The heart, which is one of the first organs to develop, is now pumping blood into the tissues of the baby’s little body. The head can also be discerned now, and the structures of the baby’s face are becoming clear. The eyes are also developing now, as little indentations on either side of the head – but there are no eyelids yet. Cartilage is also forming, which will become the skeleton and continue to develop and grow until the baby is about 20 years old. The hands are becoming visible, and they look like teeny, tiny paddles. Because the baby is nearly transparent, you can see the heart, spinal cord, and tail. Tail!? Yes, that’s right: at this early stage, the embryo has something that resembles a little tail. But don’t worry; it will reshape and disappear around week nine, and all that will remain is the coccyx. The subcutis hasn’t developed yet, but the connective tissue that is the beginning of skin is on the way. Tons of activity is underway in what will become the brain, with various parts that are starting to develop their own specific functions, and connections between nerve cells are developing constantly. At the end of this week, your future baby will be the size of a pea.
At this point, no one can tell that you’re pregnant, but you’re likely to be feeling changes in your body. Quite a lot of people, 7 out of 10, feel nauseous at this point in early pregnancy. The main cause of this annoying (to say the least) condition is the massive hormonal changes your body is undergoing. But don’t worry: it should settle down within a few weeks. If you exercised before becoming pregnant, it’s smart to continue doing so, as long as it feels good. It’s good to move and it can alleviate some troublesome aspects of early pregnancy. In particular, fresh air is often great for nausea. If you didn’t exercise before getting pregnant, it’s still a good idea to start doing some light exercise. It’s particularly important to remember to do your daily Kegel exercises already now, because it’s essential to have a strong pelvic floor to help you hold up the belly that’s on its way. Doing them is easy, but remembering to do them is tougher. One idea is to come up with a simple rule for yourself as a daily reminder: for example, every morning when you brush your teeth, or at night when you go to bed. If you got pregnant through IVF, you will now do a vaginal ultrasound at the fertility clinic to see that everything is developing as it should be.
Is your partner feeling sick? That’s not unusual: 7 out of 10 people feel nauseous during early pregnancy. The main cause of nausea is that the body is undergoing massive hormonal changes. And of course, hormones are also what make so many people extra sensitive to smells during pregnancy. There could be smells she loved before that have suddenly become reminiscent of rotten fish when they reach her nose now and unfortunately, it’s pretty common for her to react specifically to your scents. Maybe you should put your favourite aftershave away for a while to prevent a negative association. At some point during weeks 6-8, most people will have their first appointment at the clinic where they will give birth. All parents-to-be, not only the one carrying the child, get to participate in the discussion with the doctor or midwife. As a partner, being involved will make pregnancy feel more like a shared experience. One idea is to write down everything you’re wondering to make it easier to remember once you’re at the doctor’s office. And even if it may feel like pregnancy is the most natural thing in the world, not every aspect will be completely obvious – just remember: there are no stupid questions and it’s better to ask one question too many than one too few. If you got pregnant through IVF, you will now do an early ultrasound at the fertility clinic to see that everything is developing as it should be. Together, you will get to see the baby’s heart beat.