A Comprehensive View Of Life At 6 Weeks Of Pregnancy

It has been a couple of weeks that you have received news of your conception and life has never been the same again. Changes, both positive as well as negative, have taken over your body and you are gradually coming to terms with the fact that there is a tiny little being inside you with a beating heart. Reaching six weeks of pregnancy is like a milestone of sorts because you are half-way through your first trimester. All the symptoms of pregnancy can now be experienced by you and there is every reason for you to look forward to the end of this trimester by now because you are obviously exhausted. Your baby continues to go through rapid changes and you would be delighted to know that tiny hands and feet along with fingers have begun to form!

What Does Your Baby Look Like Now?

About the size of a lentil, your baby is gradually turning into a recognizable structure inside your uterus. With a heart rate as high as 100-160 beats per minute; you can expect an astonishment while hearing your baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler. Your baby is also making its first moves but they are too faint for you to feel them. She will still be measured in terms of crown to rump because the bent legs in the uterus will make it difficult to calculate crown to toe length accurately.

It is important to know that your body is laying down the foundation for your pregnancy to thrive and any negative external factors can cause harm to your developing embryo. Quitting smoking, drinking and other drugs well before hitting 5 weeks is the ideal way to go.

Another exciting development in this week, are the sites where your baby’s eyes and nostrils will grow. They are just dark spots at the moment but will very soon form prominent features. The place from where ears will grow out has also been marked already and the budding legs add to a realistic view of your baby on an ultrasound scan. It is interesting to note that at this point your baby’s head is relatively larger than her body that will even out towards the third trimester. Your baby’s hands and feet look webbed and the fingers are attached now. her muscle are bone tissues have also started forming by now.

The pituitary gland and the brain of your baby are also in the process of development.

If you had an early scan you would remember that prominent bump on top, which is now ideally developing into your baby’s face. The tissue folds are now shaping up into cheeks, jaw and chin. Along with these developments, other important changes that take place are your baby’s kidneys, liver and lungs that have started forming at around 6 weeks. 

Important Bodily Changes

Still a long way to go to look visibly pregnant, you are quite the mommy now, with your body transforming itself to successfully accommodate your baby and undergoing sea changes in the process.

1. Did You Really Have 4 Bowls Of Yogurt Today?

As impossible as it sounds, there is every chance that you will have the strongest cravings for the weirdest things at around 6 weeks. So if you are looking forward to a food type that you used to detest earlier, do not be astonished if that is the only thing you can possibly keep down. Pregnancy cravings are common and they are absolutely normal.

2. Are Late Nights A Thing Of The Past?

As your body continues to work hard for your baby to grow well and thrive, your exhaustion is more like a permanent state in the first trimester. You could continue to sleep through a movie or drift into deep sleep as your partner discusses the day at work. Instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed of your fatigue, accept it and get some rest while you can.

3. Is The Washroom Your New-Found Love?

With your uterus stretching out and growing each day, placing increasing pressure on your bladder, the washroom might be the only place you like to visit. Frequent urination is common during the first trimester and one of the ways in which you could ensure you are emptying your bladder effectively each time is to lean forward while peeing. While loo visits could make you irritable, do not try cutting down on fluids because you could run a risk of urinary infection or even an early miscarriage if your body gets dehydrated.

4. More Bedroom Action

In the midst of a number of negative changes, one positive thing to look forward at 6 weeks is your increased sexual arousal. Your body is circulating more blood and there is an increased blood flow to the pelvic area so you could expect a good amount of action in the bedroom if you and your partner are up for it. If you have a low-risk uncomplicated pregnancy, there is no reason why you should not be having regular sex.

5. Still Throwing Up?

Have you been throwing up since your conception and there seems to be no respite for you even at 6 weeks? Unfortunately your body is still adjusting with the new order in place and your hormones are making it worse for your system to digest in time. With a slow and sluggish digestive system, you could be throwing up earlier than your body gets to absorb. Eating crackers first thing in the morning, sipping ginger ale through the day and light frequent meals can help you ease up and keep that squeamishness away.

6. That’s Just Your Bloated Self

If you are already looking a little pregnant all over your body, that’s not additional fat but your bloated self. Reducing your water intake could lead to water retention and cause problems like gas and bloating. In order to avoid looking all puffed up way too early in pregnancy, keep a bottle of water with you sip away. Incorporating more fibre in your food can help with this too.

7. I Can’t Believe I Still Hate Chocolates!

As unbelievable as this may sound to your friends, you have probably given up on chocolate by now although it used to be your life force earlier. Aversions for the most favourite kind of food is not uncommon in pregnancy and if you are feeling particularly low about how your body does not feel like your own anymore, try thinking of it this way, “Chocolate is a trigger for reflux. So this is indeed a good thing!”

