flax seeds and Brazil nuts.

4. Iron

Iron intake contributes to the increase in maternal blood volume and is crucial for increasing the rate of haemoglobin. Red meat and poultry, lentils, beans, leaf vegetables, tofu and pumpkin seeds are particularly rich in iron. Iron found in meat, however, is absorbed more easily that the iron found in vegetables.

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin C prevents infections by increasing the immune response and contributes to the absorption of iron in the organism. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, these are the richest natural sources of Vitamin C. Green pepper, parsley, broccoli and kiwi are just a few of the most popular plants that are rich in Vitamin C.

6. Omega-3 (DHA)

DHA Omega-3 supports the normal development of the foetal brain, which already begins in the 5th week of pregnancy. There is also evidence that Omega-3 fatty acids might play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body. DHA Omega-3 is commonly found in marine oils. Sardines, salmon and halibut are a tasty and popular source, but you will also find Omega-3 in flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans and grass-fed beef.

7. Zinc

Zinc helps your body shield from infection and from contracting infectious diseases. Some evidence suggests that adequate levels of zinc in the organism help reduce the incidence of prolonged labour. This is especially beneficial since newborns of prolonged labour can be more agitated and cry more than others. Foods which are rich in zinc include beef, lamb, venison, turkey, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts and green peas. It is recommended to consume zinc rich foods such as seed and nuts in their raw form, where possible.

Keep in mind that you can obtain all these vitamins and minerals from eating natural foods, which is always a healthier option than taking supplements. It’s a good idea to listen to your cravings, yet try to eat a large variety of foods in moderate amounts. Don’t forget to spend time in the sunlight and relax.

A Yoga Teachers Birth Story; Sonia shares her Journey into Motherhood!

My Daughter, Mika Angelina was born on 30/12/12 at 1.28pm within 34 minutes of me arriving where I was to give birth. One day before her due date, she certainly does not get that punctuality from me!

 

My Birth Experience was surreal and to date, the most magical experience of my life. I hope this sharing serves to inspire you to step into your “Goddess Feminine” energy and embrace your Pregnancy to Birth Journey.

 

I had no idea I was actually in the final stage of labor when I walked into the foetal assessment unit at hospital.

 

My waters had broken earlier that Sunday morning and I had experienced some very mild period-like cramps. They were not strong enough for me to even look for paracetamol, let alone take any. We called our Doula, , and she arrived to find two very happy and excited parents-to-be.

 

“You’re both smiling so much” She laughed, “its amazing” We were, I was, and deliberately too, because I knew that the more I smiled the more natural endorphins I would release.

 

I forced myself to keep smiling the whole way through and it worked. The endorphins flowed so well, I did not know I was in labour, the strongest pain killer there is, made by our own bodies.

 

The doula suggested I sit in an easy Yogi cross-legged pose, and try sleep. She propped some pillows under my arms and I was very comfy.

I slept sitting in a lotus position on my sofa, half asleep & half lost in the visualizations I had practiced in Hypno-Birthing.

 

 

At 12pm, with my first big-ish contraction, we decided to head across the park to the hospital. Very aware that as a first baby, there was a risk of being sent home if we were not 4cm dilated. As you know, 10 cm means “Baby is Coming”. From 4cm to 10cm is the period known as “The Up Stage” of labor. This is when most people ask for pain killers, epidurals etc.

 

 

Within minutes of arriving at the hospital, they assessed the baby was actually crowning (which means I could have had her in the car) and I was already 10cm dilated and “Baby was Coming”. I had gone through the entire “Up Stage” of labor without feeling anything worthy of a paracetamol.

 

The race was on to rush me up to labour ward. I recall my husband, asking them to hurry up and fill the pool (I had wished for a water birth).

 

I heard the nurses telling him that it would take 15minutes to run the pool and we did not have 15 minutes. Still, he insisted. So, I had the comforting sound of water as the backdrop to my Mika’s birth.

 

When we arrived in the Labor Room, the active birth unit, I headed straight for a large bean bag over in the right corner and very organically moved myself into a sort of Yoga Cat position, laying over the it.

We had no time to get to get my hospital bag, which would have made even Mary Poppins proud.

