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7 WEEKS, 3 DAYS

228 days to go...

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ultrasound of human embryo at 7 weeks and 3 days

Your baby today

At this stage, the embryo's "tail," shown curving up on the left, is starting to disappear. The somites of this area of the musculoskeletal system will eventually form the four fused bones of your baby's coccyx-the lowest part of the spine.

Even if you're happy about having a baby, it's natural to have mixed emotions at times.

Your emotions may fluctuate-one minute you're laughing and the next you're irritable and yelling, or crying. You might be confused that at a time when you should be happy, you often feel tense and tearful. Be reassured that this is a normal and temporary part of pregnancy.

Don't be too hard on yourself since these changing moods are caused mainly by pregnancy hormones, which is something out of your control. They are the same hormones that cause the symptoms of PMS-rapid mood swings, crying, and irritability-that you might have experienced before.

Be kind to yourself during these down times and do what works best for you, whether it's taking time out to be alone or sharing your feelings with others.

Focus On... Safety

Protect yourself

Toxoplasmosis is a disorder caused by a parasite that can harm a developing fetus. The symptoms may resemble those of mononucleosis with a fever and/or swollen glands in the neck.

It can be spread through cat feces. However, it can also be spread from undercooked meat. Thus, in addition to avoiding changing cat litter, use some caution in the kitchen. Beef, pork, and lamb need to be cooked well. Avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen when preparing foods. Be certain to clean chopping boards and utensils well with hot soapy water after preparing meat.

emotional pregnant woman

When you're having a down day, remember that these negative feelings will pass; mood swings are a normal part of pregnancy.

As A Matter Of Fact

Up to 70 percent of pregnant women sometimes have symptoms of depression.

While one woman hardly has any mood swings, another could suffer for weeks, especially in the first trimester.

Ask A... Doctor

I'm struggling to deal with my wife's mood swings. Are these normal?

Yes, your partner will be emotional and all you can do is be as supportive, patient, and understanding as you can.

At this early stage of pregnancy, her changing hormone levels may cause mood swings and unexpected emotional responses. Sometimes things that have never been a problem, such as hearing a particular piece of music, might make her cry, or she may snap at you over something trivial. With her emotions out of kilter, she's likely to be as frustrated and confused by this behavior as you are. Until it passes, just bide your time, bite your tongue, and give her a hug.

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