At 6 weeks pregnant, you’re already two weeks into your second month of pregnancy. This is still the first trimester, so there’s still a long way to go until you’re ready to welcome your new baby into the world.
Still, being six weeks pregnant means your baby has already developed a lot. They may only be about the size of a lentil, but they’ve already got a heartbeat, which you can observe in a prenatal appointment over the next few weeks.
In this article, we’ll look at what’s happening in babies and mothers at six weeks pregnant. We’ll also offer advice for soon-to-be moms at six weeks pregnant, covering how to best care for yourself and your baby moving forward.
What’s happening at 6 weeks pregnant?
Significant development has already taken place by pregnancy week six and will continue to take place throughout the rest of your pregnancy, including:
1. Heartbeat begins
One of the significant developments that happen around six weeks is a heartbeat.
Sometime over the next few weeks, you may have your first ultrasound.
For most appointments after your first one, your doctor will use a Doppler for the ultrasound, the handheld device that glides across your belly on a smooth gel.
However, the first ultrasound will probably be a vaginal ultrasound. This vital examination happens at around 7 to 8 weeks, but the heart starts making noticeable sound waves around week 6.
2. Complex systems, limbs, and features begin to form
It’s not just the heart that’s been growing fast.
At six weeks pregnant, the tiny embryo in your womb continues to develop and, by now, has already begun developing complex systems and organs, including the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
They’ve also begun to develop tiny limbs that are just like little paddles but will form into your baby’s arms and legs. You’ll find indentations for eyes, ears, and nostrils on their face.
In addition to the growing baby, protective features are also maturing. These include the placenta, amniotic sac, and umbilical cord.
Before the placenta fully forms, a tiny yolk sac delivers nutrients to your growing baby. Once formed, the placenta takes over this role until birth.
More pregnancy symptoms show up
Remember that it all makes sense if you notice difficult symptoms like exhaustion and mood swings.
The little life inside you is growing fast.
The tiny baby is about .25 inches in size but will double by next week. That means that your body has a lot of work to do.
Pregnancy symptoms at six weeks pregnant
You’ll experience some common early pregnancy symptoms at six weeks, such as morning sickness, breast soreness or tenderness, and fatigue.
1. Morning sickness
If you haven’t already been struck with morning sickness, you’ll likely get it at around six weeks. You’ll want to throw up but may not vomit.
Some women experience morning sickness as nausea and vomiting, while others experience nausea without vomiting.
This symptom will last a week once it begins but should begin to ease up by the end of your third month.
The significant rise in pregnancy hormones throughout the body can lead to feelings of exhaustion, so you can expect to start feeling more tired than usual lately.
Pregnancy asks a lot of the body, so you’ll need plenty of high-quality rest over the coming months.
3. Frequent urge to pee
You may notice a more frequent urge to pee at around six weeks pregnant. As mentioned, your body has a lot more work to do during pregnancy, and one of its demands is more blood pumped around the body each minute.
The volume of blood pumped around the body during pregnancy is 30-50% higher than blood levels without pregnancy.
This leads to more work for the kidneys and a more frequent need to pee. The pressure on the bladder by the growing uterus next door strengthens this urge.
4. Mood swings
Hormone surges happen throughout your pregnancy and can cause emotional upheaval.
Several vital hormones are involved in helping the body grow a new life, but the consequence is increased stress, irritability, and mood swings.
It can be hard to manage these mood swings, especially when stress or sudden mood shifts have no apparent cause.
Managing your stress so that it doesn’t get the better of you is crucial here. Moods and emotions may be unpredictable, but a regular grounding practice via yoga or other mind-body relaxation techniques will help you feel balanced before stress takes a toxic effect on your body.
5. Tenderness and heaviness in the breasts
You may have noticed some early breast tenderness during weeks 4 and 5. This symptom typically comes early and continues throughout the first trimester.
A sense of heaviness is a natural result of increased blood flow to the breasts to support your little one’s nourishment.
Self-Care at six weeks pregnant
Self-care at six weeks pregnant means continuing to care for your mind and body with a healthy diet, plenty of rest, zero (or as little as possible) toxins, and coping tips for pain and morning sickness.
Dietary recommendations at six weeks pregnant
It’s important to follow basic dietary recommendations and guidelines for pregnant women to keep you and your baby healthy.
Opt for fresh, whole foods as much as possible, such as fruits and vegetables, whale grain foods, and high-protein foods such as lean meat, beans, eggs, and milk.
You also want to include healthy fats in your diet through nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado.
Remember that growing a new life inside you requires a lot of support and nourishment and that how you feed yourself over the coming months is also how you feed your baby.