 

I had everything in it, lotions, potions, music etc none of which made the party!

 

The midwife assigned to us introduced herself from behind me, “I haven’t seen your face yet” she said, “I’m Lucy”

 

This introduction was then followed by 4 big contractions and with each one, I tried to deeply relax and let nature take over. I breathed, I did not push. If I could explain what I did in a word, it would be “Allowed”. I just allowed it to unfold, no thinking, no controlling, simply being part of this great mystery of feminine being.

 

My Doula, thankfully, was by my side. Reminding me softly, that my body and baby knew exactly how to birth beautifully.

 

Mika greeted the world head first, with face still clothed in amniotic membrane. Known as “Born with a Caul”. As the rest of her little body was about to birth, the midwife told me to reach around and catch her, I did.

 

There are simply no words to describe this moment, this little life sitting in my arms. Ecstatic Loving Energy filled the room, surrounding us all in the miracle of life.

The midwife put Mika on my belly and straight away she crawled up and latched on. It felt like a wild life programme that I was both witness too, and part of.

It was a birth from heaven. Totally drug-free, not even a paracetamol and thankfully no tears.

 

I wholeheartedly attribute my birth experience to my Yoga Practice and Hypno-Birthing. I practised yoga everyday until the day she was born, I taught until I was 37weeks. I was on my mat the next day and that is no exaggeration.

 

I did not adjust my practice according to the pre-natal recommendations with regards to increased Elastin. Though, of course, I adjusted my practice to accommodate my belly!

 

This whole journey has made me more grateful for my yoga practice. I now teach Pre&Post-Natal Yoga in London and Hope to Inspire more woman to embrace their beautiful journey with curiosity, courage and excitement.

 

Mika is 21 weeks old and we are well into the new chapter of this book, and loving it.

 

If you would like to find out more about Pre/Post Natal Yoga Classes in London, you can contact me via the Baby Scan Clinic.

 

 

 

Fun ways to announce your pregnancy

Whether you just found out you’re pregnant or you’ve known for a few months, announcing your pregnancy to family and friends can be a lot of fun. Some may want to wait until a certain time during their pregnancy, while others want to call everyone immediately after finding out themselves.

Telling The Father – 

Have a romantic dinner for two with candle lights, it may be your last time for a while, between morning sickness and raising your little one. Serve up baby carrots, baby back ribs and anything else you can think as baby. At the end, pour apple juice instead of wine and hand him a present. Inside you can have a tiny baby bib that says, “I heart My Daddy” or a pair of baby booties.

If you can’t tell the father right away because he’s away on business, or deployed try sending him a care package. Inside the box place a few baby items, everything in blue and pink and a baby naming book in the center. Place a note on top of the book with, “I need a name soon, I’ll be here by June.” Or whenever the baby is due.

You can also see how long it takes him to figure it out. Go to the pound store and pick up a bunch of small baby items, a bib, rattle, bottle, booties, etc. For a week, leave an item laying around the house where he is bound to find them. At the end of the week if he hasn’t figured it out yet, prepare the big gift. Have a large teddy bear sitting at the dinner table in the seat beside him, make sure there is a bib wrapped around him and maybe a sign that says Hi Daddy.

Telling Family and Friends – 

Show up to a family gathering wearing a shirt that announces your state. These days there are a ton of shirts out there with clever sayings, “Baby on Board,” “A Bun in the Oven,” or something related to the pregnancy. The moment you walk in or take off your jacket everyone will figure it out without you ever having to say a word. Now, get ready for the tears and excitement. You’ll be answering a ton of questions.

If you already have children you may want to call the grandparents up and tell them that the next Christmas they may want to add one more to the list.

If this is the first grandchild, you may want to get a bracelet link for your mum that reads, “#1 Grandma” or grandparent t-shirts. This will not only be a great present for them but something they will cherish and love forever.

No matter when you spread the news it can be a lot of fun, just think creative and let the pieces fall. You may even want to try catching all of it on video, so think ahead and prepare for the BIG moment, and I’m not meaning the birth.

When does your baby’s life actually begin?

