40 Wonderful Weeks: 6 Weeks Pregnant
There’s no denying that pregnancy is one of nature’s most beautiful processes. A mother growing a baby is nothing short of a miracle! It is an exciting time filled with milestones, anticipation, and preparation. It must be noted, though, that there are plenty of unpleasant side effects that come with being pregnant. Each pregnancy is incredibly unique, but there are a few standard things that expectant mothers may want to be aware of entering into a new pregnancy! Throughout this writing, we’ll take some time to explain some of the amazing things that you can expect while pregnant, and to go over some of the not so fun parts of this journey. Finally, we’ll touch on how your baby is growing and changing as the weeks progress. Let’s go!
What Is Happening: To Your Body And The Baby!
You’ll begin to notice very quickly that your body begins to change almost immediately after becoming pregnant. Understandably so, also, as you’re preparing to grow another human! Isn’t it amazing how our bodies innately know how to ‘make room’ for a baby? At 6 weeks pregnant, physically you may begin to notice feeling more tired, and needing more food to keep energy levels up. Your body will need more fuel (food) for energy to keep up with the demands that this new baby will make. Have you heard of pregnant women joking that they’re eating for two? It’s true! You’re literally fueling your body AND the growth of another.
Your Baby is the Size of a Grain of Rice!
At about 6 weeks into your pregnancy, you’re in the middle of the 1st trimester, and have about 34 weeks to go! One common sentiment amongst pregnant women is that time seems to fly by but at the same time goes so slowly. Enjoy each moment while you can! At this point in development, the baby is about ¼” (about the size of a grain of rice). Although this may seem teeny tiny, the little baby is growing very rapidly. You’d be amazed by how much can happen in such a small little body! During this phase of development, major organs are beginning to form. Soon you’ll be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat! If the pregnancy symptoms hadn’t already kicked in, hearing that little heartbeat will make it real for sure.
Love ‘em or Hate ‘em, Hormones Are Here to Party
Surely this is not something you’ll need to be reminded of, as it’s incredibly apparent at this point in pregnancy, but at 6 weeks pregnant, pregnancy hormones are beginning to take effect. You may find yourself feeling extra emotional, even if you’re not typically an emotional person. Understand that this is normal! Especially if this is your first pregnancy, your body is trying to figure out how to manage these hormones and this new situation that you’re in - give yourself grace through this process. Of course, if you feel that your hormones or emotions are out of control, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor to get a professional’s opinion on the matter.
As mentioned above, your baby is about the size of a grain of rice right now. We love these little comparisons, as it really gives you a way to visualize the miraculous thing happening right inside of you. Baby’s heart is starting to develop - this is the first organ to function. Again, you’ll be able to hear this little heartbeat soon enough! Also at this stage in pregnancy, his or her neural tube is closing. If you read last week’s post, you know that a neural tube is just that - a tube that runs from the top to the bottom of the baby's body. At about 6 weeks pregnant, this neural tube is starting to close off, and will begin to serve its purpose as the spinal column and the brain. How cool is that?!
Finally Featuring… Baby’s Features!
To go along with the theme of this week, with the heart growing and neural tube closing off, we’ll also start to see the baby’s features taking shape! This is often an incredibly exciting part of the process, understandably. At 6 weeks pregnant, the baby will start to develop its own unique ears, nose, jaw, and eyes! Who do you think the baby will look most like? You or your partner? Maybe a cute combination of both? Only a short time left to officially find out! Speaking of the development of eyes, we’ll also notice the baby’s optic ventricle begin to form. Those cute little eyes will begin to work soon!!
By the time you’re 6 weeks pregnant, another exciting development is what we call ‘limb buds’. These limb buds will eventually be the baby’s arms and legs! At this point, though, the arms and legs are not fully formed, of course, so they’re known as limb buds. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll see them start to grow and that’s when you’ll start to feel those wonderful kicks!
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the baby’s external features, but we can’t forget about all of the cool things happening inside. At 6 weeks pregnant, we’ll start to see the beginning of the following systems within the baby:
It goes without saying, but these systems will continue to grow and mature as the baby does over the next months to come, but it is so exciting to know that these things happen so soon in pregnancy!
If you have had an ultrasound by this point in the pregnancy, you may know about a gestational sac. This refers to the fluid that surrounds the baby as it’s developing. Because the baby is so very small at 6 weeks pregnant, it may be hard to see the embryo on an ultrasound, but you may be able to see this gestational sac. A fun fact about this gestational sac is that it will soon become the placenta!
Did Someone Say Pregnancy Symptoms?
If you haven’t had many (or any) symptoms quite yet throughout your pregnancy, 6 weeks pregnant is the time they may start to show. Don’t let this stress you out though! We’ll go over it together. Keep in mind that, although there are certain hallmark pregnancy symptoms most people experience, no two pregnancies are the same. You may be experiencing certain symptoms that a friend may not be, while the opposite may also be true for other symptoms. The first trimester for you may be a breeze and be rough for others. Of course, please do not hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional if you are concerned about symptoms.
