Week 5 can feel a little strange. You’ve registered with the doctor, your care is planned, yet there’s not really much to do at this stage. You will be noticing a lot of changes in your body however while your baby grows at an astonishing rate.
In week 5 of your pregnancy the embryo is approximately 1.3mm from the crown of the head to the rump but is very difficult to see and measure at this stage using ultrasound. You’ll find that the ultrasound is the best way to measure and monitor a baby during your pregnancy. The amniotic sac has now developed around the embryo and will protect the baby during the rest of the pregnancy.
The baby’s tiny heart is now beating at around 80 beats per minute, and cells within the heart are dividing to form the 4 chambers of the heart. Other major organs, such as the liver and kidney are continuing to form while the appendix is fully formed by this stage. The intestines and the cells that will later form the stomach are also developing and the neural tube, that connects the brain and spinal cord, will close. The very beginnings of the central nervous system are also emerging.
Arm and leg ‘buds’ are beginning to sprout although they are not yet visible. The early forms of the baby’s lower jaw and neck now exist as small folds and the eyes, ears, nose and cheeks are also starting to form.
Your Body and Symptoms
By now you may notice that your energy levels have dropped a little. This is because your body is putting a lot of energy into creating and sustaining the placenta. The changes in hormones can also contribute to the feelings of fatigue. It’s important to rest if you can. You may also already be feeling nauseous from time to time. This is particularly common during the first trimester, but may persist throughout your pregnancy. Feelings of nausea (also known as morning sickness although it is not just in the morning!) are caused by changes in hormone levels. Eating small amounts of food regularly throughout the day (grazing) can help, however if you are finding is difficult to deal with your nausea, or if you are vomiting frequently, you should consult your Doctor.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
It’s perfectly normal to worry about the health of your baby and your pregnancy at every stage. There are some symptoms to look out for that require medical treatment as soon as possible. If you notice bleeding from your vagina, get in touch with your doctor immediately. An ultrasound scan may not show much at 5 weeks, or even identify the pregnancy but there is an HCG blood test that can monitor your hormone levels to see if there’s significant change. This takes the form of two tests scheduled 48 hours apart.
Unfortunately, if you are bleeding, there is no medical intervention that can make it stop while ensuring you continue your pregnancy. Sometimes the bleeding can settle down and the pregnancy can continue as normal, other times it may lead to a miscarriage. This is obviously devastating for the mother but there is nothing that can be done to stop it.
If you are bleeding and have been sent home by the doctor. Rest as much as possible and try to avoid sex or vigorous exercise until it stops.
Your Care on the NHS
You may be surprised that your GP leaves you alone until the 9th week or later, as there are no services the NHS offers during this time.
Private Care Available
A private clinic can offer an ultrasound and a blood test at this stage, however the embryo's heartbeat may not be picked up until week 7.
At The Birth Company we have a resident Midwife who is available for telephone consultations if you feel you would benefit from the support and knowledge of Midwifery input at this stage