A tiny heart starts beating
In week 5 of pregnancy, your baby, technically called an embryo, measures a little over 1mm long1. But already their brain, spinal cord, and blood vessels are beginning to develop, albeit on a microscopic scale2. Their circulatory system is also developing and it’s at around the end of week 5 that your baby’s heart starts to beat1.
Meanwhile, the umbilical cord, which will deliver nutrients to your baby, is beginning to form2. The amniotic sac, soon to be filled with a clear, pale fluid to cushion your baby, starts to take shape too3.
This may be the week that you find out for certain that you’re pregnant. If you’re not convinced by the absence of your menstrual period and other symptoms such as tender breasts and tiredness, your hormone levels should be high enough at 5 weeks pregnant to confirm the news on a home pregnancy test4.
Is vitamin A safe?
In small doses, vitamin A is essential to the development of cells, skin, healthy vision and the immune system. Fortunately, a healthy, balanced diet is likely to provide all the vitamin A your baby needs. There’s little to no risk of deficiency for pregnant mums in the UK – it’s more common in developing countries where malnutrition is a problem.
“Your need for vitamin A increases only slightly during pregnancy.”
What you need to be more aware of is not getting too much of this vital but potent nutrient, which in large amounts may cause development problems in your unborn baby5.
Vitamin A is available in two forms: as retinol from animal products, and from carotenoids, a group of substances found in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables that the body can convert into vitamin A.
The richest sources of vitamin A, including liver, liver pâté and non-pregnancy supplements that contain it, should be avoided6. If you are taking a multivitamin, now is the time to switch to a prenatal multivitamin that is tailored to the needs of you and your baby.
Nourish your baby with a balanced diet that includes the following sources of vitamin A:
- Some yogurts (those with a higher fat content)
- Fortified low-fat spreads
- Eggs (cook them well to reduce any risk of food poisoning)
Add the following sources of carotenoids to your shopping list7:
- Green, leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach
- Cantaloupe melon, mangoes and apricots
- Orange and yellow vegetables, including carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and pumpkin