Pregnancy Calendar – Week Six
At about one fourth of an inch long, the embryo is now about the size of an orange seed! The heartbeat is steady and detectable by a trans-vaginal ultrasound. The eyes and ears begin to form, as well as an opening for the mouth. Vital organs continue to develop this week, and buds form on the body that will become the arms and legs. The intestines are starting to develop, and breathing passages will appear where the lungs will be. The muscles are also forming, and by the end of the week, spontaneous movement will most likely occur.
You may start to feel morning sickness or nausea this week, or if you have already felt nauseous, it may get worse. Despite it being called “morning sickness,” you can experience it at any time of day, although most women report that queasiness is most intense in the morning. The exact cause of this nausea is not known, but it is thought to be related to the changes in hormones and increased sensitivity to smells. Even if you aren’t nauseated, you may develop aversions to certain foods, such as coffee and meat, partly because of their odors. As long as you continue to eat a healthy diet, food aversions won’t hurt the development of your baby. Try to avoid foods and smells that trigger your nausea, as well as fatty foods, which take longer to digest. Have a protein snack before bed, and you may want to take your prenatal vitamins before bed as well. Many women find that in the morning munching on crackers in bed, and then waiting fifteen to twenty minutes before getting up, helps them. Eating frequent small meals and ginger can help sooth queasiness. Another alternative remedy to try is wearing an acupressure band designed to ward off seasickness. (For more information, see “Survival Guide: Morning Sickness.”)
At this point, you may begin to experience frequent urination. This is because the increased amount of blood in your body—even at this stage of your pregnancy—leads to more fluid flowing through your kidneys and into your bladder. Many women report they need to get up to go to the bathroom more often at night. One reason for this is because when lying down at night, some of the fluid retained in the legs and feet during the day is absorbed back into the bloodstream and then into the bladder. In later weeks, you may also feel pressure on your bladder from your expanding uterus.
Hot Topic: Mood Swings
This is a time of wonder and not quite believing you are pregnant. You may be experiencing a crazy mix of emotions, yet have no outward signs (other than your positive pregnancy test) that you are going to have a baby. You may be feeling happy and excited one minute, and then cranky and tearful the next. Mood changes during pregnancy are caused by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and can be exacerbated by stress, fatigue, and changes in your metabolism. This is completely normal, and your emotions may stabilize over the next several weeks. Mood swings are experienced most frequently during the first trimester—between six to ten weeks—and then again in the third trimester as your body prepares for birth. One way to manage your fluctuating moods is to try to lower your stress level. Going for walks, taking a pre-natal yoga class and getting enough sleep can help.
Fast Fact: In case you were wondering, sex is perfectly safe during most pregnancies. Make sure to clear it with your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns, but usually it is okay to have sex up until your water breaks (unless you have complications and/or are on bed rest.) Finding the inspiration for sex, while enduring morning sickness however, may be a different story. Many women say the second trimester is the one full of energy, better health, and an increased sex drive—something to look forward to in the coming weeks!
Eating For Two: Healthy Breakfast Alternatives
When feeling nauseous, you may not have a taste for a traditional breakfast, but it is important that you eat a good meal in the morning. Try one of these alternatives instead:
- Whole-wheat waffle topped with strawberry yogurt
- A piece of fruit and a glass of milk
- Whole-wheat pita with melted cheddar cheese
- Whole-wheat bagel filled with cream cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes
- Cup of chicken broth with whole-wheat crackers
- Ham or turkey sandwich
- Cottage cheese with diced cucumbers·
- Fruit smoothie
Patti’s Perfect Berry Smoothie
This drink has the consistency of slightly melted sorbet. For a thinner smoothie, add more milk. You may substitute skim milk for the soy milk, though you may need to add more sweetener. For a sweeter smoothie, add more orange juice concentrate, a full banana, or a squirt of honey. You may also substitute 1 cup frozen blueberries or raspberries, or use any combination of frozen berries.
The key to this smoothie is to use frozen fruit instead of ice, which melts and creates a watered-down beverage. I freeze bananas, cut in half, so I don’t have to rush to eat them before they get over-ripe.
- Six to eight large frozen strawberries, no sugar added
- Half of a banana
- One heaping tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1/4 cup light soy milk
- 1/4 cup skim milk
1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2. This smoothie serves one and has about 250 calories. To cut the calories, eliminate the banana and reduce the orange juice concentrate. This drink is rich in calcium and vitamin C and perfect after a walk or yoga. I like mine with a couple of gingersnaps.
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