5 Weeks Pregnant: Know Your Baby’s First Heartbeats
6 mins read
What’s it like?
This is the week when many women notice the first changes to their bodies. You may have breast tenderness, morning sickness or the increased need for urination. You won’t yet show, and your total weight gain is probably around 1 lb. Your embryo is going through some rapid changes – your baby’s heart and blood system is beginning to develop and he or she will have their first heartbeats.
If last week you were still overwhelmed by the news and you didn’t manage to find a good obstetrician, now would be a good moment to do so. Once you set an appointment with the obstetrician, make a list of questions in case you forget something while face-to-face.
Your baby’s growth
Your baby, still in the embryonic phase, measures about 0.06 inches (1.5 millimeters) and it is growing fast. The cell division is accelerated and the third layer, located between the ectoderm and endoderm, called the mesoderm, is forming.
- The mesoderm
From the mesoderm, the circulatory system, the bone marrow, spleen and lymph vessels will develop. The lymph system includes all the structures dedicated to the circulation and production of lymphocytes, which includes the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and the lymphoid tissue associated with the digestive system. Also, the skeleton and kidneys will derive from the mesoderm.
- Amniotic sac and liquid
During the third week, the amniotic cavity expands, including the embryo and the umbilical cord inside it. It forms a sac filled with liquid, in which your baby can move freely enjoying the protection from the influences of the outside world. The amniotic liquid contains nutrients and hormones.
- Blood vessels
The first blood cells of your baby appear this week. His or her heart structure forms as a result of two blood vessels that merge into a single small room. Your baby’s first heartbeats can be distinguished by the 21st day after conception.
What happens inside your body?
Your body and baby are going through rapid changes and you will likely notice the intensification of the signs, symptoms and discomforts present in the previous week. Some new mothers may not experience any disturbances at all at this time. If this is your case too, you do not have to worry. You are just lucky!
- Morning sickness
Morning sickness may begin when you are 5 weeks pregnant, although it is more likely to start in the sixth week. It is actually a misnomer, since its characteristic nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of the day. The condition tends to be most noticeable in the first trimester of pregnancy but some experience it throughout the pregnancy. However there are some simple ways to combat it by eating crackers, drinking ginger tea, water with lemon or taking a Vitamin B6 supplement if your doctor prescribes it.
Fatigue is the most common symptom this week. If you are very tired, try to rest as much as possible during the day and night. Avoid drinking that extra cup of coffee as too much caffeine can affect your developing fetus. Opt for walking and light exercise to stay active.
How different will you look?
While much is happening inside your body, there may not be any obvious physical changes yet. In fact some may lose weight due to the lower appetite from the hormonal changes and morning sickness. Don’t worry about getting an entirely new wardrobe just yet. Your clothes will probably fit just fine from now until the 14th week of pregnancy.
Some women find the tension and tightness in their breasts increases during the fifth week of pregnancy. You can try wearing a comfortable or even a sports bra.
How can you care for both of your loved ones?
While you may want to call, text, email, etc. everyone on your contacts list, now is probably not the best time to do it. This is a particularly sensitive time in the pregnancy – first term miscarriages are most common and anything can happen. That’s not to say you shouldn’t celebrate, go ahead, but you may not want to broadcast it to the world just yet.
If your partner has started morning sickness, try and make the extra effort to be there for her. A romantic dinner (sans alcohol), a massage, renting her favorite movie, might be the best way to celebrate your wonderful news.
Tips to help you go through trimester
- Avoid certain foods. It is advisable to avoid certain foods throughout your pregnancy. Diseases such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects or miscarriage because of harmful bacteria. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, unpasteurized juices, raw meat and fish, raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs, and liver pate.
- Avoid certain physical activities. It is important to avoid sports where you have a high chance of falling, such as skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, or combat sports. Jogging, biking, yoga are all safe for the baby. If you are worried about biking in traffic because of the risk of a crash or an accident, try spinning instead. Avoid riding off the road or when the pavement is snowy or wet, both of which increase your chance of having an accident.
- Ease the morning sickness. If nausea and vomiting are problematic, try eating smaller meals, but more often. Try keeping some crackers and seltzer water close by the bed and snack on some before you get up in the morning. Morning sickness is often worse on an empty or completely full stomach. Stay clear of the Pepto-Bismol because it contains salicylates, which have not been shown to cause birth defects in humans, but have been shown to potentially cause birth defects in animals. Some women find that sipping some ginger tea or lemon water helps relieve nausea. Another remedy is supplementation with extra B-6. Take 10-25mg three times a day.
- Keep taking those supplements. Iron and folic acid are particularly important at the beginning of the pregnancy. Folic acid is actually crucial for the nervous system and brain development. Iron supplements can cut your risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality. Approximately 20 of pregnant women are estimated to have a vitamin and mineral deficiency. Supplements are a low-cost and easy way to make sure you are getting what you and your embryo need.
- Stay hydrated. Stay cool – overheating, especially in the first trimester, could be harmful to your baby. Staying hydrated will also help you avoid headaches and prevent swelling later on.
While you may not look very different, this is a time of rapid development for your embryo. Your baby’s heart and blood system is beginning to develop and the amniotic sack. By the 21st day, their first heartbeats can be distinguished. This is a particularly sensitive time during your pregnancy, so make sure you eat well, avoid smoking, drugs and booze and get plenty of rest.
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