A small milestone is reached in the 6th week of pregnancy: the heart starts to beat! We reveal below what else is going on unnoticed in your belly.
Initially, the first heartbeat is still very tentative, but then it starts to race. A baby's heart beats around twice as fast as an adult's. The tiny disc has turned into a little worm. With the mouth opening and, stomach and kidneys are already working!
Your baby is now the size of a pea.
Yet it already has lungs, liver, intestines and thyroid. At the end of the little worm, there is still an appendage, just like a little tail. This will disappear over time. The arms and legs are tiny, inconspicuous paddles. The eyes, ears and chin are also starting to develop as little folds. Roughly in the middle of the sixth week, the neural tube is finished. This connects the brain and spinal cord.
The embryo is roughly 5 mm long and grows a millimetre every day!
Even if you can hardly wait to see your baby on the ultrasound, your doctor might not want to see you for a check-up until the 8th/9th week of pregnancy. There are some positive aspects to this. For a start, you won't have to worry if the heartbeat, is not yet identifiable.
If you need an examination at this stage, an accurate medical history will generally be taken to record any pre-existing medical conditions and check your weight, etc. The doctor will also explain what precautions to take in regards to food and exercise.
Just a few days can make a huge difference at this stage of development. Since very few people know exactly when fertilisation took place, it is almost impossible to say precisely how far along the pregnancy is – so try to keep calm when you are examined even if you can't see much or the heart still isn't beating.
There are some things you can do to support your pregnancy. Eat as healthily as possible and ask for advice on a dietary supplement with folic acid and other substances. At this time, you also need to get enough sleep and rest, and give your body the energy it needs for the huge task ahead of it.
Some women still feel no changes in themselves, whilst others experience a huge wave of powerful emotions, like a massive case of PMS. They are up one minute, and rock bottom the next. This is due to the unfamiliar hormone concentration, which will generally settle down by the 12th week.
Until then, many expectant mothers also have to cope with morning sickness and circulation problems.
There are some natural resources and methods, such as acupuncture, which can help with various pregnancy-related problems. But don't take something on your own initiative. Always ask your doctor first.
If you are considering a birth with your own midwife, it is a very good idea to make an appointment to get to know her at this point.