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6 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

When you’re six weeks pregnant, your little one continues to develop new features. This week’s most important milestone: The embryo’s heart, brain and neural tube continue their formation. There is now a bulge where the heart will be and a bump where the head will be at the ‘head end’ of the neural tube. At this point, the embryo kind of looks like a tadpole with a curved shape, a tail, and a thin layer of transparent skin.

There’s more! This week, the beginnings of what will become the eyes and ears start to appear. It’s early days, so the eyes are simply raised bumps and the ears are tiny dimples. What will be your baby’s arms and legs have started to form and they now look like tiny buds.

A heartbeat may be detectable if you were to be offered a vaginal ultrasound scan at six weeks pregnant. If you’re wondering how far along you are and when you might be meeting your baby, our Due Date Calculator can help.

How Big Is Your Baby at 6 Weeks?

When you’re six weeks pregnant, the embryo is about 6 mm long — about the size of a pomegranate seed!

Embryo at 6 weeks pregnant

Mum's Body at 6 Weeks Pregnant

This week, you may be noticing several early signs of pregnancy and be finding the going quite tough, or none at all! It’s also possible to be six weeks pregnant with no symptoms or only a few of them. Every pregnancy and every woman is different. If you’re worried about your symptoms – or lack of them – schedule an appointment with your doctor for a checkup.

At this stage, you might look exactly the same on the outside and you won’t be showing a bump yet. People probably won’t even suspect you’re pregnant. You might be happy about this, particularly if you want to keep your news private for a little while longer. Or, if you’ve decided not to announce your pregnancy yet, you could find that it’s annoying that you can’t share why you’re suddenly feeling extra tired or nauseous. With any luck most people will be tactful, but it might help to be prepared with an excuse about why you’re feeling under the weather or saying no to a glass of wine.

6 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Sore breasts. Around this time, your breasts may feel tingly or tender to touch, and look a little fuller. You might also find that the veins on your breasts become darker and the nipples may also become darker and stand out more.
  • Spotting. It’s not unusual to see some light spotting at six weeks pregnant, around the time of your missed period. It could be implantation bleeding, which happens when the embryo burrows into the lining of your uterus. It’s a good idea to consult your midwife or doctor about any bleeding during pregnancy, just to be on the safe side.
  • Cramping. At six weeks pregnant, slight cramping can be normal. It might be due to your growing uterus, constipation or trapped wind. If you feel pain more severe than period pain, or also experience bleeding, shoulder pain, fever or a burning sensation when you pee, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Morning sickness. This may be the week morning sickness arrives. Hormonal changes in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy may be responsible. Contrary to the name, it can strike any time of day or night but may be worst first thing in the morning. It might help to eat something bland (like toast) as soon as you wake up, to eat six small meals a day, to eat cold rather than hot foods and to avoid smells and tastes that make you feel sick. You might also find eating ginger or sucking on ice cubes helps with the nausea. Although this symptom is super annoying, try not to get disheartened! Lots of mums-to-be find that it subsides sometime between week 16 or 20 of pregnancy. Chat with your doctor if you’re vomiting non-stop or if you’re not keeping water down.
  • Exhaustion. Pregnancy fatigue is a thing… Being completely exhausted in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is normal, and you can thank hormonal changes for feeling this way. Taking naps can help as can getting help with chores and errands.
  • Frequent urination. It’s also normal to run to the bathroom more often than usual – especially at night. Read up on frequent urination during pregnancy to help you get a handle on this symptom.
  • Mood swings. Are you feeling emotional? Or different to how you thought you would? Know that there is no right or wrong answer to how you should be feeling at six weeks pregnant. Mood swings are common during pregnancy but if your feelings are affecting your ability to do your daily tasks, speak to your midwife. If you have a pre-existing mental health problem, it’s a good idea to tell your doctor about your pregnancy and find out whether any treatment you’re getting needs to be adjusted in light of this.

