Your pregnancy: 6 weeks

From the top of her head to the bottom of her buttocks, your baby is about 2 to 4 mm long. She’s tinier than a bean!

Today’s Parent June 28, 2019

Felt sweet pea used to show how big baby is at 6 weeks

Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 6 weeks pregnant

There are incredible changes happening to your baby this week. At six weeks pregnant, your baby’s body is taking on a C shape, and small buds that will become his arms and legs are visible . His tiny facial features, including his eyes, nose, ears, chin and cheeks, are also beginning to form. The neural tube, which connects the brain and spinal cord, will start to close (read more about the importance of taking folic acid in week 4 of pregnancy). The tissues that will eventually form the heart are beginning to beat and his blood is circulating. Your baby is about the size of a sweet pea now, and he’ll double in size again next week. (Get used to it, because babies do the same thing once they’re on the outside!)

6 weeks pregnant symptoms

Even though you probably look exactly the same to everyone else at six weeks pregnant, you’re probably not feeling like yourself at all. Hormone-fuelled symptoms, such as nausea (also known as morning sickness), pregnancy fatigue, mood swings and tender breasts, will continue or are just beginning to kick in or ramp up. If you notice that your pants are a bit snug, it’s not your baby bump just yet; increasing levels of the hormone progesterone are causing bloating and gas (ugh!). The best way to deal with these symptoms and avoid constipation during pregnancy is to eat lots of fibre and drink plenty of water—as if you weren’t going to the bathroom enough already. If you notice any pain or discomfort when you pee, it’s a good idea to rule out a urinary tract infection, which can become more common from this point onward during pregnancy.

What’s on your mind this week?

Is it safe to have a drink?
Nine months (and even longer if you gave up drinking while trying to get pregnant) is a long time to go without a glass of wine or beer—we get it. But research tells us that it’s a sacrifice well worth making. We know that alcohol in the mother’s blood will be passed to the unborn baby, and regular consumption can affect many developmental processes and lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and lifelong physical, behavioural and intellectual disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) .

What isn’t clear is whether small or occasional amounts of alcohol can have the same effect. It’s especially difficult to answer this question because it can’t be tested on pregnant women and because women have different levels of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol (this means that it stays in the system of some mothers longer than others). Putting alcohol on your “don’t” list, especially during the first trimester, is your safest bet.

Do I have to give up coffee?
The short answer is no. (Cue the chorus of angels, right?) We know that fatigue during the first trimester may have you feeling like you’re walking through quicksand (don’t worry, you’ll probably get your energy back in the second trimester) and the last thing you want is to add caffeine withdrawal to your list of symptoms. Though you may have to cut back on caffeine, you don’t have to cut it out completely. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends no more than 300 milligrams of caffeine (which is about two small cups of brewed coffee or three cups of tea) each day because consuming too much caffeine during pregnancy has been linked to low birth weight and miscarriage.

Keep a close eye on the caffeine content of soft drinks, energy drinks and chocolate, too. You can switch to instant coffee (which lets you bump up your daily intake to three cups) or steep your tea for a shorter time. (You can find a chart listing the caffeine content of common beverages here.) Decaf is a good backup beverage when you’re craving the taste of coffee. (Swiss-water decaf is healthier than chemically decaffeinated coffee, but don’t worry too much.) And check out these caffeine alternatives below.

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