Those symptoms you’ve been feeling for the last little while? It’s not the flu. It’s not PMS. You’re pregnant and by week five, you either already know for sure or will very soon. Congratulations! So what can you expect for Pregnancy Week Five? In all honesty, things are still going to be fairly normal for you but the budding baby you’re carrying is really starting to do some interesting things in your womb. While last week likely saw The Great Divide taking place, this week also is a big week for baby. Let’s take a look.
What’s Happening with Your Body
By pregnancy week five, your baby has transitioned from a tiny ball of cells into a what sort of resembles a tadpole and it is now roughly the size of an orange seed. Your little tadpole even has its own little tail. This little tadpole is composed of three layers that will eventually develop into your baby’s organs. This process started last week but now there will be a little more development. The top layer of the tadpole is called the ectoderm. The ectoderm will become your baby’s fingernails, hair, skin, sweat glands and tooth enamel but it will also be the layer that develops the neural tube. In the fifth week of your pregnancy, the ectoderm will sprout the neural tube which will in term, eventually sprout your baby’s brain, nerves and spinal cord.
The mesoderm is the middle layer of your baby and it’s in this middle layer that we find the most development at this stage in your pregnancy. During pregnancy week five, your baby’s heart and circulatory system will divide into chambers and your baby’s heart will begin pumping blood. Obviously this is a huge milestone in your budding baby’s development but it may also be a pretty big milestone for you as well as an early ultrasound at this stage in your pregnancy may allow you to hear you baby’s heartbeat for the very first time. The mesoderm contains more than just your baby’s heart and circulatory system though. Your baby’s bone, cartilage and muscle tissue will come from this section as well.
While there isn’t much taking place in the endoderm just yet, this layer will be home to what will develop into your baby’s intestines, liver, lungs, pancreas thyroid glands, and urinary system. At this stage in your little tadpole’s development though it is relying on what has formed of its placenta and on your umbilical cord to provide it with food and oxygen. All in all, there’s a lot going on inside your body, even if it doesn’t necessarily look that way on the outside.
How You’re Feeling
Pregnancy is an emotional time for a woman, for her partner and for her friends and family. There can be a lot of fear at this stage in the pregnancy because you’re still very early on and a lot can happen. It’s important to listen to your body but it’s also important to try to relax. Stress is only going to make things harder on you and on the baby relying on you to make sure it has what it needs. If you’re worried something isn’t right, talk to your doctor. Your doctor should be able to set your mind at ease and don’t worry – your doctor will understand your fear and will want to help you deal with it in the best possible way. Being nervous is entirely normal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help dealing with what you’re feeling.
This can also be an extremely exciting time for a mother-to-be. You’ve likely taken a pregnancy test to confirm the bun in your over and may be starting to make plans for your pregnancy and for your baby’s arrival. Too much excitement can also be a bad thing though. Don’t over exert yourself and don’t let yourself get too caught up in the planning. Planning can mean stress and as we mentioned a moment ago, stress is the enemy. Relax. It might not feel like there’s nearly enough time to get everything done but there is. If you’re feeling overwhelmed – with fear or excitement – ask for help.
Aside from all of the emotional things taking place, you’ll probably still be experiencing many of the week four pregnancy symptoms we talked about last week. Some of those symptoms include:
- Continued morning sickness that may last all day.
- Cramping or spotting
- Increased urination
- Tender or swollen breasts, often both tender and swollen
All of these symptoms are perfectly normal. If you’re having trouble with dealing with any of the symptoms though, you can talk to your doctor to see if there’s help available. You can also try some of the following:
- Wear a sports bra if your breasts are especially tender.
- Take on a light, doctor approved exercise routine.
- Take naps when you can.
- Eat saltine crackers in the morning or with meals.
- Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse.
None of these things will alleviate your symptoms entirely but they may make them a bit easier to deal with.
What You Should Be Focusing On
While I suggest quitting smoking and drinking as soon as you begin trying to have a baby, it is absolutely vital that you do so now. There’s no more “what if”. You’ve taken the test, it’s come back positive. It’s time to start thinking about living a healthier lifestyle for the sake of your baby. Quitting smoking isn’t easy. I know. I’m trying to do it now. For some women, quitting is going to be extremely stressful. Talk to your doctor. For some women – and I cannot emphasize some enough here – gradually cutting back before quitting is the safest option for mother and baby. Don’t make this call on your own. Only continue smoking if your doctor tells you to do so and only at a severely reduced rate. You really should’ve quit before trying to get pregnant but realistically, that isn’t always possible. Some women need to see that plus sign on a pregnancy test before they finally understand its time. Don’t put it off. Your baby and your baby’s future health demands it.
Beyond making the switch to a healthier lifestyle, you also need to start going to prenatal care appointments with your doctor. Start taking prenatal vitamins or supplements to ensure your baby is getting exactly what it needs. Folic acid is particularly important at this stage in your pregnancy because it helps reduce the chances your baby will develop spinal bifida or other disorders involving the neural tube. Your doctor will know what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Follow your doctor’s orders. These appointments are important. Don’t put them off.
You also need to make sure you tell your doctor what, if any, medications you are taking. You may need to stop taking certain medications while you’re pregnant while others may be perfectly safe. If you’re prone to headaches or other ailments, ask your doctor what you can safely take to treat them while you’re pregnant. Your doctor is a huge source of support throughout your pregnancy but can be especially helpful early on during these important stages of your baby’s development.
Now is also a good time to start thinking about exercise. There are many great pregnancy safe exercise routines you can start on while you’re pregnant and you shouldn’t ignore the importance of taking on one of these routines. Studies show women who exercise during pregnancy are back on their feet more quickly after giving birth.