Aim to include essential vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Beyond taking a prenatal vitamin, aim for nutrient-rich foods high in iron, calcium, and folate, such as dark leafy greens, nuts, fortified cereals, tofu, and dairy products.
Note that some fish contain high levels of mercury, which can harm your baby. If you want to eat fish (recommended for its high protein and healthy fat content), choose fish low in mercury.
Finally, avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Small amounts of caffeine are not bad, especially in early pregnancy, but do your best to eliminate alcohol and smoking while pregnant.
Dealing with morning sickness
Morning sickness is a common pregnancy symptom that occurs around 5 to 6 weeks pregnant.
Morning sickness persists throughout the first trimester for most women but tends to ease up by week 14 (second trimester). Some women experience morning sickness during pregnancy, but this is less common.
Though a typical pregnancy symptom and not a cause for concern, morning sickness is unpleasant. To cope with it and reduce its effect on your daily life:
- Stay hydrated.
- Sip small amounts of water regularly throughout the day rather than large quantities all at once.
- Apply the same approach to food – small but regular meals rather than larger and fewer.
- Opt for light, healthy foods rather than foods high in grease and unhealthy fats.
- Get plenty of fresh air throughout the day and
- Ask your healthcare provider for more advice.
6 Weeks Pregnant FAQs
Below are some common FAQs that women ask when they are six weeks pregnant.
What should I be feeling at six weeks pregnant?
Symptoms and intensity vary, so what you feel at six weeks pregnant may not be exactly what someone else feels at six weeks.
However, pregnancy week six is generally accompanied by morning sickness and tender breasts.
You should also start feeling more tired than usual around week 6, halfway through your second month of pregnancy. As mentioned earlier, a lot of rapid growth is happening now, and all the systems, hormones, and processes that will help you carry out a healthy pregnancy are underway.
The pregnancy hormone hCG is just one of several hormones surging through your body and leading to feelings of tiredness and even exhaustion.
What should you not do at six weeks pregnant?
If you haven’t already, it is crucial to quit alcohol and cigarettes and significantly reduce your caffeine intake.
Remember that coffee isn’t the only drink with caffeine. Tea also contains caffeine.
If you need any help with quitting bad habits, reach out to your healthcare provider.
Quitting without support can be difficult and may lead to an unhealthy amount of stress for you and your little one.
Ideally, quitting happens before conception, but it’s better late than never.
When do you get your first ultrasound?
Your first ultrasound typically happens at around 7 to 8 weeks pregnant. This fundamental pregnancy examination looks for a fetal heartbeat and helps doctors measure the size of your baby and check for a single baby or twins.
Unlike the typical Doppler ultrasound with gel on the belly, your first ultrasound will most likely be transvaginal, which means your OB/GYN will insert a narrow ultrasound device into your vagina.
This device is completely safe for your body, and though some women find it a little uncomfortable, many don’t. It’s a little larger than a tampon and is well-lubricated before the examination begins.
Later ultrasound examinations will not take place transvaginally. Instead, your sonologist will use the classic Doppler ultrasound wand by gliding it over your belly.
How do you know if you are overdoing it while pregnant?
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you need to stop all physical activity. Soon-to-be moms are encouraged to participate in light aerobic exercise throughout pregnancy for a healthy mother and baby.
Still, there is a limit to how much physical exertion you should do now. Overexertion is not recommended and can risk both mother’s and baby’s health.
Avoid hard-contact sports and anything that could lead to a fall.
Avoid workouts and exercises that exhaust you rather than energize you.
Avoid anything that makes you feel overheated or dizzy., or anything that causes pain.
Should I tell people I’m pregnant?
Telling people that you’re pregnant is entirely up to you.
You don’t have to if you’re not ready to tell people.
Pregnancy is a lot to process, even if you’ve been actively trying to get pregnant for a while.
Telling people the good news is bound to attract much attention and questions you may not yet feel ready to answer.
Take time, speak with your partner or close support system about how you feel and how public you want to be, and make whatever decision feels best for you.
Remember that self-care is your number one priority, so if you need more time to keep your news private, that’s ok.
You’re still in your first trimester, so things may seem new. There’s still a long way to go in your baby’s development, but now an ultrasound can detect your baby’s heart.
It’s important to arrange your first prenatal appointment this week or over the coming weeks to ensure all is well with your body and your baby. An early check also inspects for cases of ectopic pregnancy – an issue with egg implantation that leads to pregnancy loss – and can put the mother’s health at risk if not detected early.
While there are many things to worry about during pregnancy, we can’t control everything.
We can control how we nourish ourselves during this sensitive time, including food and lifestyle. We can get plenty of rest, eat well, and cultivate a strong support system when things feel overwhelming.
In doing so, we give ourselves the best chance of staying healthy and calm and giving our developing baby the best chance of a healthy birth.