Changes in Your Body
By your sixth week of pregnancy, you’re beginning to notice the changes in your body. Although people can’t see that you’re pregnant yet, your uterus is growing. It may press on your bladder and send you rushing to the bathroom more often. Increased blood flow to your kidneys also contributes to more frequent urination. Your breasts are beginning to swell and may be sore. And the areolas around your nipples are getting darker and larger.
Pregnancy hormones are in overdrive. You are likely to tire easily and feel more emotional and irritable than usual. You may also have morning sickness. Keep in mind that most women feel better by the second trimester.
At week six, your baby is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length, or about the size of a pomegranate seed or pea. The fetus looks something like a tadpole, with a small tail that will become a spinal column. Tiny buds are on their way to becoming arms, legs, and ears. The brain, lungs, and other organs are developing, too.
Although it’s too early to see if baby has Aunt Ella’s nose, what will become facial features are unfolding. The fetus has teeth and a thin layer of skin. A fetus’ heartbeat can often be detected by vaginal ultrasound at this stage of pregnancy.
Twin Development at Week 6
You have a higher risk of developing certain pregnancy complications if you’re carrying multiple babies. Here are the most common complications you may want to discuss with your doctor:
- gestational diabetes
- vaginal bleeding
- obstetric cholestasis
- twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, which occurs when one baby gets more blood than the other baby
- preterm labor
- intrauterine growth restriction, or delated fetal growth
Once you’re diagnosed with a twin pregnancy, your course of treatment may change slightly. You may need more frequent checkups, face certain restrictions, or even plan an earlier birth via cesarean. Women who are pregnant with twins typically gain more weight. This weight gain is usually around 37 to 54 pounds total. You also usually need more nutrients than if you were just carrying one baby, including:
- folic acid
Pregnancy Symptoms: What You Can Do About Them
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but managing your symptoms can prove challenging. Keep reading to learn more about how to manage them.
Morning (Afternoon, Evening, and Night) Sickness
According to the National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health, 80 to 85 percent of women experience nausea and 52 percent of women experience vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. You may already be experiencing morning sickness, which, for many women, is not just limited to the morning.
The cause of morning sickness is not fully understood, but an increase in the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin is believed to play a role. For most women, morning sickness resolves after the first trimester.
What You Can Do
- Eat small meals several times a day.
- Keep foods you tolerate well at hand to nibble on. Many women swear by eating saltine crackers before getting out of bed in the morning.
- Avoid spicy or greasy foods. A bland diet tends to go down easier.
- Don’t lay down right after eating.
- Try to avoid odors that trigger nausea.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially if you’ve been vomiting.
- Ask your doctor if it’s okay to take ginger capsules or ginger tea, which may bring relief.
- Although studies on the effectiveness of vitamin B6 for relieving morning sickness are inconclusive, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends taking vitamin B6 supplements, when approved by your doctor.
- Some women report relief from wearing acupressure bands promoted for motion sickness.
- You may find your nausea temporarily alleviated by tart or sour foods and beverages.
The fatigue you are experiencing is normal. It’s caused by pregnancy hormones and increased blood volume.
What You Can Do
- Take naps. This can prove challenging if you are working or caring for other children, but finding time for a cat nap during the day can help combat fatigue. This will be important after baby is born, too.
- Go to bed earlier.
- Drink more fluids earlier in the day so you don’t have to get up as often at night.
- Let others take over some of the chores.
- Skip caffeine and rely on fruit or juice for an energy boost.
Prenatal vitamins are vital to the health of you and your baby, but all that iron very often makes women constipated.
What You Can Do
- Drink plenty of fluids. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 10 cups of fluid each day. Tip: If your urine is dark yellow, you may be dehydrated.
- Increase your fiber consumption by eating lots of fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, nuts, and bran.
- Get moving. Exercise is good for the body and mind. And it helps prevent constipation.
- Don’t take laxatives before talking with your doctor.
Things to Do This Week for a Healthy Pregnancy
1. Schedule a Prenatal Appointment with Your Doctor or Midwife
Prenatal care is important to you and your baby. If you haven’t already, now is the time to schedule your initial prenatal visit. Some doctors like to see you when you’re about six weeks pregnant. Others prefer to wait until you reach eight weeks.
2. Start Taking Multivitamins
If you haven’t already started taking a prenatal vitamin, you should start taking one this week. One of the first things your doctor will do is prescribe a supplement containing extra vitamins and minerals that you and your baby will need throughout pregnancy.
3. Don’t Smoke
Smoking increases your risk for miscarriage and other complications of pregnancy. It also increases your baby’s risk for health problems and low birth weight. Speak with your doctor to learn more about smoking cessation programs.
4. Go Alcohol-Free
Excessive drinking can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Although symptoms vary, in its most extreme form, FASD may cause abnormal facial features, learning disabilities, and other health problems.
5. Skip the Hot Tub and Sauna
Both can increase your risk for miscarriage and fetal abnormalities. As a rule of thumb, avoid activities that elevate your body temperature above 102.2 degrees.
6. Eat Well
It’s important to eat nutritious meals throughout your pregnancy. If you are experiencing morning sickness, eat the foods that sound good to you and that don’t make you sick.
7. Drink Plenty of Water
Now that you are pregnant, you need more water than you did before your pregnancy. Pregnant women should drink at least eight to 12 glasses of water a day. Dehydration can lead to serious pregnancy complications. If you are having a hard time keeping water down, try adding a squeeze of lemon. In a study, lemon aromatherapy was seen to help reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.
8. Take it Easy
Though it’s important to continue with low-impact exercise, you also need to take it easy when you’re tired.
Your First Prenatal Appointment
Although every doctor and midwife approaches care a little differently, most include the following steps in an initial prenatal visit:
- A review of your medical history, including medical conditions and surgeries you’ve had, and current prescription and over-the-counter medications. Be prepared to provide this information.
- Your weight, heart rate, and blood pressure will be checked.
- Your doctor will order routine blood tests and ask for a urine sample.
- During your pelvic exam, the doctor will examine your vagina, uterus, pelvis, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
- You’ll be given information about what to expect during your pregnancy and instructions for a safe, healthy pregnancy and baby.
- You’ll have time to ask questions. Prepare them in advance.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- vaginal bleeding
- fluid leaking from the vagina
- severe abdominal or pelvic pain
- fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- blurred vision
- severe headache
- severe or sudden swelling of the hands, face, or fingers
- pain or burning when urinating