The life of your baby is teemed with “very first moments” which are equally important for both of you. We’ll try to capture here the most important ones, although each and every moment has its own particular importance and impact on both the mother and the child. So, whether you are a first-time parent or you’ve already had this wonderful experience, you’ll definitely enjoy our brief account.

Your baby’s first heartbeats are an essential moment in its life, and, at the same time, have both medical and emotional significance for the mum-to-be.

Basically, a baby’s heart begins to beat as early as 18th days after conception, but its heartbeats will already be visible on ultrasound by the time you are five or six weeks pregnant. Keep in mind that a baby’s heartbeat is very rapid, much faster than in adults. In fact, your baby’s heart beats at about 100 to 120 beats per minute, speeding up to about 160 to 180 beats per minute at 10 weeks! To see and hear your baby’s first heartbeats, all you have to do is to book an appointment for a baby scan by calling our clinic. The moment will be definitely unforgettable!

Your baby’s brain is formed at about six weeks after the conception, when the brainwaves can be detected (the first electrical brain activities have been recorded on EEG, not until the end of week 5 and into week 6, usually around forty to forty-three days). Some studies have shown that, starting from the ninth week of pregnancy babies experience rapid eye movements (REM), which are characteristic of active dream states.

During the sixth week of pregnancy, your baby moves for the first time. Although babies moves up to 50 times per hour (they kick, stretch, sometimes they even seem to swim and jump), the movements are not so intense and can often go unnoticed by the mother. However, these wonderful moments can be captured by an early baby scan.

The rapid growth of organs leads to a complete development of the baby’s lungs around the fourteenth week of pregnancy, although the baby will not breathe until its birth. The respiratory system is one of the most important systems of the human body so this point in time can also be considered one of the most significant first moments.

The sixth week of pregnancy

By the sixth week of pregnancy, the changes that occurred in both the mother and the unborn child are now visible. The mother is now fully aware that a new human being is growing fast inside her. The future mum’s lifestyle is highly important at this point since the following weeks are a very critical point in fetal development. Therefore, it is more important than ever to stay healthy and avoid smoking, alcohol, medication as well as any other toxic habits that can interfere with your baby’s early development.

Your baby is growing fast, reaching now the size of a small bean. Since its head is oversized and appears bigger than the rest of its body, the basic elements of its face can be distinguished. Your baby’ has now little limb buds that are starting to lengthen into shoulders, arms, hands, and even the beginnings of fingers, which are linked by a tiny membrane. The same happens with the little leg buds which are lengthening into thigh, leg, and foot parts.

Your baby’s heart beats at about 100 to 130 beats per minute, almost twice as fast as an adult’s heart. This means that blood has already begun to move through the main vessels. At this point, intestines as well as rudimentary bronchial buds start developing. The neural tube along the baby’s back is now closed and the cerebral development of the baby is in progress.

Due to the development of joints and first muscle tissues, your baby may experience its first movements by the end of this week. It is however too early to feel these movements, but if you are willing to see your baby’s “aware activity” inside your womb, we advise you to have a baby scan done, perhaps a 4D ultrasound to have a clearer image of your child-to-be, at our London clinic where our highly qualified personnel is more than pleased to assist you.

The digestive and respiratory systems are also developing. Therefore, this period is crucial for the baby’s future evolution. But how do these changes affect you? Definitely, your body undergoes more than just physical changes, so it’s better to know what to expect next.

First of all, you will gradually gain weight but this should not be a reason to worry about because the extra weight you gain during pregnancy provides nourishment to your developing baby, being also stored for breastfeeding your baby after delivery. You may also experience morning sickness, muscle cramps, fatigue, abdominal and pelvic discomfort. These symptoms are frequently similar to the premenstrual syndrome. However, keep in mind that women are different and so are the symptoms!

Mood swings are very common during the sixth week of pregnancy. You may experience extreme mood swings and can feel sad one day and joyful on the other. These fluctuations are normal because the levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone in your body change dramatically, and these changes have a significant effect on your brain’s chemistry.

This is the time to schedule your first prenatal checkup to see if everything is all right. Be optimistic and avoid stress as much as possible, because this period is one of the happiest moments in a woman’s life!