Week 6 of Your Pregnancy

A look at your body, your baby, and more

Pregnancy Week 6

Welcome to week 6 of your pregnancy. It’s very common to feel the full force of your hormonal changes right about now. Your breasts are tender; your bladder is feeling full; fatigue is wearing you down; and, if you haven’t already experienced it, morning sickness might start to affect you. It stands to reason: Your growing baby’s brain, nervous system, heart, and more are rapidly developing right now.


Your Trimester: First trimester

Weeks to Go: 34

You This Week

As your baby grows, so does the amount of the hormones estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)  coursing through your body. Right now, levels of hCG double every two to three days, peaking at week 10. It’s this surge that causes first-trimester nausea and vomiting in up to 80 percent of pregnant women, according to research. “Two to three weeks after conception—which is about week 6 of your pregnancy—is often when morning sickness starts,” says Allison Hill, M.D., an OB-GYN and author of Your Pregnancy, Your Way and co-author of The Mommy Doc’s Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.

While dubbed ‘morning sickness,’ these feelings can also really be considered afternoon sickness, night sickness, or all-day sickness. Most women feel much better by week 14 or so, but that’s not always the case. In fact, 1 in 300 pregnant women experience what’s called hyperemesis gravidarum, which is prolonged, extreme nausea and vomiting with few—if any—symptom-free periods.

If you suspect you have hyperemesis gravidarum, talk to your healthcare provider about medical intervention.

Nausea and vomiting aren’t the only things causing you to run to the ladies’ room. During pregnancy, the amount of blood pumped by the heart each minute increases by 30 percent to 50 percent.

This boost begins by week 6 and peaks between week 16 and week 28. While most of that blood boost comes later, the initial uptick—which causes more blood to flow to your kidneys—increases your need to urinate. Plus, your bladder sits directly in front of your uterus. As your uterus grows, it pushes against the bladder, which means you’ll feel the urge to urinate more frequently.

Your Baby This Week

While your half-inch (from crown to rump) embryo doesn’t look much like a baby yet, he or she now sports two distinct black spots on either side of it’s rapidly maturing head. These are optic vesicles, which will later form eyes.

At the same, much of baby’s other distinguishing features, like nose, ears, and jaw, are beginning to take shape. Rudimentary, web-like hands and feet are sprouting, too. Plus, development of the digestive and respiratory systems is in early stages.

But perhaps the most exciting development this week is that a transvaginal ultrasound would likely be able to detect the fetal pole, which is a collection of fetal cells separate from the yolk sack and the earliest visual evidence of a developing baby.

At Your Doctor’s Office

While waiting is hard, you likely only have three more weeks until your first prenatal visit.

However, at this time, some women may be referred for an early ultrasound. An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves on a woman’s abdomen or inside her vagina to create a picture, or a sonogram, of the baby.

Your healthcare provider might recommend this early peek inside if you’ve gone through a prior miscarriage or difficult pregnancy, or if you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding. It’s true that some spotting is considered normal at this time, but if your bleeding is heavy and/or there is clotting and cramping, seeing your healthcare provider for an ultrasound is recommended. “I’ve had patients who’ve had a significant amount of bleeding in their first trimester go on to have perfectly normal pregnancies,” says Dr. Hill.

“However, it’s hard to distinguish what’s normal and what’s not without getting an ultrasound.”

Taking Care

If you are frequently using the bathroom to urinate, that’s actually good news. This means that you’re likely getting enough water, which plays an important role in placenta formation. (You should aim to consume at least eight to 12 glasses a day.) Likewise, if you’re not urinating more than usual, this could be a sign that you may need more fluids—or that you may be ignoring your body’s cues.

“While it can be inconvenient, it’s so important not to hold your urine for long periods of time,” says Dr. Hill. When urine remains in the bladder for a long stretch, there’s a greater chance that germs can develop and a urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur. Starting at week 6 of pregnancy, women are at increased risk for UTIs, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

To keep nausea and vomiting at bay (or at least try to tame it):

  • Eat small, frequent snacks throughout the day in lieu of three big meals.

  • Nibble on bland soda crackers about 15 minutes before getting out of bed.

