Baby Growth at 6 Weeks
Your baby is growing at an incredible rate but is still teeny tiny; the size of a pea or the head of a thumb tack and just 1/5 of an inch from head to rump. The good news is your baby looking more like a baby! There’s a lot going on with their head this week. Their cheeks, chin, and jaw are forming and will soon fill your world with their little smiles.
Their smile isn’t the only piece of their face in the works! The dark spots on their little face are where the eyes and nostrils will form along with little divots in the side of their head for their ears.
Your baby’s heart is certainly beating by week 6, and believe it or not, twice as fast as your heart beats! Their little heart is clocking in around 120 beats per minute. If you’re meeting with your doctor in week 8, they’ll do a transvaginal ultrasound to check-in on your babe where you can see and hear the heartbeat. If you aren’t meeting with them until week 10 then you’ll be able to hear the heartbeat on your doctor’s fetal doppler, and what a sweet sound it will be!
Little arms and legs are forming and will look like little paddles that eventually develop into their limbs. While your baby still has a tail that their backbone has extended into, the bone that extends below disappears in a few weeks and they’ll lose their ‘tail’. When you’re in for an ultrasound, they measure the baby from ‘head to rump’ since their legs are curled up for the remainder of your pregnancy, and therefore difficult to measure.
You and Your Body at 6 Weeks
Your body looks about the same but your symptoms may begin to be a constant reminder that you are pregnant.
For now, you’re likely experiencing bloating (break out the elastic waistbands) thanks to circulating pregnancy hormones and your blood volume beginning to increase. You’ll also experience tender and swollen breasts as pregnancy hormones flood your body. Not only is there increased blood flow to your breasts, but pregnancy hormones stimulate the milk-producing glands in your breasts, causing them to feel more full. You won’t leak milk anytime soon, but your body is preparing for you to sustain your baby after it is born.
Needing a nap? Your body is doing some serious work and you may feel more tired than you ever have before. You are on overdrive, creating blood to sustain your baby and building the foundation for your little babe’s future. If you are able, rest when you can. This fatigue won’t last forever but is quite debilitating for many women in the first trimester.
Typical Symptoms at 6 Weeks Pregnancy
One very common symptom is the need to urinate frequently. No, your uterus hasn’t grown overnight but rather your hormones create an increased blood supply to your pelvis, giving you the urge to run to the potty more often.
Heartburn may begin for you. This is not because your big bump is pushing your belly up into your stomach causing heartburn, but rather the hormone progesterone relaxes your lower esophageal sphincter, which allows more acid to reflux up out of the stomach and irritate your lower esophagus. Ouch!
Do you taste pennies? Some women notice a metallic or coppery taste in the mouth when estrogen levels pick up. If this is you, sip on lemon water or keep mints handy to combat the pesky taste as your body gets used to this hormonal surge.
Headaches are a not-so-fun piece of early pregnancy but can occur at any time throughout pregnancy. Many women report headaches improving in the second trimester. Headaches later in pregnancy can be a sign of serious health complications and it’s important to communicate with your doctor should one come on suddenly. Headaches also are common in women who cut back on caffeine. Remember you can still have 200mg of caffeine daily – about one cup – so if you’ve gone cold turkey and have headaches, you may want to wean off more slowly.
Other symptoms you may experience:
- Morning sickness/ nausea
- Food aversions/ smell sensitivity
- Larger, darker nipples
Pregnancy Week 6 Tips and Advice
If you suffer from headaches, do your best to stay away from common triggers such as additives in processed foods (MSG and nitrates, we are looking at you!), even chocolate, or certain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Make sure you drink plenty of filtered water and add electrolytes or trace minerals back into your water to absorb the fluids fully. If you’re really uncomfortable, stay away from aspirin and ibuprofen as they are less safe in pregnancy and should only be taken if approved by your healthcare professional. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used in a pinch but it’s best to stay drug-free as often as you can.
Lean forward on the potty to make sure you’re emptying every last drop of urine on your many trips to the restroom! By leaning forward, you expel all of the fluid from your bladder. As your belly grows, you can squeeze out a few extra drops by lifting the weight of your uterus off of your bladder while seated on your toilet.
Don't decrease your fluid intake. You may want to drink less to avoid the bathroom, but your body needs all the fluids it can get. Plus, we want to avoid any dehydration or dizziness, so keep the fluids coming all day. Just think of your little trips to the restroom as a work break or a chance to move your body.
Nauseated? You aren’t alone! Keeping your protein intake nice and consistent, eating mini-meals every few hours, and taking your prenatal vitamins with food (not an empty stomach) can help keep ‘the queasies’ at bay! Some women find citrus to be more nausea-relieving than peppermint, which can actually worsen heartburn. So say ‘yes’ to sipping some warm lemon water all day long.
Hang in there mama, symptoms are ramping up but so is the growth of your baby and the best part? You’re already halfway through the first trimester!