You’re six weeks pregnant, and you may be beginning to feel some changes in your body. You may also be shifting from frozen in surprise to planning for the future. Let’s talk about what’s going on with your baby and your body in week 6 of pregnancy!
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Updated: July 20, 2021
Table of contents
Baby’s Development in Week 6 of Pregnancy
Now that you’re six weeks pregnant, your baby is four weeks from conception and undergoing so many changes! Baby is still tiny at 2 – 4mm or 0.08 – 0.16 of an inch, but this is two to three times the size he was in week 5 (1).
It has been a busy week for your tiny one! This week, your baby’s:
- Heart is beating approximately 80 times per minute and has most of its definitive characteristics
- Nose, mouth, and ears are beginning to form
- Hands and feet have small, webbed buds that are the beginning of fingers and toes
- Liver starts to produce blood cells (2, 3)
Week 6 Pregnancy Symptoms
You may start to notice some changes in your body this week — some of the early signs of pregnancy. (Don’t feel alarmed if you don’t notice any changes; they’ll come along soon enough. For most women, the first trimester brings along plenty of symptoms!)
Changes in Your Body
Your abdomen probably hasn’t changed much, but your weight may have gone up or down a few pounds. In early pregnancy, it’s normal for weight to rise a little as your hormone shift makes your blood volume start to increase, your breasts increase in size, etc. It’s also normal to lose a little weight, mainly due to morning sickness.
While your abdomen likely hasn’t changed much, you might notice that you feel a little bloated, similar to the way some women feel before their periods. You also may notice your breasts feeling heavy, swollen or tender. Even this early in pregnancy, your breasts are beginning to change so that they’ll eventually be able to nourish your little one.
You may have begun to experience morning sickness, which is a misleading name as this nausea can occur throughout the day. Increasing levels of hormones are thought to be the cause, and it occurs in 70 – 85% of pregnant women. Morning sickness often starts around week 6 of pregnancy and increases over the next month or two before beginning to subside for many women.
Here are some tips to help manage morning sickness:
- Eat small, frequent meals
- Increase your protein intake
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Avoid smells that bother you
- Keep snacks by the bed; try eating dry toast or crackers before getting out of bed
- Choose easy to digest foods — remember the acronym BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) when you’re struggling to keep food down
- Ginger can soothe an upset stomach, so try ginger candies, ginger tea, or ginger ale with real ginger
Up to 2% of women have hyperemesis gravidarium, a severe form of morning sickness. If you can’t keep any food or liquid down for more than 24 hours, or are becoming dehydrated, consult your doctor. (2)
Learn more: Morning Sickness vs Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Most women experience constipation during pregnancy — again, probably because of those crazy hormones! Increasing your fluid intake can help with constipation. (And staying hydrated is a good idea in general, because your body needs more fluids right now.) Exercise can also help combat constipation, as well as being good for you and baby. You can try milk of magnesia, prune juice, and high-fiber foods. Also, try using a stool or something like a Squatty Potty to make better alignment for elimination. If these things don’t help, your doctor can help you decide if a laxative is appropriate. Never take any over-the-counter or prescription meds without asking your doctor, though.
You may have noticed that your moods are all over the place. You may be weepy, irritable, anxious, elated — or all of those things in the span of an hour. As with so many things, the culprit behind this symptom is hormones. In the same way that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) makes some women feel moody, pregnancy can as well. There’s no way to fix this, but you can try getting enough rest, eating well and drinking enough, exercising, and getting some natural light each day. None of these things fix the hormone roller coaster, but they contribute to you being able to feel your best, so that at least you’re not adding to the things that are making you feel unwell. And if nothing else, sometimes it just helps to understand why you’re feeling what you are, and to know that it’s normal.
While many doctors and midwives schedule a first appointment for around eight weeks, there are a variety of reasons why you may have an ultrasound as early as this week. An ultrasound can be helpful in confirming a heartbeat, confirming due date, checking the location of the pregnancy (making sure it’s not ectopic), looking for reasons behind bleeding or pain, and more.
Here’s what to expect if you have a week six pregnancy ultrasound:
- Ultrasound may be transabdominal (scanning through the skin of the lower abdomen) or transvaginal (an internal probe that scans from inside the vagina.) Neither should cause pain or discomfort.
- You may be asked to have a full bladder. This positions everything for better visualization.
- Your doctor will be assessing the size and appearance of the baby and gestation sac, its location, the number of babies, the heartbeat, and your uterus and ovaries.
- You may not be able to recognize anything but a small sac on the screen with an ultrasound this early. You may or may not be able to see a heartbeat. Don’t worry, this is normal! You’re just in the range of when they can start to see it, but not always.
Week 6 Pregnancy: What to Expect
It’s okay if you still don’t feel different, or the pregnancy doesn’t quite feel real to you yet. Focus on taking care of your body and baby with good nutrition, plenty of water, rest, and exercise. Any of the symptoms above are normal at this point, but it’s also completely normal to have only some, or even none of them.
Now is the time to reach out to your doctor or midwife. They may not need to see you quite yet, but it’s time to get a first prenatal appointment scheduled and make sure you have a relationship with a provider who you can call with any questions or concerns.
Stop by again next week to learn about your baby and what you may experience in week 7!
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- Glade, B.C., Schuler, J. (2011). Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th edition. First Da Capo Press.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2010). Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month, 5th edition.
- Ladewig, P.A., London, M.L., Davidson, M.R. (2006). Contemporary Maternal-Newborn Nursing Care, 6th edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ.