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The Sixth Week of Pregnancy

Your sixth week of pregnancy often comes with excitement and anxiety. At this point, you've only recently found out you're pregnant and are unsure about what comes next. If this is your first time, or if it's been a while since the last time you were pregnant, here are a few things you should expect during your sixth week: 

At the present, your baby is the size of a pea, with a heart the size of a poppy seed. His/her arms and legs are slowly forming, and his/her heart is developing (and beating) rapidly. 

You're probably experiencing some full-blown pregnancy signs such as frequent urination, breast tenderness, nausea, and a whole slew of delightful symptoms, but thank God you haven't lost your sense of humor! 

The hormone hCG increases blood flow to your pelvic area. Your kidneys are more efficient at removing waste, hence the frequent urination, not to mention your uterus will start to move down, putting pressure on your bladder. There will be bloating, some (or a lot) queasiness, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. 


Symptom: Frequent urination

What causes it: The amount of blood you have in your body rises considerably when you're pregnant. To be specific, you're carrying 50 percent more than you had before. This leads to more fluid being expelled by your kidney resulting in more frequent trips to the bathroom. The pressure from your uterus moving downwards also affects your bladder.

What you can do: Lean forward when peeing, to completely empty your bladder. Avoid drinks that have a diuretic effect like tea or coffee.

Symptom: Fatigue

What causes it: Hormonal changes, like the rise in progesterone.

What you can do: Get enough rest, keep hydrated, and make sure you're eating right. Fatigue goes away as you near your second trimester -- but then starts up again during the final leg of your third.


Symptom: Breast tenderness and swelling

What causes it: Increased blood flow and hormonal changes.

What you can do: Find a good bra with extra support. Avoid bras with underwire for now. Go for comfortable, cotton bras with some leeway as your breasts and belly continue to grow.


Symptom: Nausea and vomiting

What causes it: Hormonal changes like the rise in hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and estrogen. A sensitivity to smell will exacerbate nausea too.

What you can do: Eat small snacks throughout the day, like cheese and crackers, or a good mix of protein and complex carbohydrates. Avoid foods that trigger nausea. Avoid fatty foods that can irritate the stomach. If it's really affecting you, stick to bland foods.


Symptom: Heartburn and indigestion

What causes it: Progesterone relaxes the valve that prevents digestive juices from creeping into the esophagus, resulting in acid reflux and heartburn.

What you can do: Avoid big meals and eat slowly. Chew gum after meals. The gum stimulates the production of saliva that neutralizes the acid in your stomach.


Symptom: Bloating

What causes it: The repeat offender, progesterone.

What you can do: Take note of the food that usually affect you, common culprits are: beans, whole grains, vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, or fruits that are high in sugar like apples and pears.

Common Remedies for Pregnancy Pains

Being pregnant can be a wonderful experience. Knowing you have a life growing inside of you can be mind-blowing, and being able to carry your child for nine months is a beautiful thing, but there are also very real sacrifices that come with it. The various aches and pains that accompany childbearing can take a toll on you if you are not prepared or do not treat them properly. We've got some tips on how you can soldier through these nine months without (or with a little less) breaking a sweat. 


If you're having: Back pains

Why it's happening: Your uterus is expanding, it's bigger than it's ever been before (at least if this is your first time getting pregnant) and you're carrying a significant amount of extra poundage. This can affect your posture and balance which in turn strain your back.

What to do: Use a heating pad or hot water bottle on the painful parts. You could also soak in warm water in a bathtub. To prevent the strain on your back, make sure your weight gain is in check. A weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds (about 11 to 16 kilograms) during pregnancy is normal.

If you're having: Swelling of the hands, ankles, and feet (edema)

Why it's happening: Edema usually happens during the third trimester, and typically sets in in the afternoon or evening. It affects 75% of pregnant women. If you're noticing the swelling getting worse, consult your doctor. It could be pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), which is fatal in some occurrences.

What to do: Elevate your legs and feet to prevent fluid from pooling. Drink eight glasses of water everyday and avoid salty foods. Wear supportive, non-restrictive footwear.


If you're having: Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is the numbness or pain that occurs in the fingers, palms, or wrists. It can also be accompanied by a tingling or burning sensation in the fingers.

Why it's happening: The swelling from weight gain and water retention can put pressure on the nerves that surround the forearm, all the way into the hand.

What to do: Wrist exercise and stretching: Curl your fingers into a fist, then bend the wrist towards your palm. Straighten your fingers and stretch your wrist in other direction. Repeat with the other hand. Do 10 repetitions at least once a day. If you're at your computer for most of the day, remember to take lots of stretching breaks between work. You could also adjust your keyboard so your wrists are straight and not bent.

If you're having: Sciatica. It's characterized by a feeling of numbness and a sharp pain in the hips which radiate down to the legs.

Why it's happening: Pain occurs when your sciatic nerves (goes from lower back to feet) are affected by the pressure and inflammation from your back.

What to do: If you're able to, find the time to practice some basic prenatal yoga or do this simple exercise: Stand facing a wall, place your hands on the wall and lift your leg behind you. Count to five, lower it back down and repeat with your other leg. Do three repetitions on each side at least once a day.


If you're having: Leg cramps

Why it's happening: Cramps in the legs usually occur during the second trimester, when you're starting to carry a considerable amount of extra weight. You're also carrying more blood and water in your veins and the extra fluid causes cramps.

What to do: Do some light stretching when you're getting ready for bed to ensure your muscles are more flexible, which in turn reduces cramps. Give your legs a light massage to distribute fluid evenly or place a heated pad on the areas that are giving you problems.

Cold Sores During Pregnancy

Unfortunately, pregnant women are more susceptible to cold sores because of the various stresses caused by pregnancy. These are triggered by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two kinds of HSV, HSV-1 and HSV-2, which both produce cold sores. However, HSV-2 is spread from sexual contact and causes genital herpes, too. 

Cold sores are small blisters around the mouth, which are also sometimes called "fever blisters." They may break open and leak clear liquid. A crust will then form over the blister, scab, then heal after a few days. 

The virus enters through a break in the skin around or inside the mouth. It's spread when you touch a cold sore or the infected fluid from one. Sharing utensils, kissing an infected person, touching that person’s saliva, or sharing a razor can cause infection. Most people with HSV-1 are infected during childhood when they come in contact or kiss an adult who has the virus. Usually, cold sores go away within a few days. If they don't, there are treatments in the form of skin creams, ointments, or pills that can be purchased from a pharmacy. You should consult your doctor before using any medication. 

It's important to remember that if you have a cold sore after giving birth, do not kiss your baby, as this can pass the infection to him and can potentially lead to serious complications. If you touch the sore, wash your hands immediately after to prevent it from spreading.

Cold Sore Prevention

Increased sun exposure, lack of sleep, illness, and poor diet can trigger cold sores. Always use sunscreen on your nose and lips. Get enough rest and eat a healthy diet. Always wash your hands after being out or interacting with sick (and even healthy) people.

At the first sign of a developing cold sore, ice the area or hold a cold compress on it for a few minutes. Repeat several times. Baking soda and water mixed to make a paste, then spread on the itchy, tingling area can prevent a sore from developing. In some cases, dabbing some rubbing alcohol on the area can also work.