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Week 5

How Big is the Baby at Five Weeks Pregnant?

Pregnancy week 5 isn't much different from pregnancy week 4. During 5 weeks pregnant your baby is still just over a millimeter long. You might say that your baby is about the size of a small grain of rice! However your baby is growing in many other ways. Vital organs continue to develop through this week.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

During the early part of this pregnancy at 5 weeks the central nervous system, muscles, bones and even the heart will begin to form. Early skeletal development is also possible at or around pregnancy week 5. Remember that every person is unique, thus their baby will develop at a different rate from others.

Perhaps the most interesting changes that are occurring during 5 weeks pregnant include those happening in the heart. During this week the heart will begin to divide into separate chambers and start pumping blood. The heart is formed from the middle layer of cells called the mesoderm. Other organs that will develop from this layer include the muscles, cartilage and bone.

The primitive placenta and umbilical cord are also developing. The neural tube starts developing in the top layer of cells called the ectoderm. The skin, hair, nails and sweat glands will also develop out of this layer of cells. The lungs, intestines, thyroid and pancreas also develop from a third layer of cells called the endoderm.

Your Growth and Development

You will still be pretty small during pregnancy at 5 weeks.. An onlooker will not be able to detect that you are pregnant for several more weeks. Some women, particularly moms who have given birth before, have reported that they notice more bloating in their abdomen during pregnancy at 5 weeks and during other early weeks. This is also a common menstrual symptom. Many women assume that their periods are simply late and that they are bloated because of it!

Early Pregnancy Complications

Sometimes things go wrong with a pregnancy. Occasionally a woman will experience an ectopic pregnancy. This happens when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. There is an even smaller chance that the egg will implant around the ovary or cervix, though this is very rare. Ectopic pregnancies generally occur in about 1 out of every 100 pregnancies. Your risk might be increased if you have ever experienced pelvic inflammatory disease or some other infection that might have damaged your fallopian tube. Women who have had a previous ectopic pregnancy are more likely to experience a recurrence than those who have not.

The primary signs of an ectopic pregnancy include: vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea. Some of these symptoms however mimic ordinary pregnancy symptoms, so it is sometimes difficult to diagnose. The best way to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy is to measure the levels of human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG in the blood. This is a hormone produced during pregnancy that generally doubles approximately every 2 days.

When HCG levels do not increase normally an ectopic pregnancy might be suspected. Ultrasound can also help diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy your physician may require you undergo surgical treatment. Your doctor will want to perform surgery before any damage is done to your tube, which can affect your fertility in the future.

Other complications may include a blighted ovum or a molar pregnancy. A blighted ovum occurs when the fertilized egg implants but the embryo stops developing or isn't developing at all. It typically results in a miscarriage. A molar pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg is abnormal from the time of conception. Usually the egg will not develop into an embryo or will develop abnormally so that it can't survive. Molar pregnancies occur in about one out of every 1,000 pregnancies. A molar pregnancy will usually require a surgical procedure to remove the abnormal tissue.

Most women will go on to have normal pregnancies. While it is difficult not to worry about potential complications, it is important that you adopt a healthy attitude. The more you relax and enjoy the changes in your body, the more likely things will go well for you. If you do notice any abnormal symptoms however, including continuous bleeding after a positive pregnancy test, be sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Changes in You

You may or may not start realizing some changes at 5 weeks pregnant. Some women will start feeling nauseous at or around the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy. Some women will also start noticing other early signs of pregnancy such as a need to urinate more frequently, or tingling and soreness in the breasts.

Morning sickness may start by pregnancy week five but probably won't set in for a few more weeks. Morning sickness is actually a misnomer. The nausea that is associated with pregnancy can come at any time of the day, morning or night. Some women are plagued with morning sickness during their entire pregnancies, though most morning sickness gets better after the first trimester. The good news is there are many things you can do to help alleviate morning sickness as you follow your pregnancy week by week. Try keeping some crackers and fizzy or 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 stomach. Other women find sipping some ginger tea or lemon water helps relieve nausea. Another remedy is supplementation with extra B-6. Before you try any remedies for morning sickness or any other symptom of pregnancy, be sure you consult with your healthcare provider. There are many herbs that can be dangerous to you or your developing baby when pregnant. When in doubt always err on the side of safety.

Health Tip

Many women will decide to keep their pregnancies private until after the 12th week. This is because the chance of miscarriage is greatest during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Whether or not you decide to share the news about your pregnancy is up to you and your partner. Many women find great relief in sharing their joyous news with friends and family members. That way if something does go wrong, they will also have the support of their loved ones at this time. Others prefer to keep things private.

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to revealing your pregnancy. When you do decide to share the news, do so with pomp and circumstance. Most women will only be pregnant one or a few times in their life. It is always fun to share the news in a memorable way.

You might decide for example to purchase a new baby outfit or two to surprise your partner or loved ones with. Some women wait until their first prenatal visit, where they will often get to take home the first picture of their newborn via a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Do what is right for you, but enjoy the process when you do! Having a baby should be a memorable and joyous occasion for everyone!

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