Understanding your pregnancy: Week 6

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 6

A quick snapshot

By the time you are 6 weeks pregnant, your baby can officially be measured. The average size of a 6-week old baby is 5-6 mm. Their head is still very large in relation to their body but already little folds can be seen in what is becoming their face and jaw. On the side of their body, small bud-like lumps will eventually become their arms and legs. There are small cavities forming on either side of the head which will be their ear canals. Even the baby's facial features are at the earliest stage of development with their eyes and nose beginning to form. Although all of this activity is going on, it's still not obvious to anyone but yourself that you are pregnant.

What’s changing in your body

  • You are probably feeling the same symptoms as you did last week, only more so. Even more nausea, more sensitivity to smells, more tiredness and just generally feeling low on energy.
  • You are either feeling sick a lot of the time or starving. Some women start having food cravings at this early stage and long for foods which normally they wouldn't even think about.
  • Your breasts and nipples may be even more sensitive. You could have a bluish colouration in your breasts from the engorgement of your veins, your breasts may be increasing in size at a rapid rate and your nipples may be getting darker.
  • You may notice more vaginal discharge. If it is excessive, causing you to itch or has an odd smell, check with your GP. Yeast infections are common in pregnancy.
  • You may feel as if you need to swallow a lot more. Some pregnant women experience more saliva production and constantly have to swallow to deal with it. This is normal and will settle as the weeks progress.
  • Some women complain of headaches from around week 6 of their pregnancy. Try not to take medication and aim for simple remedies like lying down, eating something healthy, boosting your fluid intake or having a warm shower. A head and scalp massage can be very effective.

How your emotions are affected

  • This can be an interesting time emotionally for many women. The reality of their pregnancy is sinking in and so is the realisation of needing to give up some usual pleasures.
  • You may still be feeling a bit apprehensive every time you go to the bathroom. Although your period is a couple of weeks overdue and you have confirmed you are pregnant, you may still be worried about miscarrying. This is a common worry, especially in the first trimester. You may be bursting to share your news but are reluctant to in case you miscarry. Speak with your partner about when will be the right time for you both to tell the world.

How your baby is growing

7

  • This week your baby looks like a little tadpole. All head, little body and small buds where the legs will be.
  • Your baby's heartbeat can be seen on a vaginal ultrasound and if counted, would be beating at around 80BPM.
  • Important internal organs are forming in your baby. Space is being made for their liver, kidneys and lungs. No wonder you're feeling tired, so much of your energy is going into growing your baby.
  • This is the week when your baby's jaw, chin and cheeks start to form.

Tips for the week

  • Carry lots of snacks with you in your bag. Dry salted crackers, sweet biscuits, crystallised ginger, sour plums and water can be essential for coping with pregnancy nausea.
  • Don't forget to keep an ice-cream container (with the lid) in the car if you're prone to vomiting.
  • Avoid any toxins, chemicals, drugs, X-rays, alcohol or generally risky behaviours in this week. Week 6 is an important time for embryonic changes and development.
  • Don't worry if you've actually lost weight in Week 6. Nausea and vomiting can lead to weight loss and there will be plenty of time for you to gain weight and grow bigger in the coming weeks.