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6 WEEKS, 6 DAYS

232 days to go...

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heart of human embryo at 6 weeks and 6 days

Your baby today

At this stage of your baby's development, the heart is a tubular structure, visible in the center of this image. It is, however, already providing your baby with a very simple circulation.

What will become your baby's tiny arms and legs are beginning to develop during this seventh week of pregnancy.

It's still some weeks before your baby-still an embryo-will become recognizable as a human fetus. At the end of this seventh week, however, there are four simple limb buds, each slightly flattened at the end where, over the next two weeks, a hand or foot will form.

With the exception of muscle tone, which comes much later on, all stages of your baby's upper limb development precede any developments in his lower limbs.

The eyes are the first recognizable landmarks to form on the face. At this stage, the eyes consist of two simple surface indentations, which then develop a second indentation within the first; the inner one will become the lens and the outer the eyeball. Your baby's eyes are wide apart at this stage and his ears and nose have yet to form.

Focus On... Nutrition

Know your fish

Fish is packed with essential nutrients that are good for your baby's development, so try to eat at least two portions a week.

You do, however, need to be careful of consuming high levels of mercury, present in trace amounts in nearly all fish and shellfish, since it can harm an unborn baby's nervous system. The FDA and the EPA recommend the following for pregnant women:

  • Don't eat fish that are highest in mercury, including shark and swordfish.
  • Eat up to 12 ounces per week of lower-mercury seafood like shrimp, salmon, pollock, catfish, and canned light tuna.
  • For fish caught locally check local advisories regarding mercury content. If no guidance is available, eat up to 6 ounces and consume no other fish that week.

Ask A... Doctor

Can exercising increase the risk of miscarriage?

There is no evidence to suggest that, as long as you're healthy and have been given the all-clear from your doctor, exercise will put you at a greater risk of having a miscarriage. In fact, the benefits of getting regular moderate exercise while you're pregnant far outweigh the risks to you and your baby.

The most important factors at this stage of your pregnancy are to exercise at the same level you did prior to being pregnant. Do not attempt any new high-impact and strenuous activity or take up a new sport. Follow these guidelines.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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