Pregnancy is exciting, stressful, joyful, scary, and everything in between. But you can cut back on the negative emotions and amp up the positive ones by preparing yourself for what to expect.
The signs and symptoms of pregnancy shift as you move closer and closer to birth.
The first trimester takes place from conception to the 13th week of pregnancy.
And at the halfway mark, you’ll already notice many changes to your body and mind. So let’s take a look at what to expect when you’re expecting during the beginning of the first trimester.
What Is Baby’s Development at Six Weeks?
You’re probably eager to know what is forming inside your belly six weeks into pregnancy. And now, your baby is starting to look more like a baby!
The baby is continuing to grow and change at a fast pace. At this point, the physical characteristics of a human are starting to form, like the head, cheeks, chin, and jaw.
They’re also starting to grow some legs, arms, and ears.
The liver, brain, and musculoskeletal systems are beginning to develop inside the body.
Your baby’s heart starts to beat, and you might even be able to hear the thumping sounds of each beat on an ultrasound!
At six weeks, your baby’s size will not be any larger than a nailhead or tadpole.
That’s why you’re unlikely to notice any physical changes on the outside of your own body at this point in fetal development. However, you’re likely to notice some other early pregnancy symptoms that make it clear there’s a baby brewing inside you.
What Are Symptoms Like at Six Weeks?
You’ll notice several symptoms at six weeks, some of which you’ve been dealing with since the beginning, while some are entirely new. Here are some of the most common.
Morning sickness refers to nausea and vomiting during the early stages of pregnancy. It’s a bit of a misnomer because morning sickness can happen at any time of day and can make you feel sick all day or night.
It’s an unpleasant symptom, but it usually clears up by the 16th to 20th week. It doesn’t put your baby at an increased risk of sickness — it’s just a frustrating byproduct of pregnancy.
There’s no fast treatment for morning sickness, but getting plenty of rest, avoiding foods that make you feel sick, eating something plain before bed, or drinking plenty of fluids can help alleviate this symptom.
Cramping at six weeks can be another common symptom to be prepared for, but it’s a healthy sign.
It means that your uterus and surrounding tissues are expanding to make room for the baby. Contact your healthcare provider if your cramping feels unusually painful and is accompanied by fever or diarrhea.
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Light spotting at six weeks is another symptom that isn’t uncommon. This spotting is also known as implantation bleeding, and it shouldn’t be more blood than what could cover a small pantyliner. If you see a lot of blood or spotting lasts longer than two days, be sure to see a doctor or gynecologist.
The hormonal and physical changes in the body during pregnancy can majorly affect several physiological processes, including urination.
If you find yourself inside the bathroom more than outside, these changes can affect your ability to control your bladder.
Mood swings can appear at any point in the pregnancy, but they are most common between six and 10 weeks.
Mood changes might make an expecting mother a bit temperamental, sad, or moody.
This is another byproduct of the drastic hormonal changes (including estrogen and progesterone) and will likely subside after birth.
It takes a lot of energy to form a whole human being inside your body, and that’s why tiredness and sluggishness are common symptoms of pregnancy.
At six weeks, you might find yourself struggling to stay awake, or you might notice trouble concentrating throughout the day.
Tender, Sore Breasts
During the first trimester, you might notice some breast tenderness and soreness due to the body being flooded with hormones, preparing the breast for breastfeeding.
This uncomfortable sensation is another sign that things are progressing healthily, even if it might sometimes be a little bit frustrating.
Heightened Sense of Smell
An abnormal yet fairly common symptom at six weeks is a heightened sense of smell. This increased sense of smell tends to make previously mild odors stronger or unappealing.
While there is limited evidence to suggest why this occurs, it can indicate that you’re moving through your first trimester normally.
Thicker or Shinier Hair
Your hair might start to look or feel slightly different during pregnancy. And in most cases, it’s all related to those hormones.