8. Are These Really My Breasts?

As you advance into your pregnancy, your breasts continue to change and grow, stocking up on fatty tissues to prepare your body for breastfeeding. From sore and tender breasts to darker areolas and protruded nipples, you might doubt whether you would ever want your husband to see them again but these changes are normal and essential to your journey of parenting.

9. Is Your Heightened Sense Of Smell Embarrassing You?

You could easily be embarrassing yourself by sniffing you way into the meal boxes of your colleagues. Food cravings and heightened sense of smell could be a fatal combination but forgive yourself for this benign act.

Do You Have An Ectopic Pregnancy? 

As common as 1 ectopic pregnancy in every 90 pregnancies in the UK, it calls for immediate medical attention if you suspect having one. At around 5 weeks, an ectopic pregnancy can be diagnosed and it is an unfortunate reality that it cannot be viable. It needs to be terminated and the tissues removed by a doctor. If not attended it right away, this kind of pregnancy can be fatal.

When the embryo implants itself in one of the fallopian tubes1 instead of in the uterus, it is commonly termed as an ectopic pregnancy or a tubal pregnancy. The rest of the implantation happens in unfavorable places like your ovaries, a previous C-section scar or your abdominal cavity.

One of the reasons for early pregnancy bleeding could be an ectopic pregnancy. By six weeks, it is distinguishable and if left untreated, could cause internal bleeding as well. General symptoms include intolerable pain or cramping, bleeding and restlessness.

The usual reason for an ectopic pregnancy is a damaged fallopian tube that hinders the normal passage of your egg into the uterus. In a normal pregnancy, an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus via the fallopian tubes but when the tube restricts the passage, it ends up implanting itself in one of the tubes.

How Would You Know If You Are At Risk Of An Ectopic Pregnancy? 

  • If you have ever had any infection that could have scarred one of your fallopian tubes, you could be at a higher risk for ectopic pregnancy.
  • If you have had an abdominal surgery, your fertilized egg could implant itself at the site of the surgery in the future.
  • If you have conceived via IVF, you carry a good amount of risk.

Skin Changes At 6 Weeks

You might have noticed how your skin visibly changes in color, texture and appearance as you approach the sixth week. Early pregnancy signs and symptoms include these changes that make the diagnosis more evident.

You might have had dry to normal skin all your life but you are suddenly witnessing an acne outbreak. You might start to panic because even in teenage, you had a better skin tone!

Also known as chloasma2 or the mask of pregnancy, skin pigmentation typically occurs around 5-6 weeks of pregnancy and could last for the entire 40 weeks. It tends to magically disappear in a couple of weeks of delivery. The noticeable changes are brown or dark patches on your skin that are generally uneven. You might also notice a darkening of your armpits.

Along with your skin, your areolas will also darken and grow in circumference. Your nipples will look darker with time and even if your skin does return to its normal color, your nipples are most likely to retain their changed color.

A lot of women start experiencing skin allergies as well in this phase that also mostly disappear after the delivery.

Your body has a natural coping mechanism to protect your baby from UV rays. It produces more melanin, the hormone that causes tanning. This is the reason for the kind of skin pigmentation you undergo.

For a fortunate few, the skin tone actually improves with the onset of pregnancy and there is the celebrated rosy glow on their skin. The glow is basically an outcome of increased blood flow to the surface of the skin that lends a natural blush to your cheeks.

If you are not that blessed, always remember to use sunscreen whenever you are stepping out to prevent further darkening. While it is normal to feel conscious about the skin changes, it is also important to accept your body’s way of keeping this pregnancy healthy.

Medicines At 6 weeks

Your gynecologist may have informed you by now that it is rather dangerous to use medication in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. By now you should have ideally given up on your tendency to self-medicate. The early weeks of pregnancy are crucial to the development of a healthy fetus and medication might interfere with the body’s normal responsive strategies to the usual pregnancy signs and symptoms.

If you do need to take medication of any sort, consult with your doctor about the pros and cons and find out if your health need is more important at the moment than the potential risk to the embryo.

Most common illnesses like a cold, cough, stomach bug and body pains can be handled using alternate ways instead of opting for medicines.

How Would I Know If I Am Depressed Or Not?

Depression in pregnancy is not uncommon. If a pregnancy is unplanned, it could cause concerns over finances, life plans, work etc that could lead to mood swings and irritability. While mood swings are normal, extreme behavioral issues are not.

