How long was the longest pregnancy ever recorded? – And other fun facts
Although you may be feeling sick and, frankly, pretty rubbish, week 7 of pregnancy brings with it the good news that you’re storming through the first trimester.
Your tiny embryo is now about half an inch long and all sorts of exciting changes are taking place in her developing body. This week, one mother tells us how she supported her sister through the nausea and fatigue of early pregnancy.
Week by week…early pregnancy can be a grind
By week 7 of pregnancy, I could tell that my sister was struggling. Having had two children myself, I knew all of the telltale signs. She spent the majority of her time on the sofa and barely moved all day. She said even lifting her head up made her think she was going to vomit.
Her baby by then only measured about the size of a blueberry, 0.5in crown to rump length, and it’s very strange to think that such a tiny thing could be causing all of these unpleasant symptoms. Poor girl, she could only stomach weak tea and crunchy raw carrots. Occasionally she would suck on an ice cube, but she said even the feeling of holding that in her mouth sometimes made her sick.
I explained that it was a case of swings and roundabouts and that really, all she could do was experiment to find what worked for her. It’s still a pretty miserable time though.
There’s not much that anyone can really do if you’re suffering badly from morning sickness or tiredness or feeling overly hormonal and tearful, but I thought I’d try to cheer her up with some bizarre pregnancy facts. That way, even if she wasn’t having a brilliant time, she could still be grateful to learn the fact that she wasn’t likely to be pregnant for a more than a year. Yes, that actually happened; the longest pregnancy ever recorded was one year and ten days long. I can’t imagine how frustrated that poor mother would have been. She must have thought the baby was stuck in there forever!
Pregnancy fun facts that your pregnant sister, friend, daughter may (or may not!) appreciate
- During pregnancy, your uterus stretches to around 500 times its normal size. That’s like going from an apple to a watermelon. You know that bit in Dirty Dancing where Baby says “I carried a watermelon”? Well, by the third trimester, that will be you. Every day.
- And it’s not just your insides that are growing, because of water retention and extra fluid, it’s perfectly possible for your feet to expand up to a whole size bigger. Now if that’s not a perfect excuse for shoe shopping then I don’t know what is!
- Humans, rabbits, dogs, pigs….as mature adults we all end up looking VERY different. But we all started from exactly the same size tiny egg, measuring just 0.2mm.
- If you are tall or overweight then you’re more likely to have a multiple pregnancy (carrying two or more babies in your uterus). A bizarre, and yet totally true, example of contents expanding to meet capacity.
- Your body is clever. That heightened sense of smell that pregnant women have? It’s designed to steer expectant mothers away from bad food which may harm their baby.
- By the time you are 12 weeks pregnant, your baby has already developed her own, unique, fingerprints.
- The average size of newborns is increasing. One recent baby came in at an eye-watering 15lb 7oz.
- New mothers and pregnant women often respond to the sound of a baby crying (not necessarily their own) by lactating. A mother’s instinct is a deep, true, powerful thing.
- The amniotic fluid that your baby lives in for nine months is actually mostly made up of sterile urine. From the second trimester onwards, she will be drinking the fluid and then weeing, and then drinking the fluid and then weeing, and then drinking the fluid……..you get the picture.
- And finally, if we ever needed proof that women are more organised than men, then this must surely be it – girls are born with all of the eggs that they will ever need, but boys don’t start producing sperm until years later when they hit puberty.
These facts, mostly, made my sister smile and she spent a lot of time googling and reading around the subjects. Afterwards, she explained that learning new things had shown her what a wide concept pregnancy is, and how our bodies are set up to cope with it. “I stopped focussing on feeling so sick and instead felt pretty lucky that I had such a good support system in place. Not just friends and family but all the medical professionals that I had access to. Going through pregnancy without those would be terribly hard.”
So yes, at week 7 as you go through pregnancy week by week, you may be feeling rubbish, but your body is doing what it’s designed to do and, by thinking ahead to future weeks and months, you will hopefully gain more perspective on the pregnancy as a whole.
This really is just one stage – and it too, shall pass.