Welcome to Week 6 of Your Pregnancy!
The Embryonic Stage
Week 6 is the first week of the what we consider the embryonic stage. The embryonic phase is a time during which all major internal and external structures begin to form. Although most organ function remains minimal the cardiovascular system develops rapidly and a beating heart can be detected by ultrasound. The appearance of the embryo changes dramatically and this disk like structure transforms into a C-shaped structure and starts to develop a human like appearance.
By 6 weeks the embryo’s nose, mouth, and ears are beginning to take shape. Your baby has a disproportionately large head that bends forwards from a gently curved spine.
There are dark spots where your baby’s eyes and nostrils are starting to form. The eyes are open and set widely apart. Baby’s ears are marked by small depressions on the sides of the head, and arm and leg buds are appearing.
The heart is beating somewhere between 100 and 135 beats per minute and blood is beginning to course through the embryo’s body. Intestines are developing, and the bud of tissue that will form the lungs has appeared. The pituitary gland is forming, as well as the rest of the brain, muscles, and bones.
Right now, your baby is about the size of a lentil or 3mm. By the end of week 6 the umbilical cord forms containing two arteries and one vein are covered by amnion and molded together by a substance called Wharton’s jelly.
Did you know that human’s share 98% of DNA with chimpanzies? We share DNA with animals, flies and even daffodils. Only 1.5 % of our DNA make us human.
With modern ultrasound technology multiple pregnancies such as twins and triplets can be identified as early as week 6. If twins run on your Mother’s side you have a greater chance of having twins yourself. Twins on the father’s side seem to have less influence.
How Are You Feeling?
Now for the Moms themselves. You may be feeling moody one day and joyful the next but what you’re going through is normal and caused partly by fluctuating hormones. It is essential that you get plenty of sleep, plenty of exercise and follow a well balanced diet that can meet the change in demands due to pregnancy. You may notice changes in smell and taste so that foods you originally enjoyed no longer appeal to you. If you are feeling nauseous concentrate on foods that will stay down. Some foods to avoid are certain cheeses such as brie, camembert and blue veined cheese, pate, raw or partially cooked eggs, raw and undercooked meat, shark, swordfish raw, shellfish, alcohol and liver products and supplements containing vitamin A.
Things to concentrate on are calcium, iodine, iron and folic acid. Iodine plays an important role in development of baby, folic acid is important in the first 12 weeks when the neural tube is formed and iron is needed for the formation of red blood cells and metabolism.
If you haven’t already done so make an appointment for your first antenatal check. These checks are important and are designed to monitor your baby’s development and to also ensure that you stay healthy.