  • Avoid warm places, as being hot tends to increase feelings of nausea.

  • Don’t lie down immediately after eating.

Also, research in the journal Integrative Medicine Insights notes that ginger is a safe, effective, and inexpensive treatment for pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. (You can consume raw or crystallized ginger, ginger capsules or lollipops, or ginger tea.) But if nothing is working for you, don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider to prescribe a safe anti-nausea medication. “If you’re feeling very nauseous and have no appetite, it’s OK to skip a meal. You’re not going to harm your growing baby. Instead, simply focus on staying hydrated and feeling better,” says Dr. Hill.

Beyond the obvious physical unpleasantries of nausea and vomiting, there’s the emotional toll, too. “Unfortunately, nausea usually starts during the window when women are encouraged to keep a lid on their pregnancy news, making asking for help and understanding much trickier,” says psychotherapist Nitzia Logothetis, MSc, MA, MHC-LP, the founder and chairwoman of the Seleni Institute, a nonprofit organization that specializes in women’s maternal and reproductive mental health. “However, if you’re feeling sick, it’s important for your mental health to ask for support when you need it.”

That means reaching out to your doctor and sharing how you really feel; calling friends who have been through it; and explaining to others what you’re experiencing and how they can help. “And don’t try to minimize how lousy you may feel,” says Logothetis.

Special Considerations

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common bacterial infection in pregnancy. But since the traditional signs of a UTI—like urgency and frequency of urination—are normal side effects of pregnancy, you may be unaware that you even have an infection. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of other UTI symptoms, like pain, burning, or discomfort when urinating; blood or mucus in the urine; and cloudy or foul-smelling urine. If you experience any of these, contact your healthcare provider who can easily treat your infection with antibiotics. “Although UTIs don't cause birth defects like some other infections, they can turn into a more serious kidney infection if left untreated. And they can put you at an increased risk for preterm labor,” says Dr. Hill.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Your first prenatal visit is just around the corner. Prepare yourself by gathering some vital information that your healthcare provider will likely ask for on visit number one. (You may even want a designated pregnancy notebook to jot everything down in, so your notes and questions are always in the same spot.)

Some things you may want to record prior to that initial visit:

  • Date of your last menstrual period

  • Details of any past pregnancies and/or births

  • Dates of any past miscarriages and/or pregnancy terminations

  • Family medical history (for both you and your partner), including any cognitive impairments; birth defects; early infant loss; deformities; or any inherited diseases, such as Tay-Sachs disease, hemophilia, muscular dystrophy, or cystic fibrosis

  • Prescription, over-the-counter, and/or herbal medications you are taking

  • Allergies to medications

  • Any past or current medical or emotional issues

  • Past hospitalizations

At the same time, write down any questions or concerns you’d like to go over. Reviewing popular questions asked by other moms-to-be is a good way to get started.

For Partners

Do you have an outdoor cat? If so, you’ll need to take over litter-box duty throughout your partner’s pregnancy. And change it daily. Cats who explore the outdoors often eat rodents, birds, or other items contaminated with a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that, when excreted out, can infect a pregnant woman and the baby she’s carrying.

Verywell Checklist  

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins.

  • Increase your water intake to about eight to 12 glasses a day.

  • If needed, stock up on nausea remedies.

  • Start a pregnancy notebook.

  • Record your personal, family, and partner’s medical history; speak to relatives for more details, if needed.

Last Week: Week 5
Coming Up: Week 7


Allison Hill, M.D. Email communication. October, November 2017.

American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy Symptoms—Early Signs of Pregnancy http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/

Iñaki Lete, José Allué. The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integr Med Insights. 2016; 11: 11–17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818021/

Merck Manual Consumer Version. Physical Changes During Pregnancy. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/women-s-health-issues/normal-pregnancy/physical-changes-during-pregnancy

Nitzia Logothetis, MSc, MA, MHC-LP. Email communication. November 2017.

Pepper GV, Craig Roberts S. Rates of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and dietary characteristics across populations. Proc Biol Sci. 2006 Oct 22;273(1601):2675-9. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/273/1601