5 weeks and 7 days pregnant
Here the back of the embryo can be seen lying over the yolk sac. The opening overlying the developing brain has now closed (left side of image) and this will be followed two days later by closure of the opening at the base of the spine (out of view).
By the end of this sixth week, one of your baby’s major organs – the heart – is rapidly developing and circulating blood.
Your developing embryo may still be tiny, but is undergoing rapid and complex development.
The heartbeat is now more easily recognized on an ultrasound scan. The heart continues to form from a simple smooth tube which, as it becomes more muscular, loops, folds, and divides to form four chambers. On the left side the upper chamber (left atrium) takes in blood from the lungs. From here blood passes through a one-way valve (the mitral valve) into the main left pumping chamber (the left ventricle). This then pumps blood out of the heart to the body along the main artery (the aorta). On the right-hand side of the heart, the upper chamber (right atrium) collects blood returning from the body and passes it through a one-way valve (tricuspid valve) into the right main pumping chamber (right ventricle). This pumps blood to the lungs and the cycle continues.
At this stage of development, the circulation is very basic with the heart tube simply sending blood around the length of your baby. No blood travels from your baby’s circulation to the placenta.
Whenever it happens, a miscarriage can be devastating. It is normal to experience grief, shock, and even a sense of failure, and you may also feel anger or a sense of injustice, especially if friends and family all seem to sail through pregnancy without any problems. Well-wishers may suggest that the miscarriage was “for the best” or “nature’s way” but this can be cold comfort when you feel raw.
The most important thing you can do is take time to grieve. Get some support from friends or family, even if you don’t feel like talking; exploring your emotions is an important part of the healing process. Your partner may be equally distressed, but is likely to show his grief differently, and while he may seem unscathed by the experience, he will also need support. Try not to feel disillusioned. Many, many women experience one or more miscarriages, and go on to have healthy pregnancies – and babies. Remember, too, that miscarriage is not your fault, no matter what you did before your pregnancy was confirmed. Give yourself time to heal and reflect and come to terms with this loss.
At 6 weeks, your baby’s crown to rump length is 4mm.