Six weeks is still the first trimester (1.5 months of pregnancy)
You finally start to realize that this whole PREGNANCY THING is REAL!
It can be ultimately exciting and scary, all at once!
It is time to share the news with your partner, if not done yet! You will need lots of support, as you might start to feel tired/fatigued and unwell with morning sickness and hormone-driven mood swings.
Week 6: How is your baby doing now:
The most important change in your tiny baby is the forming of the future spinal cord from the neural tube.
The baby will start growing the basic structures forming his/her arms and legs.
Also, by this week your baby will form special folds of tissue in the prominent bump on top, which will later turn into eyes and ears, as well as the face: nose, cheeks, mouth, chin, internal ear, earlobes.
Your little one is rapidly developing his/her brain and nervous system, kidneys, liver and lungs.
Week 6: What your Baby looks like on an Obstetrical Ultrasound:
By the sixth week the fetal size (crown-to-rump) is about 5 mm – the size of a grain of rice.
The measurement is taken from the crown to the rump.
Your baby still looks a bit disproportional: the head is too big for the tiny body.
It has two visible small folds that will turn into a face and a jaw.
The little one will start to form the facial features: eyes and nose, and earlobes.
The body has symmetrical little outgrowths that will become the arms and the legs.
The ultrasound can already detect the fetal heartbeat (around 100 – 110 beats per minute).
Week 6: Your Body changes:
- You are probably experiencing the same symptoms as a week before, but they are more pronounced. Fatigue, low energy, nausea, sensitivity to smells and sometimes – vomiting. A possibly miserable reality, but remember it is temporary!
- The morning sickness can start to get worse. Usually the symptoms subside significantly by weeks 12-20 of pregnancy, but in some cases, symptoms can persist until the end of pregnancy. Some women do not experience morning sickness at all. There is nothing you can do to prevent the development of this unpleasant side effect of early pregnancy, as the exact cause of it is not known. One of the theories is that the nausea and vomiting are caused by a rapid rise in blood levels of the pregnancy hormone – human chorionic gonadotropin (bHCG).
- You might start to feel hungry all the time. You also might start to crave very specific foods: meat, fish, cheese, ice, specific fruits or even some products that you never liked before. If you notice cravings for specifically non-food items, speak with your doctor about a condition called Pica, which is more common in pregnancy and could be a sign of iron deficiency.
- Your breasts will start to grow and the nipples could become very sensitive. Change in colour with darkening of the areolas can also occur. You might see lots of blue veins on your breasts.
- You may notice increased vaginal discharge, usually due to normal hormonal changes and a shift in the acid-base balance in vagina. These can alter the vaginal flora however, increasing the risk of vaginal infections (when in doubt – consult with your doctor).
- You might notice mood swings or disproportionate reactions to situations that may not have bothered you before. Maintain open communication with your support system, it’s ok to ask for help in this time!
- One of the biggest fears at this stage is the possibility of the miscarriage. Some women are afraid to go to the washroom due to this fear. You are not alone in your concerns – speak with your loved ones, your doctor, seek out online support groups/forums – the resources are there for you!
Week 6: Tips to you
- Here are a few tips to deal with what is medically called “Hyperemesis Gravidarum” before talking to your doctor:
- Morning sickness can happen to you at any time, but usually is worst when you first wake up. Keep a low-salt snack (like soda crackers or croutons) at the night table and eat it upon waking up.
- Try to eat small but frequent meals (6-7/day). Treat yourself with your favourite foods – whatever it takes to keep the calories in. Keep a few snacks available right away – crackers, cookies, juices, fruits, water. We have to make sure you are not losing too much weight and drink enough to prevent dehydration and possible fainting.
- Small frequent meals will also help with acid reflux (GERD) or heartburn that can increase during pregnancy, worsening nausea on top of causing discomfort on its own. After eating, stay upright (not lying down) for 2-3 hours. This can make for a night-and-day difference in acid reflux symptoms!
- Drink lots of water (sparkling water usually helps)
- Try some forms of ginger (fresh ginger with lemon water, crystallised, ginger tea, ginger ale).
- Try acupressure wristbands that are used for sea sickness.
- You have to let yourself REST a lot!
- Some foods should be COMPLETLEY AVOIDED: unprocessed cheeses, raw meats and fish, including sushi, shellfish. Beyond increased nausea risk, these can cause dangerous bacterial infections during pregnancy.
- Start your day with a healthy breakfast. This can prevent you from craving high fat and sugar foods and decrease unhealthy snacking between meals. You will be hungrier than usual, but an “eat for two” mentality is unnecessary – only in the third trimester will you need an extra 200-250 calories/day.
- Cut on salt consumption – it can raise your BP and worsen your swelling (feet swelling is common, make to elevate throughout the day, if you notice any asymmetrical swelling where one leg is larger than the other, inform your doctor right away).
- Increase your dairy consumption to keep up with the calcium requirement and other nutrients (skimmed milk, low-fat yogurt and hard cheese).
- Aim for 4-6 portions of fruits and vegetables a day, try to avoid anything too salty (always check sodium content on frozen/canned/pre-prepared products) or with added sugars.
- You have to contact your doctor right away if you feel weak, dizzy, have vomiting with each meal or drink (especially urgent if cannot keep water down), developing moderate to severe headaches, having a dry mouth and eyes, decreased urine voiding or any fainting spells.
- Keep containers with lids within reach (in the car, at work place, at home) in case you feel an immediate need to vomit. Make sure the lids are easily removable. Do not feel embarrassed if you vomit somewhere in public – this happens to a lot of pregnant women!
- If your vaginal discharge is significantly increased, has a new sour or fishy odour or is making you very itchy/inflamed – please consult with your doctor, as you may have a vaginal infection (increased risk during pregnancy).
- Remember it is VERY normal to be VERY emotional! Try to deal with your worries and concerns in a healthy way – WITHOUT the use of alcohol, cigarettes or narcotics.
- • This is a very important developmental week for your baby – try to avoid contact with any toxins and chemicals. Do not expose yourself to X-Rays and CT scans (sources of radiation), unless it is absolutely necessary. Try to avoid ANY and ALL risky behaviours!
- Quit smoking (if not yesterday, then today) – second hand smoking is EXTREMELY harmful for your partner and unborn child! Give your baby a chance for a healthy start to life!
- Cut down on alcohol, pregnancy can come with emergency situations at any stage of the process. Stay ready to respond and support! This is a team-based process!
- Remember that your partner is going through a lot of changes, including the hormonal ups and downs – be patient and supportive, the shared end goal is more than worth it.
- Educate yourself – read, attend Prenatal classes, learn about the birth process