Pregnancy Tracker: Week 5

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 5




At 5 weeks pregnant, you have missed your first period and are in your second month!

This is the most common time for mums-to-be to discover that they are pregnant.

Nervous? Excited? Terrified?

If you have not already done so, you can officially take a home pregnancy test to put your mind at rest one way or the other. Your hCG hormone levels are elevated enough to show a positive result.

The realisation that you're going to be a mother will undoubtedly cause a range of feelings, from utter delight to utter horror!  Your partner has likely been in on the excitement since the beginning but being able to confirm it can be turned into a fun game as there are lots of cute ways to impart the news. However you choose to tell him, no doubt he will be as thrilled (and maybe as scared!) as you!

You may be bursting to tell friends and family the good news.  Some couples prefer to keep the news to themselves and a few very close family members and/or friends until after the 12th week of pregnancy, when the risk of miscarriage decreases. This is an entirely personal matter, and you as a couple need to make that decision.

Your embryo is starting to look more like a foetus as the neural tube, which forms the spinal cord (and brain) are starting to develop.  Baby is still very small, about the size of an apple seed at 2mm long and may look rather like a tiny tadpole as the head and rump start to form.

At this early stage the baby’s heart is starting to develop and although a heartbeat cannot usually be detected yet, blood vessels are beginning to grow and blood to circulate.  Some of these blood vessels form the umbilical cord that is attached to the placenta.

Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 5

The symptoms you are experiencing now are just the start of a whole lot of changes you will be going through in the next few months.  Don’t feel despondent of you are battling with side effects. Many experts, as well as countless women who have gone through the pregnancy process many times over, say that the first trimester is the most difficult.

As well as the symptoms you may have been experiencing to date, like tender breasts, fatigue, cramps, and spotting, you may now add a few more:

  • Frequent urination. This is very common in the early weeks, and unfortunately is likely to continue throughout your pregnancy. Blame this on hormones, as well as expanding kidneys. Later in pregnancy, as the baby becomes heavier, pressure on your bladder, urethra and pelvic floor muscles will increase the urge to pee more frequently.

If you feel that you are constantly trotting off to the bathroom, your first thought may be to cut down on fluids, but this is a mistake as you need to stay hydrated.  Avoiding caffeinated drinks is a good idea and cutting down on fluids before bed may help to ensure a better night’s rest.

  • Morning Sickness. This is a misnomer as nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy can occur at any time of the day, and even throughout the day! Interestingly, not much is known about the cause of morning sickness, other than that it is linked to the hormone hCH – the hormone that confirms pregnancy. It has been ascertained that hCH builds up to a peak at about 10 weeks, which is when morning sickness also peaks. 

Some reassuring research suggests that nausea is nature’s way of preventing mum-to-be ingesting substances that may be toxic to the growing baby during this delicate stage of pregnancy when baby’s organs are forming. The good news is that many women report a lessening of nausea as the pregnancy progresses, although about 15% of unlucky mums will continue to experience it throughout the pregnancy.

As unpleasant and debilitating as it is to you, morning sickness won’t harm your baby, and in most cases, won’t need to be treated.

However, if you have the following symptoms it could indicate that you have hyperemesis gravidarum, and you should chat to your healthcare provider:

  • Vomiting more than five times daily
  • Losing weight – 5% or more of your pre-pregnancy weight
  • Strong abdominal cramps
  • Signs of dehydration

Tips and advice for week 5 of pregnancy

  • Choose a healthcare provider. Chat to friends and relatives to get good recommendations.
  • Continue to keep to a healthy lifestyle by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, taking supplements and keeping well hydrated.
  • Exercising and keeping fit is important for both you and your baby-to-be.
  • Read up as much as possible about what will be happening in the weeks and months ahead so you are prepared for the changes that will be taking place.
  • Develop good strategies for relaxing and de-stressing. Keep a diary of your feelings, changes, and development.
  • Join a ‘due-date’ support group or pre-natal exercise group. Talking to people in the same situation as you will be a great comfort as your pregnancy progresses, and when you are a new mum as well.
  • Arrange a visit to your oral hygienist for teeth cleaning. Periodontal disease is evident in about 40% of pregnant mums. This disease increases the chance of preeclampsia (a complication that can be linked to high blood pressure).
  • Know which foods are best to skip: raw meat and fish, unwashed vegetables and fruit, seafood high in mercury, unpasteurised cheeses, certain deli foods, alcohol.
  • Reduce caffeinated drinks, stop smoking, and avoid second-hand smoke.

Various emotions can be evident during pregnancy. Even if you love being pregnant, there may still be occasions when morning sickness, fatigue or other symptoms make you feel a little down in the dumps.

It is crucial to remember your ultimate objective when you are at your lowest, and endeavour to return to a comfortable emotional state by putting emphasis on your self-care and physical comfort.

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