Fetal Development: Week 5

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Week 5 of Your Pregnancy

By now you may suspect that you are pregnant as you will have missed a period. The hCG hormone level in your body should now be high enough to confirm  your pregnancy with a home pregnancy test.

Teeny, But Visible, And Shaped Like a Tadpole!

Even though the embryo is still very small (less than a ¼ inch or ½ cm), a lot is happening: the major organs have started to develop. The components of the brain are growing, arm and leg buds appear, your embryo’s tiny heart begins to beat and the placenta begins nourishing the embryo.

Embryo at week 5 gestational ageThe embryo does resemble a tadpole at this stage because the spinal cord has grown faster than the rest, giving a tail-like appearance.

Another important development is that the neural tube which connects the spinal cord and the brain is starting to close.

It is mind-boggling to think that so much is happening in your little embryo that is only the size of an orange seed!

At 5 weeks, the gestational sac and heart beat can usually be detected by a trans-vaginal ultrasound.

What To Expect

Even though a huge spurt of growth is happening in your tiny little embryo, the world will be unaware of the magic happening in your uterus.

But you will start to notice the subtle changes in your body!

You may be aware of pregnancy symptoms such as bloating, tiredness, tingling or sore breasts, mood swings (kind of like PMS on overdrive), frequent urination and nausea.

If you are feeling fatigue or full-out wiped out, you can blame your elevated pregnancy hormones for your exhaustion.

The good news is that by the end of your first trimester, your energy levels will pick up again.

Your uncomfortable, swollen and tender breasts will feel similar to how they feel before your regular period, only much more tender and sore to touch. To help relieve breast tenderness, invest in a good bra (and even wear it at night if you’re uncomfortable sleeping).

There is always a lot of confusion about the way in which your estimated due date (EDD) is calculated (from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP)). I know it sounds crazy – you could not possibly have been pregnant during your last menstrual period! But since most women do not know when they became pregnant, it is used as the reference point to calculate your EDD.

Tips for Week 5

Listen to your body: if you are feeling tired, get plenty of rest and sleep.

Mood swings may be in full throttle due to surging hormones. Rest assured, you are not going crazy!

Do not worry if you are not experiencing any pregnancy symptoms as many women sail through the first few weeks of pregnancy without any problems.

If you have not already done so, choose a doctor and/or midwife and schedule your first prenatal visit. To prepare, try and work out when the first day of your LMP was and start making a list of questions you would like to ask.

This is a critical time for your baby’s development, so make the necessary lifestyle changes now to protect your baby’s health and your own.

Congratulations! You’re definitely pregnant, and if you have not shared the news with anyone, this could be a great time to start exploring ideas for making your pregnancy announcement to your partner, family and friends. Have fun!

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