6 Weeks Pregnant
Has the news sunk in yet? At week six, pregnancy is still new to you, so it’s normal to feel a little emotional. Add to that some pretty uncomfortable early pregnancy symptoms (which include hormone fluctuations that can feel like PMS—on steroids!), and it’s understandable to feel downright miserable. Did we mention nervous and uncertain? That’s probably part of why you have 40 weeks to adjust to pregnancy. Of course, it’s also because baby needs all that time to get all their working parts in order. For updates on what’s happening with you and baby throughout your pregnancy, sign up for The Bump pregnancy week-by-week newsletter emails.
At 6 weeks pregnant, baby is the size of a sweet pea. The average embryo at week six is about .25 inches and will double in size again next week. Wow!
Remember, doctors generally refer to pregnancy by week, not month. But if you’re wondering, “how long is 6 weeks pregnant?” you’re one month and about two weeks pregnant—even though it’s probably been only a week or two (or even less) since you found out you were expecting. That’s because pregnancy is measured starting with the first day of your last menstrual period. You probably conceived in week 2 or 3 (depending on the length of your menstrual cycle) and didn’t discover your pregnancy until you missed your period around week 5.
Because it’s still early in your pregnancy, you may not yet be experiencing symptoms—at this point, some women are terribly nauseous, while others feel almost nothing. At 6 weeks pregnant, either is normal, but the most common 6 weeks pregnant symptoms include:
- Fatigue. You’re so drained because your body is still getting used to your changing hormones. Get extra rest if you’re feeling wiped out.
- Nausea. Hate to break it, but morning sickness doesn't just happen in the morning. It can be an all-day affair. And moms-to-be who are 6 weeks pregnant with twins might have even more severe nausea. It’s a good idea to find foods that help settle your stomach and to keep them on hand for regular snacking, since having an empty stomach can trigger bouts of nausea.
- Sore breasts. Your breasts are likely sore thanks to increased blood flow. Can you believe your body is already starting to prep to breastfeed your baby? Yep, even at just 6 weeks!
- Frequent urination. If you find yourself having to pee more than usual, it’s in part because the pregnancy hormone hCG is directing extra blood flow to the pelvic area. Heading to the bathroom more often is normal, but if you have painful urination or have the urge to go but are unable to, tell your doctor right away. Those are signs of a UTI, which you’re at higher risk for starting at week 6 of pregnancy.
- Gas and bloating. The pregnancy hormone progesterone can cause these tummy troubles. Drink lots of water and eat fiber-rich foods to avoid constipation (yuck), which contributes to bloating (double yuck).
- Mood swings. Yup, crankiness and emotional extremes are because of the hormones. Fatigue and fluctuations in blood sugar can contribute, too, so get extra rest and regularly eat healthy meals and snacks to help keep your mood (at least sort of) in check.
- Cramping and spotting. At 6 weeks pregnant—and any time in early pregnancy— cramping and spotting are both common. We know these symptoms can make you worry about problems like ectopic pregnancy at 6 weeks and other types of miscarriage. Know that if any abdominal pain is severe (stronger than period cramps) or if bleeding becomes heavy like a period, you should call the doctor.
What to expect at 6 weeks pregnant
At 6 weeks pregnant, reality is sinking in. You might feel excited or nervous, or you might feel completely overwhelmed by the prospect of carrying baby for the next 34 weeks. These feelings are normal, and you might find you swing from one feeling to the next—also normal. Expect things to feel like they’re changing, because they are, and whether or not you feel physically different, it’s okay to feel however you feel.
Though it’s common to be bloated at 6 weeks pregnant, you likely don’t look pregnant at all. Inside your 6 weeks pregnant belly, your rapidly growing pea-sized embryo will soon take up a greater amount of real estate in your belly. So if you’re not ready to share your news with the world, you can enjoy your little secret for a little longer. Of course, if you’re 6 weeks pregnant with twins, belly expansion will happen a little sooner than it will for other moms-to-be.
What does a pregnant belly feel like?
So how does your stomach feel in early pregnancy? Your 6-weeks-pregnant bump isn’t much of a bump yet, so you’re the only one who will notice any differences. That said, since you’re probably starting to feel some cramping and bloating, your belly might feel a little bigger than normal. If pants feel tight or uncomfortable, now’s the time to integrate some stretchier waistbands to give that tummy room. Whether that tummy expansion currently comes from your growing baby or just gas doesn’t really matter as long as you’re as comfy as possible.
If you’ve let your doctor know you’re 6 weeks pregnant, they may have asked you to go in for your first prenatal appointment right away, but more likely, they may have told you to wait a few weeks. In fact, the first prenatal checkup is usually at about 8 or 9 weeks. So unless yours is a high-risk pregnancy, you probably won’t have a 6-week ultrasound. We know the anticipation is killing you!
Still, you’re probably wondering what’s going on inside your 6-week pregnant belly. Well, many of the crucial areas of baby development have already started. Baby's circulating blood with an increasingly sophisticated circulatory system. Baby might even be wiggling their paddle-like hands and feet. Your 6-week embryo is about to get cuter too, since they’re starting to sprout a nose, eyes, ears, chin and cheeks.
If you did have a 6-week ultrasound, the doctor might be able to see a fetal pole or fetal heartbeat—a clear sign that you’ve got an embryo developing in there. However, if the doctor doesn’t see a fetal pole or heartbeat, don’t panic—you might not be as far along as you thought. The doctor will probably ask you to come back in a few days or a week for another ultrasound.
And yes, if you are 6 weeks pregnant with twins, you’ll likely be able to see two distinct gestational sacs or yolk sacs on the ultrasound at this point. While you wait for your doctor’s appointment, you probably have a million questions on your mind. Write them down so you have them ready to ask your OB at your first prenatal visit. (Until then, we hope we’ve answered—and can continue to answer—a bunch for you.)
What does baby look like at 6 weeks?
Your 6-week-old-embryo is starting to look more baby-like. While that curled up little pea-size body still has a wee tail, it’s growing and developing fast. Baby now has an optic ventricle, which will eventually become the eyes, and a heart that has divided into four chambers and will start to beat this week. There are little limb buds that will become the chubby arms and legs you won’t want to stop kissing. Facial features are beginning to form too.
Prepare for your first prenatal appointment
You’ll have a lot of questions at the first appointment, so make sure you write down anything that comes to mind before you see your doctor. Take note of symptoms, family history and any concerns that might arise as you get closer to your very first prenatal checkup.
Baby is still in the early stages of developing all their critical systems, so now is the time to play it safe. Go light on caffeine, get extra sleep and steer clear of any activity that could expose you to chemicals or extreme temperatures (hot tubs and saunas are a no-no). Just focus on taking good care of yourself instead.
Go when you gotta go
Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing UTIs, so make sure you drink lots of water and don’t hold it when you have to pee. Needing to pee often is normal when you’re pregnant, but feeling like you constantly have to go or feeling burning or pain when you pee are signs of a UTI.
It’s hard to eat all the right things and get daily exercise when you’re exhausted and want to puke all the time. You don’t have to be perfect—just find balance. Sneak in a walk or a light yoga session when you have the energy. Eat well when you can stomach it, but when all you can handle are bland carbs, try rice cakes or popcorn to get a little nutritional value.
Reminders for the week: