If you haven't already done a pregnancy test, this is the time. You can buy pregnancy urine tests from the supermarket or chemist which are almost just as accurate as the ones used in doctor's surgeries.
By the time you are 6 weeks pregnant, the baby can officially be measured. Although it makes sense to measure their length from the top of the head to their feet, this is too inaccurate. Even at the tender age of 6 weeks, the baby is curled up and bending what will eventually become their legs. It is standard practice, when measuring a baby through ultrasound, to measure from their crown to their rump. By week 6 an average size is 5-6 mm. Its head is still very large in relation to its 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.
Your physical changes this week
- You are probably feeling the same symptoms as you did last week, only a little extreme. Even more nausea, more sensitivity to scents, more tired and just generally feeling low on energy. Be patient and don't try to fight Mother Nature. Strange as it seems, there are good reasons for you feeling like you do and they aren't all bad.
- You are likely to be feeling sick a lot of the time, or alternatively, starving. Some women start having food cravings at this early stage and long for foods which normally they wouldn't even think about. Meat and lots of it, fish and seafood, fruit, even ice to crunch on are some of the most common cravings. Stay tuned for why cravings are so common.
- Your breasts and nipples may be even more sensitive. You could have a bluish colouration in your breasts from the engorgement of your veins and your breasts may be increasing in size at a rapid rate. Your nipples may be getting darker and you could be more aware of wearing an ultra-comfortable bra.
- You may notice more of a 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 when hormones are racing and there are changes from the normal vaginal flora and Ph.
- 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 week progresses.
- Some women complain of headaches from around week 6 of pregnancy. Try not to take medication and aim for simple remedies like having a nap, eating something healthy, boosting your fluid intake or having a warm shower. A head and scalp massage can be very effective.
- If you've already had a baby, you may feel as if your clothing is getting a little tighter around the waist and bust line. This is not because of the size of the baby, who is still hiding low in your pelvis, but just general swelling from internal pressure.
Your emotional changes this week
- This can be an interesting and emotional time for many women. The reality of their pregnancy is sinking in and so is the realisation of needing to give up some usual pleasures. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or taking drugs are all risky behaviours, especially during pregnancy. Now is the time to stop, when your baby is at a crucial stage of its development.
- 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 that you are pregnant, you may still be worried about miscarrying. This is a common worry, especially in the first 12 weeks or 1st trimester.
- You may be bursting to share your news but also reluctant to in case you miscarry. Speak with your partner about when will be the right time for you both to tell the world.
Your baby's changes this week
- This week your baby looks like a little tadpole. All head, little body and small buds where the legs will be. Don't worry though; this appearance won't last for long because every day in week 6, big changes are happening. Even when you are sleeping.
- 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 that little tadpole, although it's only tiny, there is space being made for its liver, kidneys and even its 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 even cheeks start to form. Tiny as they are, they will only grow bigger from this week on.
Hints for the week
- Carry lots of snacks with you in your bag. Dry salted crackers, sweet biscuits and water can be essential for coping with pregnancy nausea.
- Don't forget to keep an ice-cream container in the car if you're prone to vomiting. Keep the lid so it can be easily disposed of. Try not to feel embarrassed if you are sick in front of other people. Many of us have been there and this stage shouldn't last for too long.
- 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.