Pregnancy week 7
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    Most women discover they are pregnant around week seven. It's amazing to realise to what extent the foetus has already begun to form at this early stage...


    Your baby


    Even though it weighs less than an aspirin and is only about 1.2cm in length, your baby's tiny body now contains the beginnings of all its essential organs. Elbows and toes are more visible and facial features including ears, mouth and eyes are starting to appear.


    Between weeks 6 and 10, your baby's brain waves become detectable, their fingers and fingernails develop, teeth begin to form and baby begins to kick and move his head.


    Your body


    This week is a perfect time to begin enjoying afternoon naps or breaks, early bed-times, prenatal pilates and relaxation techniques, Master the art of napping; even 20 minutes can give you an energy boost. And remember, the sleepies usually ease after the first trimester.


    Warm baths are good too, although make sure that the water isn't hot and avoid Jacuzzis, saunas and hot tubs throughout the duration of your pregnancy - raising your internal body temperature above 38°C isn't good for your foetus' neural development.


    Tip of the week


    Focus on your dental care:


    It might seem an odd connection, but pregnancy's surging hormones will influence your dental health - and in turn, how you maintain your teeth and gums affects the health of your baby, both during pregnancy and after birth. 50 to 70% of expectant mums experience the swollen, red, tender and bleeding gums known as pregnancy gingivitis - which is not caused, but rather aggravated by pregnancy.


    A woman with severe gum infection is seven times or more likely to have a premature or underweight baby. And after birth, your baby can "catch" tooth decay from you or other adults in close contact whose mouths contain the bacterium that causes dental cavities.


    A few tips for pregnancy dental care:


    Have a regular cleaning, get the necessary X-rays and treat any dental problems before you fall pregnant


    If you didn't have a dental check-up and cleaning shortly before conceiving, do it in the first trimester, but be sure to tell your dentist that you're expecting


    Avoid X-rays unless absolutely necessary - a connection has been found between dental X-rays during pregnancy and the delivery of low birth-weight babies at full term.


    Brush in the morning and at night, paying special attention to the gum line and using a fluoride toothpaste.


    Floss at least once a day


    Consider using a gum stimulator or anti-plaque mouth-wash.


    For more information on oral health, visit www.perio.org

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