Heading into Week 6, it may seem like little has changed from last week—if you’ve been suffering morning sickness or fatigue, they are unfortunately likely still going strong (conditions like these don’t usually resolve until around Week 13). And although you may already see differences in your body, you still don’t “look pregnant.” Yet while things seem quiet on the outside, the last week has been a very busy one for your baby!
As you’re nearing the halfway point of the first trimester, you might feel like you’re in a groove now—and if you’re experiencing morning sickness, fatigue, heartburn, or other unpleasant symptoms, it might not be a groove you want to stay in for long.
While your abdomen is still not showing, you might have gained a few pounds or your breasts might be larger and more sensitive. And even though your uterus is far too small to be seen, you might have noticed that you’re bloating. This can make you seem more than 6 weeks pregnant, and for many women this becomes more obvious in the evening (after a full day of eating and drinking). Blame it once again on pregnancy hormones that make your intestines lazy, so gas and food build up more and make you need to loosen your pants.
By now, you’ve either had your first prenatal visit or it should be coming up in the next week or so (if you’re just finding out you’re pregnant, go ahead and schedule that visit ASAP). This is a great opportunity to ask lots of questions—your first prenatal visit will probably be one of your longest, so it might be helpful to prepare a list of questions before you visit your healthcare provider. Also make sure to have a full medical history available, including any history of miscarriages, abortions or ectopic pregnancies, health conditions, and any medications and/or dietary supplements and herbal preparations you take.
If you haven’t already, this is also a good time to start thinking about what type of obstetric provider you want. Some women prefer OB/GYNs, while others choose to use a midwife or family physician. Whichever you choose, it’s a good idea to identify which issues are important to you, and find a healthcare provider who fits with your goals and preferences.
And as always, keep up your exercise and healthy eating program! Your body and your baby will thank you later.
Your baby’s fetal age is now 4 weeks. The baby’s “crown to rump” length is about 0.08 to 0.16 inch, or between 2 and 4 mm. This is about the size of a large sesame seed.
Last week, the primitive muscular tube that will form your baby’s heart fused together. This week, the heart tube will begin to bulge out and form the very earliest signs of heart chambers. The same is happening with the brain: your baby’s brain is now dividing into the different chambers and areas, including the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The spinal cord has already been established, and blood is already beginning to flow through an early network of veins. Finally, your baby’s eyes are continuing to develop and look like small discs on either side of the head.
If you could see your actual baby, you’d see not only tiny bulges where the limbs will form, but also a rather pronounced tail. This tail will gradually disappear throughout your pregnancy, until all that remains is the “tailbone” that all humans have.
In terms of developmental health, these early weeks are critical to your baby’s healthy development. It is during these early stages, when the earliest organs are forming, that your baby is most vulnerable to damaging substances. This is also the time when the majority of birth defects occur. This information isn’t meant to scare you, but as a reminder of how important it is to avoid alcohol and illicit drugs, only take prescription medications under the advice of your healthcare specialist, and be sure to get plenty of folic acid from your prenatal vitamin.
“This is a partnership lasts for about 40 weeks, so you need to feel that you can trust your provider.”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018