Fatigue is one of the most common and universal symptoms that pregnant women experience. It makes sense, of course, as your body is literally growing another human! That’s exhausting! Your body is working overtime and is producing a hormone known as progesterone, which also makes you feel tired. Things like lack of sleep, not eating well, and excessive stress can add to this overwhelming fatigue that comes alongside pregnancy.
In addition to fatigue, morning sickness is another hallmark sign of pregnancy. It’s often times deceiving, because despite the moniker, this sickness can happen at any time throughout the day or night. If you are struggling with morning sickness, you are truly not alone. At least 80% of women experience 1st trimester nausea and/or vomiting. Believe it or not, though, this sickness is actually a good sign. Sometimes, the nausea is caused by Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) that is surging through your body, an essential hormone for the growth of the baby!
You very well may have noticed that in addition to dealing with morning sickness, you are finding yourself having to use the restroom more and more as your baby grows. This is not just to get you used to those middle of the night feedings to come, but it’s due to your kidneys working overtime. Your blood is being pumped about 30-50% faster through your body, which causes your kidneys to work more efficiently, leading to increased urination! One other thing to look forward to, also, is the shifting of the bladder and kidneys, which will come between weeks 16 and 28 (right between the 2nd and 3rd trimester). While not pregnant, your bladder sits right in front of the uterus. As the uterus grows, you’ll feel the need to urinate more often, as the baby grows and pushes against the bladder.
Taking care of yourself and of the baby is important throughout the entire pregnancy, of course, so let’s talk about the things to get into the habit of now that you’re 6 weeks pregnant.
Keep taking vitamins
Eating healthy is one of the most important things you can do, but it’s almost impossible to get every nutrient necessary just from the food you consume. Prenatal vitamins are helpful for you and for the baby. Make this a part of your routine each day!
Catch those Zzzzs
As we mentioned earlier, you’re probably feeling exceedingly sleepy as you enter into your 6th week. This is normal, and there are things you can do to help offset that fatigue. Here’s a list of some ideas:
Go to bed earlier, and go to sleep and wake at the same time every day. Implementing this routine will help you stick to your goal.
Avoid caffeine! If you’re in the habit of getting a coffee each morning, consider switching to decaf or tea.
Exercise daily. You don’t need to be dripping in sweat each day, but it’s important to move your body a bit each day to get some of that energy out, so that you’re able to rest well at night.
Fuel Your Body
Your body is working overtime growing the baby inside of your belly, so it needs more fuel to do that! It’s important to make sure to fuel your body with proper nutrition and food. Here are some ways to do this:
Eat healthy. In addition to taking your prenatal vitamins, make sure you’re continuing to consume healthy meals and snacks, so you’re providing the essential nutrients necessary for the growth of the baby.
H2O is your friend. This may seem counterintuitive, as you’re already having to use the restroom more, but your body needs water. Hydration is vital for the health and development of the baby, as well as your overall health. Aim for 10-12 glasses each day, and increase this number if you’re exercising or out in hot weather.
This is where you may find yourself asking, ‘If I am struggling with morning sickness, how do I keep myself and my baby fueled?’. This is a common question that actually has a pretty straightforward answer. In short, it’s important to eat small, frequent snacks, as opposed to three large meals. Maybe consider nibbling on soda crackers in between snacks.
A great tool for pregnant women struggling with morning sickness is using natural remedies like aromatherapy and ginger!! Ecocentric Mom’s 1st Trimester Boxes contain the perfect tools to help you get through this rough patch. If nothing is working, ask healthcare provider for anti-nausea medication.
The Focus For This Week
We’ve just spent a good amount of time going over some of the most important things to focus on this coming week. Let’s summarize.
- Rest up! Don’t feel guilty about needing to take a nap if you’re able to. Your body is working overtime growing the baby, and you may need to rest more to account for that.
- Take your prenatal vitamins. We could say this until we’re blue in the face, but these are so important. Not only do these prenatal vitamins fuel you as you grow the baby, but they also help the baby to develop and grow healthfully.
- Chug that water! Remember, H2O is your friend. Aim for 10-12 glasses of water per day.
- Attack nausea before it gets to you. To help offset nausea, we recommend eating small snacks frequently throughout the day, as opposed to eating 3 large meals. This is in addition to the aromatherapy and ginger that we love to use to subside nausea. If necessary, keep your anti-nausea medications close by.
- Start a pregnancy journal or notebook. The Waiting for You Journal is a great way to log each stage of pregnancy and can be found in the Ecocentric Mom 1st Trimester Gift Box.
- Start researching your personal, family and partner’s medical history. By having this knowledge, it will help you and your doctor(s) be prepared to be on the lookout for anything genetic throughout the pregnancy.
- Make and prepare for your first prenatal appointment, if you haven’t already.