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Pregnancy

      5 weeks pregnant: Pregnancy Symptoms & Baby Development

      Read time: 4 minutes

      5 weeks pregnant is how many months?

      Month 2 (Trimester 1)

      Baby development at 5 weeks

      Your baby’s vital organs are developing fast, including their heart¹.

      Vitamin A

      Discover the role Vitamin A plays in your baby’s development.

      Keeping healthy

      Lean how to stay active safely throughout your pregnancy.

      Baby development at 5 weeks

       

      What does my baby look like? And, what size is my baby?

      In week 5 of pregnancy, your baby, technically called an embryo, measures a little over 1mm long1 – that’s roughly the size of a sesame seed. 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.

      Pregnancy at 5 weeks (first trimester)

      What’s happening in my body?

      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 period or other symptoms such as tender breasts and tiredness, at 5 weeks your hormone levels should be high enough to confirm the news on a home pregnancy test4.

      Early pregnancy symptoms at 5 weeks5

      Early pregnancy symptoms vary from person to person. At 5 weeks, you may experience any of the following signs of pregnancy, or no symptoms at all:

      Your breasts may become larger and feel sore. You may also find your nipples stick out more than usual and darken in colour as your body begins to prepare for breastfeeding. 

      During the first 12 weeks, hormonal changes can leave you feeling tired or exhausted. 

      Morning sickness affects up to 80% of mums-to-be in the first trimester6. It can strike at any time of the day or night and varies from mild nausea to sickness throughout the day.

      The pregnancy hormone progesterone slows down your digestion which can lead to bloating and excess gas7.

      Light cramping and spotting are common in the early stages of pregnancy8,9. If the pain becomes severe (stronger than period cramps) or if bleeding becomes heavy, you should talk to your GP.

      Frequent trips to the bathroom are one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy, as your growing uterus begins to put pressure on your bladder.

      Pregnancy hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, soar during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy10, affecting how you’re feeling emotionally. Get plenty of rest and light exercise to keep you feeling like yourself.

       

      Focus on vitamin A

      A healthy, balanced diet should provide all the vitamin A your baby needs. In fact, 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.

      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 baby11,12.

      It’s best to eat a balanced diet that includes the following sources of vitamin A:

      • Cheese
      • Some yogurts (those with a higher fat content)
      • Eggs
      • Fortified low-fat spreads
      • 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

      THE
      SCIENCE
      BEHIND

      VITAMIN A

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      Vitamin A is essential to the development of cells, skin, healthy vision the immune system and fetal growth13. It’s 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.

      How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
       

      Weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight, and varies a great deal from mother to mother. Most women gain between 10kg and 12.5kg (22–28lb) while pregnant, some of which is the weight of the growing baby14. Learn everything you need to know about weight gain in pregnancy.

      LEARN MORE

      If you haven’t been to see your GP yet, you should make an appointment so they can start planning your antenatal care, including your first ultrasound scan.

      1. Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013. p. 31.

      2. NHS. You and your baby at 0-8 weeks pregnant [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-4-5-6-7-8.aspx Page last reviewed: 17 July 2018. Next review due: 17 July 2021.

      3. NHS. What is the amniotic sac? [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2310.aspx Page last reviewed: 26 September 2018. Next review due: 26 September 2021.

      4. NHS. Doing a pregnancy test [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-test.aspx Page last reviewed: 1 October 2018. Next review due: 1 October 2021.

      5. NHS. Signs and symptoms of pregnancy [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/signs-and-symptoms-pregnancy/ Page last reviewed: 6 October 2018. Next review due: 6 October 2021.

      6. Noel M. Lee, M.D., Gastroenterology Fellow and Sumona Saha, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine. Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. 2011. Pub 2013. [Online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676933/

      7. NHS Start 4 Life. 1st trimester, week 10 [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/1st-trimester/week-ten/

      8. NHS. Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vaginal-bleeding-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: 26 January 2018. Next review due: 26 January 2021.

      9. NHS. Stomach pain in pregnancy [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/stomach-pain-abdominal-cramp-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: 1 May 2018. Next review due: 1 May 2021.

      10. Claudio N. Soares and Brook Zitek. Reproductive hormone sensitivity and risk for depression across the female life cycle: A continuum of vulnerability? 2008. [Online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440795/

      11. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.

      12. NHS UK. Foods to avoid in pregnancy [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/foods-to-avoid-pregnant.aspx [Page last reviewed: 23 January 2017. Next review due: 23 January 2020.

      13.World Health Organization [Online]. Available at: https://www.who.int/elena/titles/vitamina_pregnancy/en/

      14. NHS choices. How much weight will I put on during my pregnancy? [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2311.aspx?CategoryID=54 Page last reviewed: 18 October 2018. Next review due: 18 October 2021.

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