Pregnancy Week by Week
While there are several stages of pregnancy, the first trimester is the only one that begins without you knowing you’re about to be pregnant and ends with you experiencing common symptoms, like nausea and vomiting, that leave you with little doubt.
Of course, every pregnancy is different, but a healthy pregnancy tends to follow a pretty reliable trajectory that you can really count on.
First, you have a normal menstrual cycle, and your body prepares itself for future motherhood. At this point, you’re feeling totally normal because you’re used to having premenstrual symptoms every month like clockwork. And this month is no different.
To make it easier on your doctor, the first day of your last menstrual cycle will eventually mark the first week of your pregnancy—even though your baby hasn’t technically been conceived yet. It will also help them calculate your due date roughly 40 weeks from now.
So, all in all, week 1 is pretty important to the entire process even though the baby doesn’t exist just yet.
Around week 2, you ovulate. This means that one of your ovaries releases the mature egg that has been preparing for its big debut ever since last week. The mature egg that was released, or more than one egg in certain cases, then travels down into one of your fallopian tubes where it gets fertilized by the healthy sperm that your partner has recently contributed.
Most women are only fertile between 5 to 7 days each month. So, the timing has to be just right for conception to take place.
In week 3, the fertilized egg, or blastocyst, travels down the fallopian tube and into your uterus where it starts the implantation process. At this time, you may experience light cramping, similar to period cramps, and notice bright pink or red spotting—which is known as implantation bleeding.
Next, you miss your period during week 4, and that’s often the first major sign that something may be different about this month. This early in your pregnancy, common symptoms include bloating, tender breasts, and mild bouts of nausea, but you may ignore these symptoms or simply shrug them off until your period doesn’t arrive.
By week 5, pregnancy hormones are really flowing through your body, so morning sickness can happen any time of day or night due to these hormonal changes. Plus, other symptoms of pregnancy kick into high gear around this time as well.
6 Weeks Pregnant
During week 6 of pregnancy, your embryo looks like a tiny tadpole. Its arms and legs are in the shape of little buds right now, and it even has a small tail. Spending its days all curled up in the fetal position, your baby stays safe and cozy inside mom’s womb.
At this stage, your growing baby is around 6 mm long, the size of a sweet pea. And it is growing and developing more each day.
Of course, the baby isn’t noticeably moving around in your belly due to its small size. But, if you were to schedule an early vaginal ultrasound, you should be able to see or hear the baby’s heart beating by now.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Pregnant women 6 weeks along experience a whole host of symptoms that range from headaches to food aversions, morning sickness, using the bathroom more often, and sore breasts. Other common pregnancy symptoms, at this time, include heartburn and indigestion, fatigue, bloating, gas, and mood swings.
You may even notice a metallic taste in your mouth from time to time, experience more vivid dreams, or have a stronger sense of smell.
Pregnant Belly at 6 Weeks
So much is happening inside your belly every day, it can be hard to believe that you can’t see any of these changes on the outside. Apart from some normal bloating, the telltale pregnant belly usually doesn’t make its first appearance until weeks 16 to 20.
While you might enjoy wearing stretchy pants now, you won’t officially need maternity clothes just yet. At best, your belly might be a little round and squishy, but it won’t look like a basketball or watermelon.
Development at 6 Weeks
By the time you’re 6 weeks pregnant, your baby’s development is in full swing. Your precious one is still pretty small, but that doesn’t mean incredible things aren’t happening inside and outside its body.
For example, the chin, jaw, and cheeks are starting to develop on your little one’s face. Their inner ears are starting to form on the sides of the head. And major organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver are all becoming more complex every day.
Plus, their tongue, vocal cords, and skin are taking shape.
But baby development doesn’t end there. The eyes and nose are at the very early stages of development this week, resembling black spots or thickened areas. And all of these features will help your embryo look more like a baby than a tadpole in the coming weeks.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s a good idea to schedule your first prenatal appointment rather quickly. During your visit, you can learn more about all the stages of pregnancy and talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you might be having.
They can explain how pregnancy is measured, tell you to avoid high-mercury fish like swordfish, remind you to take prenatal vitamins and folic acid, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and suggest drinking ginger tea if you experience nausea.
Plus, they can also recognize the signs of being pregnant with twins or suffering an ectopic pregnancy early on. And they can inform you about all the risks associated with high-risk pregnancy.
Lastly, they can test how much pregnancy hormone hcg is in your system, help you quit bad habits like smoking, drinking, or ingesting other substances that harm your baby, and take measurements to ensure that your baby is growing right on schedule.