Week 5

How big is your baby?

Known as an embryo now, your baby is only very tiny. She’s about 0.5cm (0.2in) which is roughly the same size as a sesame seed. She’s too small to be seen on an early ultrasound scan yet, though the yoke and foetal pole could be visible.

How big is your baby?

Known as an embryo now, your baby is only very tiny. She’s about 0.5cm (0.2in) which is roughly the same size as a sesame seed. She’s too small to be seen on an early ultrasound scan yet, though the yoke and foetal pole could be visible.

What does your baby look like?

She looks more like a tadpole at week 5, because the different parts of her body haven’t separated into recognisable limbs yet. Change is afoot however, there are tiny buds from which her arms will grow and she will be having one of many growth spurts very soon.

Changes in your body this week

Although you definitely won’t look pregnant yet, and may not have even realised that you’ve missed a period, big changes are taking place in your uterus and these can take their toll on your body. You shouldn’t be surprised if all you want to do at the end of the day is collapse on the sofa; your body is growing a whole new life inside you. You may also be weeing more often, which is the pregnancy hormones doing their thing, and some women suffer from first trimester headaches. If this is you then don’t be afraid to visit your pharmacist, there are some pain-killing medicines which you can take in pregnancy, including paracetamol.

How your baby is developing

By week 5 your baby has gone from being known as a zygote, to an embryo. Your tiny embryo is now floating in her sac surrounded by amniotic fluid. This fluid will protect your baby as she progresses through her growth journey.

Her brain development is off to a head start with the neural tube closing over. This is the tube which connects the brain to the spinal cord and abnormalities here include spina bifida and anencephaly.

How your baby is developing

By week 5 your baby has gone from being known as a zygote, to an embryo. Your tiny embryo is now floating in her sac surrounded by amniotic fluid. This fluid will protect your baby as she progresses through her growth journey. Her brain development is off to a head start with the neural tube closing over. This is the tube which connects the brain to the spinal cord and abnormalities here include spina bifida and anencephaly.

The beginnings of her arm development are evident this week in her miniscule limb buds. Small folds have formed where her mouth and lower jaw will be. Her heart is already beating at around 100 beats per minute and although it only has one chamber so far, it will have four eventually by the time she is born.

Health concerns

Ideally, you should be a healthy weight when you become pregnant (BMI 20-25), as being overweight during pregnancy can raise the risk of certain medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes. However, it may be that you start your pregnancy being overweight and at your booking-in appointment (in a few weeks’ time) your midwife will measure your weight and height and calculate your BMI (body mass index). If your BMI is 30 or more then you shouldn’t try to lose weight whilst you’re pregnant as there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this is beneficial. Instead, the best way to safeguard your care is to attend all of your antenatal appointments for monitoring. This way, your healthcare providers will be in the best possible place to help you if problems do arise.

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

Vaginal bleeding. Spotting is common around this time as implantation of the pregnancy may cause this to occur. But sometimes heavier bleeding will mean that the pregnancy isn’t viable. Sadly, this can be your body’s way of rejecting a pregnancy with an abnormality. Signs of rejection of an embryo include:

  • Losing excessive fluid vaginally
  • Losing tissue fragments (often these will look like clots of blood)
  • Pain and cramping in your lower abdomen
  • No longer experiencing any pregnancy symptoms

Lots of pregnancies abort spontaneously at this stage and many women won’t even have known that they were pregnant. It’s only in comparatively recent years that sophisticated pregnancy tests have saturated the market, allowing women to detect a pregnancy in its very, very early stages.

Safety first

The antenatal care that’s offered to you is likely to be very comprehensive. If this is your first baby and the pregnancy progresses normally then you will have around 10 appointments during the 40-week period. In subsequent pregnancies you will be seen around seven times, unless you have complications which mean that you may be monitored more often.

Antenatal appointments take place in a neutral setting, such as your GP’s surgery, a maternity unit or local Children’s Centre, so that you can discuss any issues which are troubling you. You can discuss any concerns you have, anything from domestic violence and sexual abuse to mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction. Midwives are trained to deal with sensitive situations such as these in complete confidence and they will be able to help you.

Important issues this week

Taking a wide spectrum pregnancy vitamin is always a good idea, but don’t forget your specific intake of folic acid and vitamin D to support your baby’s growth. Studies have shown that taking the right levels of folic acid can help protect against spina bifida.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

At this very early stage of pregnancy it’s good to try to focus on giving your diet a once over. Your body is on a long haul journey and the correct fuel will help to make its passage an easier one. Plus getting into good habits now will set you up for the rest of your pregnancy and boost any flagging energy levels. Eating plenty, and a variety, of vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans is recommended, and especially leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale.

Looking forward; planning ahead

There are a number of routine screening tests and checks carried out during pregnancy. Some of these are simple urine tests and scans, others involve more thorough blood analysis and some will check for abnormalities within the pregnancy. It’s important to read up on these tests so that you fully understand their purpose and you can ask any questions you feel necessary.

This is especially important if there any risk factors associated with your pregnancy (age, weight, previous complications) because screening is more likely to pick up abnormalities. Don’t forget though, at this stage the odds are still stacked in your favour of a straightforward pregnancy and birth.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
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