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Pregnancy Health Center


Welcome To Week 6

6 Week Old Fetus

Your Baby: Forming New Features

It's been four weeks since you conceived, and the embryo is now six weeks old. (Remember, the age of a fetus is calculated from the beginning of the last menstrual period - not from the actual date of conception, which usually happens two weeks later.) Still less than 1/5 of an inch long (4 to 5 mm), it has tripled in size and is starting to look somewhat familiar. The brain is developing distinct areas, and the eyes and ears are beginning to take shape. Even at this early date, the heart is being formed and is starting to pump blood at a rate of about 150 beats per minute. The backbone, ribs, and muscles of the back and sides will grow out of 40 small blocks of tissue that are developing along the fetus’ future spine!

Your Body: Deciding On A Doctor

Nothing is more crucial to your pregnancy than getting good prenatal care. That means choosing a compatible health care provider who you can call whenever you have questions or concerns about you or your baby. In today's world, everything counts: bedside manner, philosophy, type of practice, and medical credentials. For some people, it's the qualifications that count the most.

  • The Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN) is an M.D. who has specialized in the field of woman's health and pregnancy. They specialize not only in the care and treatment of the woman during the pregnancy, but also the labor and delivery of the baby.
  • The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist , or perinatologist , is an OB who has received special training to care for high-risk pregnancies. Women may choose this specialist if they have had a previous complicated pregnancy, have a multiple birth pregnancy, or have preexisting medical conditions.
  • The Family Physician (FP) is an M.D. that has chosen to study family practice medicine. Family practice physicians treat men and women of all ages as well as treat children. They also take care of women who are pregnant. Some FP’s deliver babies, while others provide prenatal care and have Ob/Gyn or midwifery colleagues who do the delivery.
  • The Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a person who is trained in nursing and midwifery. A nurse midwife is focused on caring for women who are pregnant and generally is there for labor and delivery as well. Nurse midwives generally work with obstetricians as well. Midwives generally provide a low-intervention approach to pregnancy.

Each type of medical practitioner will treat you and your pregnancy differently. So before you decide on "the one," research each practitioner and practice as extensively as you can.

On That Note: Choosing Dr. Right

Looking for a checklist for choosing the perfect doctor? Click here to use our handy checklist that will help you determine what type of practitioner is the perfect fit for you.

Weekly Tip

The telltale sign of pregnancy -- morning sickness -- may set in this week. To ease your queasy tummy, try keeping it full at all times. Eat small, simple meals every two to three hours, drink lots of water, and never leave home without a healthy snack in your bag. Some mothers' favorite snacks include power bars, graham crackers, plain crackers, and dried fruits and nuts.

Review Date: 12/9/2012
Reviewed By: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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