First and foremost, Congratulations! Many women discover they’re pregnant at around 5 to 6 weeks gestation (that’s dated since the first day of your last period). At 6 weeks pregnant, although the baby (or embryo, at this stage) is as small as a pea, the hormonal changes can cause your body to experience some of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy.
If you haven’t already, you may wish to find your midwife or other LMC as they will be able to listen for baby’s heartbeat and send you for a ‘dating scan’ if you wish too. Your LMC (midwife or obstetrician) will provide you with all or most of your pregnancy care and will continue to look after you for 6 weeks postnatally too. It is a very personal choice whether to have a midwife or obstetrician as your LMC, so don’t be afraid to have a conversation with a couple of them, and ask for advice from friends and family.
Signs and Symptoms at 6 Weeks Pregnant
Pregnancy is so different for all women, so don’t be alarmed if you aren’t feeling any signs or symptoms of pregnancy at all. Personally, I didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms during my first pregnancy except for exhaustion, until around 20 weeks. For some, feeling symptoms of pregnancy can be reassuring that your body is going through the changes it needs to, while others will wish they’d go away!
As your HCG levels increase, you may be nauseous, low on energy, have mild cramps, need to pee often, be feeling emotionally sensitive, and even sensitive to smells and tastes. You may experience other symptoms similar to those you have on your period, like tender breasts too, or you could start feeling feel bloated, like you have a pregnant belly already. This may pass, though women on their second pregnancies do start to ‘show’ earlier, some as soon as in their sixth week of pregnancy.
At six weeks gestation, your embryo is now around half a centimetre in length – about the size of a small pea, or sweetpea! At this stage a heartbeat can often be seen on an ultrasound, beating around 150-160 bpm which is twice the rate of an adult.
Your baby is very busy growing – their kidneys, liver and intestines are all developing as well as the appendix and the respiratory system. Some facial features, such as nostrils and eyes, are becoming a little more distinct – and optical vessels can be seen on the face, while the embryo will also begin to sprout arms and legs with their hands and feet resembling little paddles, which will eventually become fingers and toes. The embryo’s head is still very large in relation to its body however, little folds are already forming what will become their face and jaw.
If you have already seen a doctor or booked in with a midwife, they may send you for a dating scan at around 6 weeks. Your 6 week embryo will look like a little tadpole, rather than a baby, on the scan, but it can be reassuring to see it taking shape and hear the heartbeat.
Don’t be alarmed if your estimated due date is moved during your dating scan – during both of mine, my pregnancy was moved backwards (so I thought I was 8 weeks pregnant but wasn’t even 6 weeks, during my first, so was quite disappointed!). If you’d like to, you can also read my 6 Weeks Pregnant Diary Entry.
Make sure to ask for a photo of your scan, which you can include in your made with love pregnancy journal. If you haven’t started it yet, you can also receive your first few weeks of the journal free by subscribing.
Tips for 6 weeks pregnant
As I’m sure you already know, you should try to eliminate smoking, drugs and alcohol from now on. A 6 week embryo is growing vital organs and any illicit substances can affect their formation. Your positive lifestyle changes will have a direct effect at 6 weeks pregnant. Don’t hesitate to reach out to services such as Quitline or your GP for support in doing this.
Even at just 6 weeks pregnant you may also wish to consider What Foods to Avoid While Pregnant, though don’t worry if you have already consumed some of these, and make sure you’re including a folic acid supplement.
If you haven’t already, check out What to do when you find out you’re pregnant.