You are 6 Weeks and 2 Days 236 days to go…

Try not to dwell on your lifestyle before you realized you were pregnant, but start making changes now.

Your baby today

The first recognizable facial feature to be formed is the eye, visible as a black dot in the center of this image. The gray areas are the fluid-filled chambers of the underlying brain.

Have you only just discovered you’re pregnant? Not all women realize they are pregnant immediately, especially if it wasn’t planned. If you’ve only just found out, it’s natural to be concerned about things that you did before you knew, such as drinking alcohol or taking drugs. You may be worried that you’ve harmed your unborn baby. Use your pregnancy as an opportunity to assess your lifestyle and improve your health.

Because of how pregnancy is dated (see This is Day 1 of your Menstrual Cycle), your baby is still only a little over four weeks old. If you have not been taking folic acid, start taking supplements starting today.

Going solo

The prospect of being pregnant and single, especially if it wasn’t your choice, can be tough. Make sure you:

  • Take care of yourself: plan a healthy diet, and an exercise routine. Get as much rest and restful sleep as you can. Ask a friend to spur you on or get online and seek support from other single pregnant women in your area—you will have a ready-made support network after the birth.

  • Ask for help from family and friends. You will probably find they are delighted to be involved in your pregnancy and are willing to come to prenatal appointments and classes with you: you may want to consider asking one of these people to be your birth partner.

  • Discuss support and access with your baby’s father (if appropriate), and if you can’t agree, seek legal advice. You and your baby will benefit if an amicable arrangement is reached, and the sooner you start talking, the easier it will be after the birth.

  • Arrange support for after the birth. A survey found that grandparents who are actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives contribute positively to their well-being. If you don’t have family close by, try to build a network of other support that will see you through the early weeks.

  • Start thinking early about your career options for after the birth. You don’t have to make any decisions, but it helps to know some of the choices you may have to make later.

If you’re single and pregnant, don’t be alone—share the highs and the lows with those close to you.

Prenatal care

The options for prenatal care in the US are outlined in sectionPrenatal Care Options, but they do vary from area to area. Whatever your type of prenatal care, any ultrasound scans, tests, and investigations may also take place at a hospital. Your options are likely to be:

  • Group medical practice

  • Solo medical practice

  • Combination practice

  • Maternity Center-based practice

You are 6 Weeks and 3 Days 235 days to go…

Needing to urinate frequently is, unfortunately, one of the unwanted side effects of pregnancy.

Your baby today

The eyes begin life as shallow depressions, one on each side of the developing face. This image shows an early eye in the center right, together with the curve of the pale yellow somites of the developing musculoskeletal system.

Are you spending a lot of time in the bathroom? In addition to dealing with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, if you’re like the majority of pregnant women, you’ll need to urinate more frequently. It means you’re unlikely to want to be too far away from the nearest bathroom.

It can feel as though your bladder cannot hold much urine so you may feel the need to go to the bathroom not long after you’ve just been, during the day and at night. This is because there is more blood being pumped through the kidneys so you produce more urine. As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on your bladder so it cannot expand as much as normal and will feel uncomfortably full earlier than usual. This can last throughout pregnancy, though you’re most likely to experience it in the first and third trimesters.

If, however, you’re concerned about the amount of urine you’re passing, and/or develop pain or stinging while passing urine, you may have developed a urinary tract infection and should see your doctor immediately.

… Doctor
Q: Why do I have so much saliva in my mouth now that I’m pregnant?
A: Called pytalism, excess saliva is caused by increased hormone levels. Don’t try to keep the saliva in your mouth; if you find yourself drooling, spit into a tissue or small cup. Place a towel on your pillow. Sucking lemon wedges or ice cubes may help. Pytalism usually subsides in later pregnancy.
… Nutrition
Get carb loading

Make carbohydrates part of your balanced diet, but make sure you choose the right ones. Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and white rice, are very quickly broken down, releasing a large amount of glucose into the bloodstream. This is quickly used up and then glucose levels fall rapidly. This fluctuation in glucose levels has been associated with diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, and recent data suggests it is not the optimal environment for adult or fetal health.

Unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice, break down more slowly, releasing glucose steadily leaving you fuller. This can prevent the hunger signals that follow a rapidly digested meal and help with weight control. Your baby is constantly drawing glucose from your bloodstream, so a steady release of glucose leaves you both with plenty of fuel on an ongoing basis. New research has found that babies exposed to a diet based upon unrefined carbs may have more lean body mass and less body fat, though still a healthy birthweight. This will make them less likely to be overweight later in life.

You are 6 Weeks and 4 Days 234 days to go…

Your baby’s lungs won’t be fully developed until late in pregnancy, but the foundations are being laid down right now.

Your baby today

The early limb bud that will form your baby’s arm can be seen here (white area). The upper limb buds appear before the lower limb buds. At this early stage, the hands and fingers are not yet developed.