Your hair grows faster, making each strand a little bit stronger during pregnancy. You might notice this symptom at six weeks, though it’s often easier to recognize once you get closer to the second trimester.
What Should I Consider at Six Weeks?
At six weeks, there are a few things that you’ll want to consider to ensure your health as well as the health of your baby.
Check for UTI Symptoms
You’ll probably be peeing a lot at this point in your pregnancy, and that’s why it’s even more important to take notice of the signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
The most common symptoms are a strong urge to urinate, a burning sensation while urinating, passing frequent and small amounts of urine, and urine that appears cloudy.
Speak to your doctor as soon as possible if you demonstrate one or more of these symptoms.
Morning sickness is like a rite of passage when it comes to getting pregnant, and the key to success is eating bland foods.
Rice cakes, dry cereal, pretzels, saltine crackers, and toasted bread are great ways to get some nutrition while reducing the feelings of nausea and lessening vomiting.
You shouldn’t stop exercising just because you’re pregnant. Now is a better time than any to keep your body moving.
Working out while pregnant can reduce backaches and constipation, prevent excess weight gain, boost your mood, and even help you sleep better.
With that said, just be sure to pace yourself. Low impact aerobics, cycling on a stationary bike, and walking are great as these reduce wear and tear on the joints.
Of course, strength training is okay; you just need to keep to relatively low weights. And always consult your doctor to get the green light for activity.
Remember to warm up, cool down, and drink plenty of water throughout your workouts to support a healthy pregnancy.
Watch Out for Certain Foods
When you’re pregnant, you’ll start having some cravings you’ve never really noticed before.
Pickles, ice cream, hot sauce, and toast might seem like a Michelin-starred meal. But there might be some healthier alternatives to the cravings that you’re eyeing up.
Popcorn or rice cakes are great alternatives to greasy chips and dips, and a cup of hot cocoa or a popsicle are great alternatives to an entire bag of candy. Sometimes all it takes is to get a little bit creative.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
You need to ensure that you and your baby get the nutrients needed to stay healthy, and prenatal vitamins are a great way to do that.
Many prenatal vitamins include folic acid, which helps the baby’s nervous system form and offers some protection against certain congenital disabilities.
Additionally, vitamin D is highly recommended to help support strong bones for both you and your child.
Manage Your Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
While bearing a child is undoubtedly a special time, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. For that reason, getting the support you need to feel loved and cared for from the inside out is important.
Be sure to be social and see friends or family whenever possible. While you might not be able to drink or smoke while pregnant, you can still go to dinner, enjoy a concert, or have a barbeque in the backyard.
If stress is feeling overwhelming, you might want to consider seeing a therapist or professional for mental health treatment.
Seeking professional support can allow you to freely share your thoughts and feelings while learning new ways to approach stressful or challenging situations in the future.
How Will I Know When the Baby Is Due?
You can calculate a baby’s due date if you know the first day of your last menstrual period before getting pregnant. The due date is 40 weeks after the day on which your last period began.
It’s a good estimate because most women can remember the day they started their period. Of course, it’s not the most accurate method since some women have irregular cycles.
You can also get a more accurate picture if you know the day you got pregnant in the first place. If you know the specific day, you can count 38 weeks to find your baby’s due date.
At six weeks of pregnancy, you’re about halfway into your first trimester of pregnancy.
The baby begins forming its limbs, head, brain, liver, and more at this stage. It’s still not much bigger than a tadpole, and you won’t notice any physical changes to your body, except maybe some stronger hair.
However, you might notice symptoms like morning sickness, cramping and bloating, mood swings, fatigue, heightened sense of smell, spotting, or frequent urination.
At this stage, you’ll want to choose bland foods when nausea strikes, stay physically active, check for symptoms of a UTI, and continue to monitor your mental health and wellbeing
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Bridget Reed is a Tampa-based content development manager, writer, and editor at GR0; specializing in content related to varying fields including medicine, health, and small businesses. Bridget went to St. Petersburg College and majored in Management and Organizational Leadership.
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