Pregnancy week 6
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Common pregnancy complaints may hit with full force this week! Your production of pregnancy hormones (hCG) continues to increase, making you susceptible to nausea and fatigue. In addition, your heart's output has increased by up to 40% to meet the demands of pregnancy.

How your baby's growing:

Everything is still rolling along just fine. By now, your baby's digestive and respiratory systems have begun to form and the small buds that will eventually become your little one's arms and legs have also appeared. Although your embryo remains tiny - just 2 to 4 millimetres long - it is experiencing major brain growth. The vital organs have also started to form and the heart is already beating.

How you may be feeling:

Cranky and exhausted! These hormones may be causing nausea, extreme fatigue, frequent urination. Morning sickness can last all day but luckily it usually disappears by the second trimester. You may experience mind-numbing fatigue from the moment you wake up until the minute you hit the sheets - it's no surprise, considering all the work your body is doing. Your ligaments are also changing during this period, softening to help your body bear extra weight.

There's no need to stop exercising or curtail your activities, unless you want to. In fact, keeping active will help your body be more able to cope with the stress of carrying around the extra weight you'll be gaining.

Tip of the week

You may have heard that there are some foods you should avoid while pregnant. Here are a few things to cut out:

Even if you're not feeling nauseous, there are certain things you should definitely avoid throughout your pregnancy, as food-borne illnesses such as listeriosis can threaten your embryo's viability and may cause birth defects. For this reason, steer clear of: soft cheeses such as brief, Camembert and blue cheese; unpasteurised milk products; raw or undercooked meats, including deli meats; raw eggs or food containing raw eggs, including mousse and tiramisu; raw shellfish and pate.

Also, if you own a cat, make sure that your partner is on kitty litter duty until you give birth, as feline faeces have also been linked to toxoplasmosis.

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You may be feeling a little nauseous around now - this is due to a huge increase in hormones, and isn't a bad thing. See our tips on how to survive the next few weeks.

How your baby's growing:

Your embryo is about 2mm long, about the size of a grain of sand. Your baby transforms into a bundle of cells organized in a C-shape with a top, bottom, front, and back.

A groove has developed on the embryo's back, which will seal and develop into the neural tube (which later will become the spinal cord and nervous system). At this point, the tube already has a wider, flatter top that will grow into your baby's brain. A bulge has developed in the center of the embryo, which will soon become a tiny U-Shaped tube that will form the heart.

Your embryo is encased in protective membranes and attached to a yolk sac, which manufactures the embryo's unique blood cells. There's even a tiny umbilical cord that connects your embryo to the developing placenta.

How you may be feeling:

Nauseated, tired and sensitive to odours and flavours. Morning sickness is more common from the second month onwards and the main cause is thought to be a reaction to rising hormone levels - generally considered a healthy sign.

Excessive nausea and vomiting (hyperemesis) however may occur which may lead to dehydration marked by infrequent urination or urine that's dark and strong-smelling, it's time to call the doctor. You may require admission to hospital for intravenous fluids. Likewise call your GP if you can't keep any food down and are losing more than half a kilogram a week.

For the guys

Sometimes things go wrong with a pregnancy. Occasionally a woman will experience an ectopic pregnancy. This happens when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. There is an even smaller chance that the egg will implant around the ovary or cervix, though this is very rare.

Ectopic pregnancies generally occur in about 1 out of every 100 pregnancies. Your partners' risk might be increased if she has ever experienced pelvic inflammatory disease or some other infection that might have damaged your fallopian tube. Women who have had a previous ectopic pregnancy are more likely to experience a recurrence than those who have not.

Tip of the week: Fighting morning sickness

Although it might be hard to swallow, morning sickness (which can last all day) is good for you. Nausea during pregnancy is your body's natural way of steering you away from food it doesn't need. Morning sickness is also not bad for baby.

Tips to alleviate it:

  • eat little and often, taking in high-carbohydrate foods like whole-wheat bread, potatoes, rice and cereal
  • avoid fried food and coffee
  • nibble on some crackers or a piece of toast before getting out of bed in the morning
  • drink at least 1.5 l water during the day
  • try eating several small meals
  • food containing ginger or lemon can also help
  • make one meal a day only fruit
  • experiment with your prenatal supplement (even just changing brands), as it could make you feel more queasy

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