In this 7th week of pregnancy, your baby’s lungs are starting to develop. This begins with a small lung bud branching out from the upper part of the tube (esophagus) between your baby’s mouth and stomach. This lung bud forms the main windpipe or “trachea,” which then divides into two main branches (bronchi) that will eventually form your baby’s right and left lungs. These bronchi continue to branch into smaller tubes, a process that will be repeated many times.

Your baby’s gut is also starting to develop, from the mouth downward. At the beginning of this week, his future digestive system consisted of a simple tube that lay along the length of the embryo; this tube was closed at each end. The tube remains closed but the esophagus has now started to separate from the trachea and connect to the stomach. The swelling that will become your baby’s stomach forms around the center of his body, but undergoes a 90-degree rotation to lie more on the left-hand side.

Buds arise from the duodenum (the first part of the bowel that leaves the stomach) that will form the pancreas and bile duct to the gall bladder.

In just a couple of weeks, your baby will have all its major organs and body systems.

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy can cause abdominal pain on one side and irregular vaginal bleeding. Some women get shoulder-tip pain, thought to be caused by internal bleeding. An ectopic pregnancy can rupture the fallopian tube causing severe pain. Emergency medical attention is essential.

If an ectopic pregnancy is suspected, you will be given a scan. Sometimes the pregnancy will naturally regress; if not medication or surgery will be necessary.

In an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo develops outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.

Music therapy is a highly effective way to reduce stress.

A study found that pregnant women who listened to music that mimicked the human heartbeat had reduced stress levels compared to those who did not receive the treatment.


Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the fetus is mature enough to survive outside the uterus. Miscarriage is common, affecting 15–20 percent of pregnancies, with the majority occurring in the first 12 weeks. Late miscarriage, after the first trimester, occurs in about 1 percent of pregnancies.

Why miscarriage happens

An early miscarriage is usually due to a problem such as a chromosomal or structural abnormality in the fetus. It may also be caused by a fibroid (a non-cancerous growth in the uterus), an infection, or an immune system disorder. Miscarriage occurs more commonly in older women, in smokers, and in multiple pregnancies.

If you miscarry, it’s important to know that it wasn’t linked to anything you did, such as exercise, sex, or travel. Also, there is no evidence that rest reduces the risk of a threatened miscarriage going on to become inevitable (see Diagnosis).

What will be done

If you bleed in early pregnancy, contact your doctor immediately who will arrange for you to have a pelvic exam and/or ultrasound scan. If a scan shows a healthy fetal heart, the chance of miscarriage is reduced. If there is no heartbeat, or no developing baby, the doctor will assess if you’ve had a complete or incomplete miscarriage (see Diagnosis). A complete miscarriage doesn’t require treatment. If it is incomplete, you may be offered medication to hasten the miscarriage, or a procedure to scrape the uterus, although your doctor may recommend expectant management—monitoring the situation while letting your uterus expel its contents. Expectant management means that you avoid risks such as infection from an invasive medical procedure, but its disadvantage is that you may bleed longer. Discuss the options with your doctor.

If you have two or more miscarriages in a row, known as “repeated miscarriage,” your doctor may arrange tests to see if there is a cause. About half the time, no cause will be found but sometimes testing will find fetal chromosomal problems, uncommon uterine problems, or blood disorders or other medical conditions.

After a miscarriage

Your period may be delayed by 6–12 weeks. Once the bleeding stops, there is no medical reason to not try to get pregnant again. The only problem is that you may not know if your period is late since your cycle is readjusting after the miscarriage, or whether you are pregnant again. It’s wise to wait until you both feel mentally ready to try again. Talking to a close friend, family member, or a counselor, can help you come to terms with your loss.

Types of miscarriage

Different terms are used to describe miscarriage, depending on what is found during an ultrasound scan or an internal examination.

  • Threatened miscarriage is the term given to bleeding early in pregnancy, but in which the cervix remains closed. In this case, the bleeding stops after a few days, and the pregnancy is likely to continue.

  • Inevitable miscarriage occurs when there is bleeding and the cervix is open, meaning that the fetus will be lost. If the pregnancy is less than eight weeks, the bleeding may be like a heavy, painful period. After eight weeks, the bleeding may be considerably heavier.

  • Incomplete miscarriage occurs when there is bleeding and the cervix opens, but the uterus doesn’t expel its entire contents and some pregnancy tissue is left behind.

  • Complete miscarriage is when there is bleeding, the cervix opens, and the uterus expels all the pregnancy tissues.

  • Missed miscarriage is less usual. There may be no miscarriage symptoms, but the pregnancy stops developing and the miscarriage isn’t diagnosed until the routine scan at around 12 weeks.

Late miscarriage
Pregnancy loss after the first trimester

Losing a pregnancy after the first trimester is much more unusual than an early miscarriage. After 20 weeks, a pregnancy loss is referred to as a stillbirth. There are several reasons why late pregnancy loss may occur, including infection; uterine abnormalities or abnormalities in the baby; and a weak cervix. If you have a late miscarriage, your doctor will discuss the possible causes with you and, if a cause is identified, whether anything needs to be done in a future pregnancy.

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