6 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Check what healthcare services are available. You can go to nhs.uk/service-search to find out what’s available in your area. Your midwife and doctor can also point you in the right direction. It’s good to know that you are entitled to free NHS prescriptions and free NHS dental treatment during pregnancy.
  • A healthy diet during pregnancy is important. Drink plenty of water; eat nutritious foods including lots of fruit, vegetables, protein; and avoid those foods that aren’t safe to eat when pregnant, like some types of fish, for example. Keep in mind you don’t need to eat for two when it comes to portion sizes, but you do need to eat for the health and wellbeing of the two of you. Read up on how much weight to gain during pregnancy for more advice on this topic.
  • It’s natural for there to be times when you have lots of concerns and when you feel overwhelmed. If your mind is racing, write down your thoughts in a pregnancy journal – it might help you feel a little better. You could also make a list of questions for your doctor. This might help you feel more in control, as you’ll know that you’ll be able to get answers at your next antenatal visit.
  • Download our Pregnancy Guide, which has more information to help you navigate the first trimester of your pregnancy and beyond.
  • Take a look at your closet. Do you have some stretchy or roomy clothing to wear during the coming weeks as your body starts to grow? You’ll want to stay comfy even if you’re not yet ready to transition into maternity clothes. Don't forget to increase your bra size when needed for your comfort.
  • Around this time, you may also want to start a week-by-week photo journal or a pregnancy scrapbook full of your notes, photos, and mementos, as a nice way to celebrate your pregnancy. This is also a lovely keepsake you can share with your child in a few years’ time.
  • It’s still too early to tell if you’re pregnant with twins or more. At six weeks pregnant you might be analysing your belly size or symptoms to try to guess but you’ll only get an answer at your dating scan, which happens between week 8 and 14.

6 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Should you be taking prenatal vitamins?
  • What are some safe options for exercising while pregnant?
  • How can you avoid infections that might harm the embryo?
  • Where will you give birth, and what should you know in advance about the facility and its procedures?
  • If you have a chronic condition (like diabetes, epilepsy or high blood pressure) for which you take medication, how can you manage your condition safely during pregnancy?
  • At six weeks pregnant should your belly be thickening? When will your baby bump start to show?
  • When should you tell your boss that you are pregnant? Is six weeks pregnant too early?

6 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

If you found out you were pregnant via a home pregnancy test, see your GP to let them know the great news. Your GP will explain the antenatal care you can expect over the coming months and point you in the direction of a midwife, if you don’t already have one.

Arrange an appointment with your midwife before you hit the 10-week mark. At your first appointment you can ask about the rest of your antenatal care, discuss the choices you have about where to give birth and ask any questions you have.

Although it’s early days, it’s good to be prepared, so read up on your maternity leave rights and responsibilities.

It’s easier said than done, but if you smoke, it’s time to quit. This is one of the top things you can do for the health of the developing embryo – and for you! Ask for help from your GP or head to your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Service. You can do it!

There’s no rush, but why not start daydreaming about the perfect boy and girl names? Our Baby Name Generator can help you start a shortlist of favourites.

Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips:

6 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Sign up for weekly pregnancy tips

If you found out you were pregnant via a home pregnancy test, see your GP to let them know the great news. Your GP will explain the antenatal care you can expect over the coming months and point you in the direction of a midwife, if you don’t already have one.

Arrange an appointment with your midwife before you hit the 10-week mark. At your first appointment you can ask about the rest of your antenatal care, discuss the choices you have about where to give birth and ask any questions you have.

Although it’s early days, it’s good to be prepared, so read up on your maternity leave rights and responsibilities.

It’s easier said than done, but if you smoke, it’s time to quit. This is one of the top things you can do for the health of the developing embryo – and for you! Ask for help from your GP or head to your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Service. You can do it!

There’s no rush, but why not start daydreaming about the perfect boy and girl names? Our Baby Name Generator can help you start a shortlist of favourites.

Sign up for weekly pregnancy tips: