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6 Weeks Pregnant


Image: Fetal Development At 6 Weeks

Your blastocyst, tiny though it is, is forming two separate parts: the amniotic cavity (or yolk sac) and the embryo (your baby). The yolk sac will nourish and protect your little baby through the early stages of your pregnancy.

This is a very exciting time in the growth of your little embryo. Early cells of the digestive system and stomach are appearing. Tiny little buds are forming on your baby which will grow to become little arms, legs, fingers and toes. And a microscopic photo would pick up vertebrae seeds of the spine!

At the moment, the placenta is only just beginning to develop and won’t be ready for a while yet. The umbilical cord is also growing and partly visible now, and the very beginnings of your baby’s central nervous system are developing.

This is the time when many women begin to experience morning sickness, and though it’s a pain, there are some beneficial reasons for it.

Firstly, your body in such large surges. Secondly, you have much greater sensitivity in your gastro-intestinal tract at this time, and many doctors believe this is because your clever system is trying to reject any toxins that might be harmful for your baby.

Try to stick to healthy foods, and definitely avoid things like soft cheeses, raw or undercooked meat, or raw or runny eggs – these can contain bacteria that could be harmful to your baby. Also, be sure to wash vegetables and fruit, and always wear gloves if you’re working with any soil.

There are other little lifestyle changes that you should be making too. For example, you can get out of changing your cat litter as a protective health measure! This is to guard against the very rare chance of contracting toxoplasmosis, which can be picked up from germs in faeces or faecal traces of vermin and rodent eating cats. It’s not that you have to get rid of your cat, but you must be very strict about hygiene. That’s one chore you can cross off your list then!

I have recently become pregnant – is it normal to have light cramps?
Yes, sometimes women can feel light cramps as their womb expands to accommodate the developing baby. Earlier on you may also have felt cramps as the egg journeyed to embed in your womb. As long as you have no other symptoms, this light discomfort should be nothing to worry about.

Why are my breasts so sore?
Tenderness in your breasts will probably be the earliest sign that you’re pregnant – many women notice it before they’ve even taken a test. For most women it lasts throughout the first trimester at least, although some women find it disappears and then returns.

Those pesky hormones! Surges in hormones can increase blood flow and cause breast tissue changes, which can make your breasts feel sore, tingly, and sensitive. If you regularly experience breast tenderness before your monthly period then this may feel like a heightened version of that.

What other changes will I experience in my breasts?
On top of the tenderness, beginning at around 6 weeks your will breasts will appear swollen (which is the part many women don’t mind!) In fact throughout your pregnancy you’re likely to go up one or two cup sizes, especially if this is your first. Because the skin is stretching, don’t be surprised if your breasts itch a bit and you notice a few stretch marks on them.

Many women find their veins become more visible around their breasts. You’ll probably find your nipples grow darker and larger. In the second trimester your areolas – the pigmented circles surrounding your nipples – will also darken and expand.

Perhaps you’ve already noticed the small bumps on your areolas in the past. These are an oil-producing gland called Montgomery’s tubercles and in pregnancy they will become a lot more defined.

Sometime around your third month, your breasts begin to produce colostrum, the special yellowish post-birth milk full of nutrients your baby needs when he begins feeding. In the latest months of your pregnancy you may find your breasts begin to leak colostrum and you’ll have to get the breast-pads out! Having said that, some women don’t leak at all – it really just varies.

Can I do anything to relieve my breast soreness?
It’s important to get yourself some suitable bras now. Remember your breasts will be getting heavier and heavier as your pregnancy progresses. Start by getting your changing bust measured in a maternity shop or department store. You should be able to find a knowledgeable salesperson that can help you find the right fit.

You may find under-wired bras less comfy now you’re expecting. Your nipples will be very sensitive to chafing, so stick to natural fabrics like cotton and avoid bras with seams near the nipple. Many women find maternity bras helpful as they are designed especially with all these factors in mind. You might also find pregnancy sleep bras helpful. For exercise, it’s crucial to wear a supportive exercise bra. Later on in your third trimester you might want to go shopping for nursing bras for after the big day!

Some mums-to-be find it helpful to buy bras with growth room. Since your bust will probably go up a size or two, buy bras that fit you on the tightest clasp – that way you have a bit of growth room before you have to buy bigger bras. The same goes for any nursing bras you buy before the birth.

I had breast soreness and now it seems to have passed – is this normal?
Yes, variations in breast tenderness are perfectly normal. Many women experience fullness, soreness and tingling in early pregnancy and then find that it only last for a few weeks. Some women then find it returns, and some women don’t experience many breast symptoms at all until quite late in pregnancy. It really just varies.

Possible Scan at Week 6
An Early Pregnancy Viability Scan can be helpful if you feel a bit worried or just want to make sure that all is well with your baby.

This scan is advised for women over 35, and strongly recommended for women over 40. It’s especially important to have this scan if you’ve had vaginal bleeding or suspect an ectopic pregnancy.

Early Pregnancy Scan

Early Pregnancy Scan Picture (Click image to enlarge)

Viability scans are easily performed trans-abdominally (through the tummy) at 7-11 weeks of pregnancy as long as you are not overweight or have a womb that is tilted backwards.

If you’re having the scan because of a concern about a possible ectopic pregnancy, this scan can be conducted at 6-7 weeks, though at this time it would need to be performed trans-vaginally.