At week six of pregnancy, you’re probably feeling the toll of pregnancy symptoms or at least different. If you’re less than six weeks pregnant, look at our week 5 guide for info on your growing bump and changing body.
Although still a tiny, early life, your embryo is developing at an astonishing pace, growing a heart and several other organs from zero.
Many challenges and unfamiliar experiences are ahead as your body accommodates the budding embryo within.
Stick with us for week-by-week updates on your baby and the physical changes you’re going through. We’re here to answer all your questions about baby size, progress, what’s happening to your body, changes in the womb and more.
Here’s what to expect this week.
At a Glance: Week Six of Pregnancy
- Are you experiencing new symptoms every day? Welcome to pregnancy – it gets better.
- You might not be your best, but your baby’s developing well!
- Having doubled since last week, your baby’s measures five millimetres – about the size of a single grain of rice.
- Your baby’s simple tubular heart is becoming more complex, working hard and beating fast (about 110 RPM)!
- There are (even) more distinguishable facial features – cue ear lobes that look like cute dimples and the beginnings of a jawline!
- It’s a good news week for the brain- neural tubes are closing, and different sections of the brain are forming.
- The kidneys, liver and lungs are making their appearance and will soon contribute to your baby’s functioning.
- Your little one now boasts a translucent layer of skin covering its body.
- Pregnancy tip: being healthy and active might not be possible right now. Eat and move when you can and treat your symptoms.
Week Six of Pregnancy Overview
Your baby’s comfortably nestled in the well-named fetal position with its back curved, head bowed, and limbs bent and drawn into the torso. Either currently resembling a tadpole with a tail or a shrimp, he’s on his way to becoming a little human.
Your baby is rapidly growing many internal organs during a process called organogenesis, with a key focus on the heart. The blood-pumping organ beats fast and is quickly morphing into a four-chambered organ. By week ten, the heart becomes the first fully functional organ to develop.
Amid all this, hormones have taken over the body. Essential for growing your baby and creating the most nurturing environment for survival, hormones cause pregnancy symptoms that impact the mother. High levels of HCG, progesterone, oestrogen, and other key pregnancy hormones are swiftly rising, causing pregnancy ailments and discomforts. The worst of your symptoms will ease off once your hormones level off toward the end of the first trimester.
Baby Size and Latest Developments for Week Six of Pregnancy
Now the size of a grain of rice, your baby’s weight has multiplied significantly since fertilisation. And, since last week, this little embryo underwent a mini growth spurt, practically doubling in size. Measured from its crown to rump or top to bottom, it now stretches 5 millimetres in length.
During this stage, your embryo may undergo the following changes in development.
- Signs of early cardiac activity are present! Your baby’s minuscule heart beats approximately reps 110 per minute – that’s roughly akin to an adult’s active heart rate!
- The tubular-shaped heart is fast transforming into a four-chambered organ.
- The neural tubes should close this week, but your unborn child is at risk of developing a neural birth defect if they don’t close or develop properly.
- Once the neural tubes are shut, the brain separates into the midbrain, the front brain, and the hindbrain sections.
- Although bearing a tadpole shape and features, your little one is forming a human face, including a snout, jawline, and adorable ear dimples. It’s too early to hear sounds, but wait a few months, and the baby can pick up the mother’s heartbeat.
- From week five to week twelve, the kidneys develop quickly. Around 13 weeks, the baby can produce its own urine.
- The liver and lungs and a translucent layer of skin covering the embryo’s body have also started to develop.
- Over the next weeks, those stubby arm and leg buds with webbed hands and feet will grow into kissable, little limbs. A six-week ultrasound might show slight arm movements, but your baby starts properly wriggling about and making small kicks in a few weeks.
Because every pregnancy is unique, the above description generalises early embryonic development. Variations in the timing of milestones can occur.
Body Changes for Week Six of Pregnancy
While to onlookers, you might look the same or appear a little more tired, by week six, you might feel a broad range of unpredictable symptoms.
Courtesy of the potent mix of pregnancy hormones charging through your body, these symptoms might range from mildly unsettling to feeling run over.
Ranging from universal to downright strange – here’s a diverse roundup of everything you might experience. The question of when you’ll find relief is hard to answer because pregnancy symptoms vary widely among women. They might come and go throughout the pregnancy, disappear once pregnancy hormones settle or stick around for the long haul.
It’s important to note that all pregnancies are unique. The timing and experiences of pregnancy symptoms may vary.
1. Morning Sickness
Next to fatigue, the majority of pregnant women experience morning sickness. While the exact cause is unknown, it can be attributed to the climbing levels of HCG, the infamous but all-important pregnancy hormone.
The challenging part about morning sickness is that it is notoriously unpredictable; not sticking to a schedule. A wave of nausea could hit in the middle of the night as you sleep or during a business meeting.
The most aggressive form of morning sickness and vomiting, hyperemesis gravidarum, is fortunately rare, affecting up to 10.8% of pregnant women. This condition can leave you bedridden, hospitalised, or seriously ill for most of your pregnancy.
Are you knackered despite sleeping, eating, hydrating and prioritising self-care? Feeling extremely tired is par for the course of being pregnant. Most of your energy gets zapped by your growing baby.
Most of us have experienced the profoundly uncomfortable feeling of heartburn after having a particularly spicy meal or overeating. It might become an all too familiar occurrence for women throughout pregnancy. But why?
Pregnancy hormones force your joints, muscles and ligaments to relax and loosen during pregnancy. This includes the muscles separating the stomach from the start of the oesophagus. When they function normally, these bands of muscles called the lower oesophagal sphincter open to allow food and drink to enter and close to prevent stomach acid from escaping into the oesophagus. With these muscles relaxed during pregnancy, they often don’t fully close, allowing stomach juices to flow back up and cause heartburn.
4. You’re Not Imagining It – You’re Peeing A Lot!
Along with morning sickness, your bladder will have you running to the toilet. Around this time, more blood and fluids pass through your body, so be sure to have a vacant loo close by.
6. Food Aversions
At six weeks of pregnancy, eating might take a turn, surviving on dry crackers rather than indulging in your favourites. The food you once enjoyed might make you nauseous or be off-putting! These aversions could be anything from dairy to meat, greasy takeout or spicy curries.
Bloating is a prevalent sign of early pregnancy, caused by progesterone slowing digestion to nourish your baby. Signs that you’re bloated include having a full belly and feeling extremely uncomfortable. Bloating also leads to trapped gas, so you might experience increased flatulence and burping.
In addition, you could be constipated for similar reasons. Fortunately, there are various ways to relieve constipation if you’re feeling blocked up.
6. You’re Breaking Out Like an Adolescent
Reminiscent of your acne-riddled adolescent days, you might be breaking out. “Bacne” or “back acne” is commonly experienced by pregnant moms. Again – hormones are to blame, but your angry skin will eventually clear up.
7. You’re Salivating?
Though you might not have an appetite, to your horror, you find yourself drooling excessively like your food-obsessed pooch as he watches you eat. But unlike your precious pet, this isn’t a hunger response. Instead, your mouth produces extra saliva to protect your teeth and throat against corrosive stomach acids if you throw up or have acid reflux.
8. Changes to Organs
You do not appear much different on the outside, but some changes are occurring internally to support your pregnancy. By week six, your uterus has already expanded and softened to accommodate your baby’s housing requirements.
Your bathroom needs are influenced by the positioning of your growing uterus, which sits atop the bladder. This reduces the bladder’s capacity to hold large amounts of urine.
Concurrently, your kidneys are also transforming to become more efficient at waste disposal. This function is essential, considering the increased blood and fluids in your body, but it also means you’ll need to use the toilet more.
Week Six of Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
Six weeks into your pregnancy, your baby’s growing organs and body systems, making your lifestyle choices and changes crucial for normal fetal development. You may know the drill about not smoking, drinking or eating seafood with a high mercury count. Additionally, you’ll understand that maintaining a healthy diet high in protein, calcium, and iron is equally essential. Don’t forget to take those essential prenatal vitamins – they reduce the risk of neural tube defects and meet the pregnancy requirements for nutrition!
With so much information to digest, it’s understandable the pressure you feel to be healthy. If you’re already overwhelmed, let’s shift our focus on how to relieve the worst symptoms for pregnancy week six, making life better for the mommy-to-be.
1. Coping with Morning Sickness
We’ve mentioned basic ways to improve morning sickness, which include the following
- Smaller, bland meals
- Consuming, sniffing or drinking ginger
- Sipping broth
- Nibbling crackers
- Choosing cold food over hot meals.
- Learning about your trigger foods
- Asking others to prepare meals on your behalf.
- Hydration, especially if you’re vomiting and losing fluids
Are there other tricks for relieving nausea if the above options don’t work?
Drink, Suck or Sniff Peppermint
Like ginger, peppermint naturally alleviates nausea. Take small sips of peppermint tea or chew peppermint-flavoured gum. If you’re prone to gagging, breathe peppermint-scented essential oils to reduce morning sickness.
Diversify Your Carbs
The problem with having too many crackers during pregnancy is that you might associate them with feeling ill. If you don’t want to ruin this carb for the future, try diversifying your carbs. Anything plain works – such as unbuttered toast, rice cakes, and rice crispies.
Have a Snack With Your Prenatal Vitamins
A not so fun fact: prenatal vitamins can offset nausea. It makes sense, considering they’re crammed with numerous minerals and vitamins your body needs. To minimise the chance of bringing them back up, remember to have a snack before you take your pills.
Suck on Sweets
While your dentist might not love this advice, sucking a sweet can ease nausea and replace that sour taste of vomiting with something more pleasant.
2. How to Battle Fatigue
Fatigue is an unrelenting beast during pregnancy, but what can you do about it? Cat naps help, but if you work full-time or from the office, your colleagues might not appreciate you sleeping through a meeting, especially if your pregnancy’s still a secret. So what’s a tired mom-to-be to do?
If midweek siestas aren’t an option, here are some doable alternatives to provide you with more energy.
Make Smart Food Choices
Consume small amounts of nutrient-dense and protein-rich food and drink – like spoonfuls of yoghurt or peanut butter, glasses of milk, and chicken breast for revitalisation.
Avoid Quick Fixes
Having a sugary treat might make you happy and energetic initially, but be prepared for the crash later. At the same time, while energy drinks can revitalise you, they contain too much caffeine for a pregnant person to consume safely.
Not drinking enough could exacerbate your fatigue. You’ll wind up feeling weak and tired if you’re low on fluids. Top tip, not just for pregnant women but everyone: don’t wait until you’re thirsty to have a drink because you’re closer to becoming dehydrated by then. Remember to replenish your fluids throughout the day! While there are several pregnancy-friendly beverages you can drink (and food with a high water content), make your default drink water.
Eat Every Couple of Hours
Eating regularly might seem impossible, but you need the fuel to restore your dwindling energy levels. These can be mini meals or snacks if you can’t stomach a full meal. Even if you wake up feeling horrible, start your morning with a simple, easy-on-the-stomach breakfast.
Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re exhausted. But instead of bee-lining your way to your bed or the couch when you get home, go for a short walk instead. Exercise releases endorphins, those “feel-good chemicals” that boost your mood and help keep lethargy at bay.
4. Tips for Frequent Urination
So you’re urinating on the hour, every hour. Is there anything you can do to stop needing the toilet so often? The short and definitive answer is no. During pregnancy, you should frequently use the facilities; if you’re not, you need to start drinking more. Drinking less to reduce your daily toilet breaks poses health risks for your unborn child. You need to keep sufficiently hydrated and replenish your fluids throughout the day.
However, changing how you sit on the toilet can help you empty your bladder properly. Lean forward as you urinate, exerting pressure on the bladder so there’s no excess urine remaining.
5. Reducing Heartburn
Pregnancy heartburn can be a truly hellish experience. Here’s what you can do to relieve the symptoms.
- Eat smaller meals broken up throughout the day.
- Don’t eat within three hours of going to bed.
- Elevate yourself when you sleep.
- Try pregnancy-safe, over-the-counter antacids. Get advice from your doctor first.
Do I Need an Ultrasound During Week Six of Pregnancy?
Week six is the earliest possible time for an ultrasound if you have a high-risk pregnancy or previously experienced pregnancy loss or fertility issues. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting at least one or two more weeks.
This checkup involves more than an ultrasound. It’s a lengthy appointment where you’ll undergo several health assessments, be asked many questions about your medical history, and have the chance to raise your own concerns and questions.
Here’s what to expect during your first prenatal appointment
Your checkup involves the following
- A determination of your due date and an assessment of how many weeks pregnant you are.
- A full physical, which includes breast and pelvic exams and weight and blood pressure checks.
- Blood tests, scanning for various infections, disorders and diseases.
- Urine sample to rule out bladder and kidney problems.
- Questions about your family medical history, including chronic and hereditary health conditions like diabetes or heart problems. Divulge all the details and answer honestly.
Here’s what the first ultrasound entails
Your first ultrasound occurs during your week-six prenatal appointment, but it might also be scheduled for another time if, for example, your baby’s heartbeat isn’t visible. If this happens, there’s usually nothing to worry about – you might have misjudged how far along you are, or it’s simply too early for accurate detection.
The purpose of an ultrasound is to check your unborn baby’s health, growth and development by monitoring the heartbeat and measuring the fetus from the crown to the rump.
An ultrasound also reveals how many children you’re carrying. A pregnancy is considered a multiple if there’s more than one embryo in your uterus.
You won’t see much detail on this ultrasound, so we ask you to manage your expectations. You might observe the following:
- The gestational sac, which appears on the screen as a black oval circle – dark because it’s filled with fluid.
- The yolk sac, which looks like a white disk inside the gestational sac.
- The fetal pole or embryo is a thick white shape attached to the yolk sac.
Fun Facts for Pregnancy Week Six
- Your baby’s heart, which is in the early stages of development, will beat approximately 54 billion times before birth.
- Pregnancy brain is a real phenomenon, affecting people at different times during pregnancy. While its exact cause is unknown, several factors come into play -like your environment, stress, hormones and fatigue.
Week Six of Pregnancy Checklist
- It’s nearly time for your first prenatal appointment – book one if you haven’t already!
- Manage your pregnancy symptoms with our tips.
- Stay hydrated, keep active, and make smart food choices.
- Skip ahead to week seven for the latest info!