During week 5 of pregnancy, changes in your body are still very subtle and your baby is still tiny. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not developing quickly! Your baby at 5 weeks is changing and growing very fast, and many structures are already starting to take shape.
You might start feeling some changes, too. This is the time when many pregnant women start to experience their first pregnancy symptoms as a result of hormonal changes. You might have just found out about your pregnancy due to a missed period.
At 5 weeks pregnant, you’re in the second month of your pregnancy. And although there’s still plenty of time to go before the baby arrives, your body is already working hard to help your baby grow strong.
Your baby at 5 weeks pregnant is actually looking a bit like a tadpole. The placenta, amniotic sac, and umbilical cord are still forming. Instead, the baby is surrounded by the gestational and yolk sacs, which also provide protection and nutrients to the 5-week old embryo.
Most of your baby’s systems are beginning to form during week 5 of pregnancy. This includes their nervous and circulatory systems.
How big is a baby at 5 weeks pregnant?
The size of a baby at 5 weeks is comparable to the size of a sesame seed. It measures 0.118 inches (3 mm) from crown to rump — basically, from head to bum. Your five-week embryo might be tiny, but there are many exciting things starting to take shape!
5-week old fetus development
It might be a bit hard to imagine this, but your little tadpole is actually conformed by 3 distinct layers at this point. These layers will develop over the next few months to form all your baby’s organs. The embryonic layers are:
- The ectoderm: this is the outer layer and will give rise to your baby's outermost layer of skin, will form your baby’s nervous system, ears, eyes.
- The mesoderm: this is the middle layer and it will form the baby’s heart and cardiovascular system, bones, much of the reproductive system, muscles, ligaments, and kidneys.
- The endoderm: this is the inner layer and it will form your baby’s lungs, early urinary system, and bowels.
- In the womb, the 5-week baby is developing its neural tube, which will close permanently in about a week. This is the structure that will eventually become the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking 400 mcg of folic acid each day can help prevent the risk of neural tube disorders.
Your baby’s heart is also starting to take shape. Right now, it’s only formed by 2 channels that have already started to work. In the following weeks, these channels will merge and form a fully-functioning little heart.
It’s very likely that this is the week when you miss a period and decide to take a pregnancy test. Congratulations! Even though it’s still very early in your pregnancy, complex hormonal changes mean that you might be experiencing many symptoms already.
For many women, the first trimester is the most uncomfortable one. The hormones that are helping your 5-week embryo grow can also cause many unpleasant symptoms. The good news is that most women report that these symptoms tend to decrease after the first trimester is over.
5 weeks pregnant belly
You probably won’t have much of a 5-week pregnant belly. Since your baby is still so small, your belly will probably look pretty much the same as it always has.
Pregnancy hormones could also make you feel a bit bloated, or you might have even lost a couple of pounds due to morning sickness. Any of these situations is normal, and as long as you’re healthy, they’re nothing to worry about.
Pregnancy symptoms, week 5
During week 5 of pregnancy, your hormones are running the show. Estrogen, progesterone, and hCG are elevated to keep your pregnancy on track. These hormones can cause many symptoms, and lots of women start feeling their effects during week 5 of pregnancy. Some of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy include:
- Fatigue: this is one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy. Most of your energy is going to your baby, so it’s normal to feel tired often.
- Morning sickness: morning sickness can actually happen at any time of the day. Nausea and vomiting are more common during the first trimester, and they tend to subside later in your pregnancy.
- Tender breasts: at 5 weeks pregnant, your breasts could feel sore and swollen.
- Cravings: many women experience food cravings and aversions during their pregnancy.
- Frequent urination: the hormones in your body increase the blood flow to your pelvic area and to your kidneys which means you’ll need to take more frequent trips to the bathroom.
- Cramps: some mild uterine cramping is perfectly normal at this stage. It could be due to your uterus getting slightly larger or a sign of embryonic implantation.
- Light spotting: don’t be scared if you have light spotting on week 5 of pregnancy. This is another sign that the embryo has implanted inside your uterine lining. But if the spotting - or cramping - doesn’t stop or gets worse, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.
You won’t necessarily be having your first ultrasound when you’re 5 weeks pregnant. In many cases, your doctor will schedule an appointment and ultrasound around weeks 8 or 9.
If there are any risks associated with your pregnancy, you might still get an ultrasound this week. A specialist is able to see the fertilized egg approximately in week 5 of the pregnancy. The heartbeat can be heard in week 6.
Usually, during pregnancy, an ultrasound is carried out using an abdominal sensor, but during the early pregnancy stages, a doctor can still perform a transvaginal examination.
The first ultrasound examination helps to confirm the heartbeat of the fetus and the fact that the pregnancy is not ectopic. Later, it allows you to see the location of the placenta and the umbilical cord, as well as to assess the overall condition of the child. Ultrasound enables one to monitor a successful course of pregnancy.
There are several habits that can help you be healthier and more comfortable during the early stages of pregnancy:
- Start eating a healthier diet: eating foods such as leafy greens, fruits, low-mercury fish, lean animal protein, grains and cereals, vegetables, and seeds and nuts can help you and your baby stay healthy during your pregnancy. You should also avoid alcohol, tobacco, excessive caffeine, high-mercury fish, uncooked meats, and unpasteurized dairy.
- Exercise regularly: it’s perfectly safe to exercise during your pregnancy. If you’re not feeling too tired or nauseous, make some time to build up your endurance and strengthen your muscles.
- Listen to your body: creating a baby is hard work! Fatigue is something you can expect on week 5 of pregnancy, so rest up if you’re feeling tired.
- Find what works for your morning sickness: there are many ways to relieve morning sickness, such as acupressure wristbands, ginger capsules, and nausea-reducing lozenges. Find what makes you feel better, but don’t forget to consult with your doctor first.
- Avoid traveling to Zika-infected areas.
Sex at week 5 of pregnancy
It’s safe for you to have sex at any stage during your pregnancy. Some women experience an increased sex-drive around this stage. But keep in mind that symptoms like morning sickness can put you off sex when you’re around 5 weeks pregnant, which is normal.
Some women can spot lightly after having sex. This happens because your cervix has become more tender and vascularized. Unless the spotting doesn’t stop, there’s nothing to worry about.
- Take a pregnancy test after missing your period.
- Make your first antenatal appointment with your doctor.
- Start taking a prenatal vitamin.
- Develop healthier eating and exercise habits.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Listen to your body for cues and rest as much as you need.
- Start a pregnancy journal — this will help you remember every detail in the years to come!
What to ask your doctor?
Once you get a positive pregnancy test, it’s time to make an appointment with the OB-GYN. They’ll be able to advise you on what to expect at week 5 of pregnancy, and also determine your gestational age and due date. They’ll probably order tests, review your family history, and schedule you for an ultrasound.
Discuss any symptoms with your doctor. They’re also the best person to answer your doubts, from recommending the best prenatal supplements to the size of your 5-week embryo.
Week 5 of your pregnancy can bring many changes, from a positive pregnancy test to the many symptoms that you might develop. It’s normal to feel anxious once you find out that you’re expecting, but you should also enjoy these weeks as your body adjusts to a new life. While your 5-week old baby is still a long way from meeting the world, it’s already growing fast inside your belly. 8 months to go can seem like a long time, but you’ll be holding your new baby before you know it.