Depression typically starts right after the news of conception has sunk in and the pregnancy starts interfering with day to day activities. At around 6 weeks, pregnancy related things could overwhelm you to a point where you are almost always sad or upset about being pregnant.

What Are The Signs Of Depression?

If you are feeling a lot more than the usual pregnancy blues, watch out for these signs to detect an early onset of depression:

  • If you have been having trouble sleeping.
  • If nothing really interests you in life.
  • If you are substituting everything with food and overeating.
  • If you are feeling sleepy and exhausted all the time.
  • If you have had thoughts of harming yourself or the baby.

If any of these signs are present, you should speak to your doctor immediately and undergo appropriate treatment so that by the time the baby arrives, you are in a more positive mental state to take up the responsibilities.

Your gynecologist will refer you to a counselor initially for cognitive behavioral therapy if nothing else works. If your depression is borderline and mild, your counselor will probably try and talk it out with you.

If your depression is beyond counseling, you might need to take anti-depressants. Medication is recommended under conditions in which the benefit to the mother far outweighs the risk to the baby. You will need to take the medication as long as has been recommended and keep unwinding from time to time to continue with the self-help.

Pregnancy And UTI At 6 Weeks

Pregnant women are at a high risk of developing Urinary Tract Infection from 6 weeks to 24 weeks. If you find it painful to urinate and if there is a burning sensation associated, you must let your doctor know so that a pregnancy-friendly antibiotic can be recommended. It is a wise idea to begin the treatment as soon as possible before the infection spreads to the upper pelvic region or reaches the kidneys.

UTI could be a major reason for miscarriages and preterm birth3. Once you contract UTI, you have an increased risk of a relapse. Preventing it from happening in the first place is the best way to go. Drinking to thirst and always urinating as soon as you feel your bladder is full can keep infections at bay. Holding urine can cause the infection to get worse. Using a condom while having sex can also help prevent UTI.

Can I Color My Hair At 6 Weeks Of Pregnancy?

With truckloads of changes that you are already going through, the last thing you would want is your hair streaked with grey. Are normal colors safe to use? Most salons use ammonia-based colors that can pass into your system via your scalp. The toxic fumes that you inhale should also be ideally avoided, especially in the early weeks of pregnancy.

Instead of using permanent colors, you could opt for semi-permanent colors that are less harmful for you and your baby.

For The Father At 6 Weeks

Since you and your spouse are together in this pregnancy, it is recommended that you always accompany her to all the prenatal visits. It is not only about taking important decisions together, but also bonding over this experience. Watching your baby gradually getting bigger and more recognizable on the ultrasound screen is precious for a father.

The power of communication can never be emphasized enough in a pregnancy. While your wife undergoes sea changes in her life, you do not really experience anything physically but you can assist her in feeling better about this. From acne outbursts to uneven and patchy skin, from morning sickness to overwhelming fatigue, the woman in your life has been going through a lot and this is the time to hold her hand through these difficulties.

It is normal to feel apprehensive about becoming a father and by 6 weeks, there is no denying that this is not going to be easy. When you speak to each other, the issues are distributed and there is a mutual understanding of sorts. Both of you can plan out the necessary steps and allay the fears before they become too stubborn to be forgotten.

If the thought of having sex is freaking you out, then both of you can speak to your doctor and ask all the questions that you might have. It is absolutely alright to have sex in a low-risk pregnancy. The penetration will not harm your baby in any way because she is well-cushioned in the amniotic sac.

You could do your share of housework and spare her the load while she nurtures a life with her body. Ensuring she is having nutrient-dense meals that is balanced and frequent, taking her out for a change, cooking her favorite food, making the environment at home amicable enough for her to feel comfortable, taking over the duties of an older child and planning weeks beforehand so that both of you are more organized, are some of the ways in which you can help her deal with this pregnancy in a more positive manner.

Your 6 Week Reminders!

By now you know the drill and prenatal appointments have just begun. What are the things that you should remember to do? Here is a checklist:

  • Pregnancy is bound to make you forgetful so preparing a list of possible questions before a prenatal appointment makes it easier for you.
  • Drinking water and urinating frequently can avoid UTI.
  • Do not ignore the signs of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • You can either expect your skin to glow or to look worse. Accept the changes!
  • Grazing helps avoid reflux. Keep healthy snacks handy.
  • Buy maternity bras and briefs if your current ones are getting too snugly.
  • Remember to take your prenatal supplements.
  • Recognize the signs of early depression.
  • Exercise everyday as much as your body allows.
  • Eat iron-rich food to keep your iron stores from depleting.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallopian_tube
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melasma
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterm_birth