Week 6 is a very exciting week for you and baby. Some critical milestones in your baby’s development will happen this week. The baby’s heartbeat will now be detectable and facial features are beginning to form. As for you, if you haven’t experienced some of the more common side effects like nausea and tender breasts, you are likely to do so this week.
Your Baby This Week
Your sweet pea is now around the size of, well, a sweet pea or about 0.65cm (a quarter of an inch).
Your baby’s brain continues to develop rapidly during your sixth week of pregnancy and the heartbeat is now visible during an ultrasound, though most women do not have their first ultrasound this early in the pregnancy.
Your baby’s circulatory system is starting to work and is delivering blood to all parts of the embryo. Those little buds that recently formed are now beginning to move and resemble hands and feet. Facial features are also developing. Your baby’s eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, and chin will soon be recognisable. For now, they look like dark spots. Even at this early stage in your pregnancy, your baby’s voice box is already forming. A small groove called the laryngotracheal groove is now present, which is the beginning of the larynx, or voice box. The workings of the inner ear are also present. Amazingly, your baby will soon be able to hear from inside the womb!
Your Body This Week
Your body will go through many changes during your pregnancy, but this week you may find that the changes are all taking place in your breasts. Approximately 90 percent of all pregnant women will experience changes in their breasts around the sixth week. You may start to notice that your breasts are increasingly tender. There may even be a tingling sensation and they could feel heavier and fuller than they usually do. Additionally, your areola (the dark circle around the nipple of your breast) may begin to grow darker and larger. Although scientists are not completely sure why this happens, many believe that the new level of hormones and the higher volume of blood circulating in your body are the cause. There are also some who believe that the areola darkens to help a newborn baby, who has limited vision, find the breasts easier.
The typical pregnant woman will gain just over 2 kilos (5 pounds) during the first trimester. During this sixth week, you might notice a minimal amount of weight gain. Of course, this depends on the amount of morning sickness you have had - some women actually lose weight during the first trimester when they are plagued with nausea. If you are having severe nausea or morning sickness you should discuss it with your doctor. There is a complication in pregnancy called hyperemusus gravidarum that is characterised by extreme nausea and vomiting so severe that a woman’s body will become dehydrated and she will develop an electrolyte deficiency. This is a dangerous state for an unborn baby and normally requires hospitalisation in order to restore the fluids and electrolytes.