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Week 5 of Pregnancy

What is happening to your baby, your body, and your mind during the 5th week of pregnancy? After 2 inconclusive pregnancy tests I eventually found out I was pregnant and was eager to get the low down on what was going on inside my body.

5 week embryo
picture of 5 week embryo

Week 5 of your pregnancy will probably be the earliest time that you will know you are pregnant. Modern pregnancy tests can detect a pregnancy just days after a late period. I've collected some facts and figures from a relative of mine who works with pregnant mothers, I'll finish this article with this information for week 5. She has also given me models of the foetus at various stages of pregnancy. These models are the same size and weight as a real foetus, so I'll take some pictures and post them as I build up these articles covering the 40 weeks of pregnancy.

The Embryo/Fetus

At this stage the embryo is not yet a fetus. We are using gestational age in our week by week pregnancy articles, which is around 2 weeks earlier than fertilization occurred. The embryo is strictly only 3 weeks even though gestational age is 5 weeks.

The embryo is still very tiny, about the size of a grain of rice (although I've read various measurements ranging from 1.5mm to 4mm). The chambers of the heart are forming and the heart starts to beat. If you could see inside your body you would be able to tell which end was the head and which was the tail of the embryo.

Other organs including the brain, lungs, and intestines are forming. The placenta and umbilical cord are also continuing to develop. The neural tube closes, taking on folic acid during the early days of pregnancy and preconception will help avoid any problems with this development.

The Mother

The mother will be producing the pregnancy hormone HGC which can be detected by a home pregnancy test. She may experience nausea and tiredness. Despite the name, morning sickness is not just limited to the morning. She may experience no nausea at all, every pregnancy is different.

The mothers breasts may be tender or swollen, and the mother may need to urinate more often. Headaches can also occur, but some mothers have no symptoms at all.

Health

If you were planning this pregnancy you may have been taking folic acid supplements, if you are not taking folic acid then start now. Research shows it can reduce the chance of birth defects, miscarriage, and premature birth. It reduces the cases of neural tube defects which can cause conditions such as spina bifida. 400 micrograms is the recommended daily dose for the early stages of pregnancy and for preconception which you can get from supplements or from foods with high folic acid content.

Caffeine is something you should try to avoid. Research has shown this can harm the developing foetus/embryo. Needless to say, cigarettes and alcohol are to be avoided for the remainder of the pregnancy.

The embryo is more sensitive to toxins than the fetus, so at this stage it is very important to be leading as healthy a lifestlye as possible.

My Experience at 5 weeks pregnant

I knew I was pregnant before I took the pregnancy test, I just felt different but my period was only a couple of days late so I put off taking a test for a few days. At 5 days late I could resist no longer so took a test which came up void, which was annoying because it was an expensive test and I was none the wiser. I'd bought a pack of 2 so took another a few hours later and that was inconclusive too, even though I'd followed the instructions exactly.

Later that night I went to a supermarket (ASDA) of all places, because the local chemist had just closed. The test there cost next to nothing so I bought 3, and they confirmed I was pregnant.

We used the pregnancy calculator which confirmed I was almost 5 weeks pregnant, and booked in to see the doctor in a weeks time. The pregnancy calculator also gave us the due date, which we tried not to get too excited about as it is still very early days.

I felt tired during this week although I am not sure if that was a coincidence or due to the start of the pregnancy. It still seemed unreal as there were no real signs other than the pregnancy test that I was pregnant. It was obviously far too early to tell anybody so I think the only difference was the fact that I was holding a secret that I was dying to tell everybody but I could not divulge to anyone at such an early stage.

We used the pregnancy calculator which confirmed I was almost 5 weeks pregnant, and booked in to see the doctor in a weeks time. The pregnancy calculator also gave us the due date, which we tried not to get too excited about as it is still very early days. I felt tired during this week although I am not sure if that was a coincidence or due to the start of the pregnancy. It seemed unreal as there were no real signs other than the pregnancy test that I was pregnant. It was obviously far too early to tell anybody so I think the only difference was the fact that I was holding a secret that I was dying to tell everybody but I could not divulge to anyone at such an early stage.

Week 6