5 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week

Your baby…

  • is about 1.5-2.5 mm long, the size of an apple seed
  • embryo changes into a distinct shape
  • is developing the neural tube, which will form your baby’s brain, spine and nerves
  • has begun to form a heart, which will soon begin to pump blood
  • major divisions can be seen in the brain
  • placenta begins to develop – your baby’s source of nourishment from you through fingerlike projections called “chorionic villi”.

You…

  • may feel pregnant, your period is now about a week late
  • may have mood swings, increased frequency of urination, breast tenderness and nausea
  • some women do not experience any of these symptoms.

Hormone changes in your body as the baby begins to develop may cause side effects, such as sickness or tiredness. There’s plenty you can do to keep yourself comfortable…

Feeling sick

Queasiness can start before you even realise you’re pregnant and go on for several weeks. It may strike at any time of day. It may be mild queasiness, or you can’t eat because you feel so sick. Either way, it’s miserable… and to make things worse, no-one really knows why it happens. It’s probably due to a rise in hormone levels. See Week 8 for ways to feel better if sickness affects you.  This settles down for most women at around 12-14 weeks, for the majority by 16-20 weeks, when the sickness usually disappears.

Tender breasts

If your breasts experience ‘pins and needles’ or feel heavy and tender, wear a good supportive bra.

Tired all the time

Pregnancy is exhausting. You may feel a fraud when you’ve got nothing to show for it, but your body is working hard, putting energy into nourishing your growing baby. Eat regularly to keep up your energy levels, get plenty of sleep, and rest whenever you can.

Feeling faint?

You could feel light-headed, or actually faint especially when you stand up suddenly. This is due to the direct effect of the hormones of pregnancy. Your body is using up extra energy, too, and this can also cause the faintness. Don’t go for too long without eating. Try a cheese sandwich, a piece of fruit, or a glass of milk, but steer clear of sugary foods which could make the problem worse.

Bleeding

Some slight bleeding is not unusual in the early weeks of pregnancy… but it is very frightening. You may see a slight staining of a pink or brown colour, and feel some cramps. This is sometimes caused by the embryo implanting in the uterus. You might also see some spotting around the time you expect your period. If the bleeding is painless, that’s a good sign. If the bleeding is accompanied by cramps, that’s not so good.

Call your doctor or LMC straight away, even if the bleeding stops. Usually light spotting or dark brown bleeding is not considered a major problem.

You may need a check to rule out any complications and to make sure you and your baby are fine. But if there’s bright red blood or fresh bleeding, especially if it’s accompanied by pain, you will need immediate attention from a health professional as it may be the sign of a miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy.  Also get some support from a sympathetic friend or relative. Stay calm and rest.

Bending and lifting

Try not to do any heavy lifting while you are pregnant. As the pregnancy hormone makes your ligaments more pliable, they are more prone to strains. If you have to lift something:

  • keep your back straight
  • bend your hips and knees.

When you go shopping, divide what you buy into two equal loads and carry one bag in each hand.

Just a lemonade

It’s sometimes hard being the odd one out. If you don’t want to tell you are pregnant, but friends ask why you’re not drinking, try these ready-made excuses…

  • you don’t want to drink
  • tell people you’re on antibiotics
  • say you’re on a diet

Don’t let friends pressure you into drinking if you don’t want to.

Sex in pregnancy

Many women worry that sex could harm their baby or cause a miscarriage. If you have any bleeding in early pregnancy, your GP may advise you not to have sex until you reach 12–14 weeks. Otherwise, put your mind at rest. There is no physical reason why you and your partner cannot make love throughout your pregnancy. During intercourse, your partner’s penis cannot damage the baby in any way.

You may not feel like sex.  That’s normal, especially if you’re feeling sick and tired.  This feeling may lift as pregnancy progresses and the discomforts ease. Meanwhile you can still be close with kissing and cuddling.

Safe Food for Pregnancy

You are what you eat, and so is your baby.  Your growing baby depends on you for everything needed for healthy growth and development.  More ….

Boy or girl?

Your baby’s sex is decided at the moment the egg and sperm join.  The egg always contains an X chromosome.  A sperm can carry either an X or a Y.  If it’s another X, the baby will be a girl, if it’s a Y a boy.  However you won’t be able to tell if it’s a boy or girl until much later.