Your Pregnancy: Week 6
Congratulations! You’ve found out you’re pregnant, although it most likely feels surreal right now. No doubt you are feeling a sense of nervous excitement, perhaps even fear, about the months ahead of you. While what you’re feeling is normal, take time to talk to your partner and include him or her in your thoughts – he or she is probably feeling just as freaked out as you are. You may already be feeling physical changes such as heartburn, exhaustion, frequent urination and nausea. Other lesser known symptoms could be bothering you, too.
One of the most common pregnancy complaints is swollen breasts. While you (and your partner) may enjoy the look of your new curves, the truth is that pregnancy breasts can be more trouble than they’re worth. The increase of hormones (both estrogen and progesterone) and the fact that your boobs are gearing up to produce milk can lead to swelling and tenderness that is painful. How to deal with the situation? Find a very supportive maternity bra to help relieve discomfort (and also to help prevent stretching and sagging post-pregnancy).
If extreme exhaustion has you unable to keep your eyes open, cut yourself some slack. Hit the hay early, make time for naps, leave work at the office, and eat smaller, more frequent healthy meals to boost your energy.
Make a list of questions for your first prenatal appointment (which you should definitely schedule now if you haven’t already) – which might mean putting a notepad and pen by your bedside for those middle-of-the-night questions.
Make a dentist appointment if you didn’t do so before you got pregnant. You won’t be able to get major dental work done now, but a good cleaning can prevent pregnancy hormones from causing inflamed, bleeding gums and tooth problems. Research shows that some gum disease can even cause pregnancy complications.
Constipation is also common in early pregnancy, brought on by two changes in your body: 1) Increased hormones – whereby your body produces progesterone. This relaxes the smooth muscles of the intestinal wall and stomach, resulting in a slow down of digestion. 2) Dehydration – Be sure to drink enough fluids to keep up with the increase in your blood volume. Drink lots of fluids and up your fiber intake and snack on prunes. Never use laxatives without your doctor’s approval. Also, try not to strain when you have a bowel movement as straining can lead to hemorrhoids (another common pregnancy complaint).
If you haven’t already, make an appointment with your gynecologist to confirm the pregnancy, although many practitioners will want to wait until seven or eight weeks after your last period.
While you might not be feeling your best right now, take comfort in knowing that although your baby is only Â¼ of an inch long, his or her facial features are beginning to form, as well as vital organs like the kidney, liver, intestines and lungs. Your doctor or midwife won’t be able to hear the heartbeat yet, but it’s working overtime in there, beating over 100 times a minute – about twice as fast as yours.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
One of the biggest mistakes women make during pregnancy is to view their condition as an illness. They think, If I need to see a doctor, I must be sick. Let me emphasize right here, at the start, that this is definitely not the way obstetricians see it. Pregnancy is not a disease; it’s a normal part of life. I always make sure my patients realize this, and when I was pregnant myself I felt better than ever for much of the time. It’s a great boost for the baby to have a mother who’s been paying attention to the details. While you don’t need to be an M.D. yourself to go through a successful pregnancy, I think it’s helpful to start these months armed with a good attitude and plenty of sound advice.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: You Just Got Pregnant
Do you really know what your philosophy of birth is? Maybe the answer is yes, but often it’s, “Huh?” Do you need to have a philosophy of birth in order to give birth? Absolutely not. Might you form one over the course of your pregnancy? Sure. So how do you choose a caregiver now while you’re still learning about all this stuff?
The primary categories of care providers are doctors and midwives. You’ve probably heard the stereotypes: The doctor will order you an epidural from the golf course, show up for the final push and cash his check. The midwife will roll in on a birthing ball and hand you a recipe for the placenta. While these extremes are occasionally true – and may even work for some people – the truth is always more complicated. Births are unique events and doctors and midwives are individuals. So within each category you’ve got a spectrum of approaches.
Here are some things to consider as you look for good care.
- Ask for recommendations from people you like and trust.
- Don’t be afraid to shop around. You don’t have to see every caregiver in town, but meeting with a few will give you a better sense of your options.
- Go with someone who makes you feel safe, which will be important throughout your pregnancy and labor.
- Find someone who listens to your questions and doesn’t brush them off or dismiss them. (There should be no such thing as a dumb question!)
- Read up on the two different models of care: medical and midwifery.
- Ask for statistics such as: rate of episiotomy, C-section, tears, and assisted deliveries. If you are hoping for a non-medicated birth and feel strongly about avoiding a C-section, choose a caregiver who has low rates of medical interventions.
- If you are insured, look for caregivers who accept your plan. If want to go out-of-network, check with your insurance company to see what you’re eligible for.
- Get to know all the caregivers in the practice, as in most cases, you may end up with any one of them depending on the timing of your baby’s birth. If there’s someone you absolutely detest or distrust, you may want to switch practices.
- Take any medical concerns into account. Obstetricians are generally considered a good choice for high-risk pregnancies, but a midwife may also be an option.
- Find out where the caregiver delivers. Think about which birthing location sounds right (and/or logistically possible) for you. (You should be able to tour facilities at any time in your pregnancy).
- Consider a convenient location for what can amount to over a dozen prenatal check-ups. Depending on your schedule, proximity can be more or less important.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.