Women's Healthcare Topics
James Brann, MD. Ob/Gyn

5 Weeks Pregnant

In This Article

Pregnant Belly Changes

You will start to notice subtle changes in your body and soon the early symptoms of pregnancy will begin, the most noticeable being morning sickness. Breast tenderness and fatigue are two more common pregnancy symptoms that women notice first.

Once your pregnancy is confirmed by your doctor, get ready for a rollercoaster of emotions - from disbelief that you're pregnant to joy at the great news to fear of whether you'll be a good parent. In nine months, your whole life is going to change!

Are you nervous? Keep in mind that educating yourself about what to expect during pregnancy will alleviate your fears and make you feel more in control.

Educate yourself about what to expect during pregnancy.

Your belly may start to pooch out in a few weeks, but that's mostly due to gas and bloating - two very common first trimester pregnancy symptoms. Keep in mind that, your baby is only one millimeter long, and until your baby and uterus get larger, you will not look pregnant.

Pregnancy Symptoms Include:

Fatigue is a common pregnancy symptom that you'll notice first. You may find that you're so tired that it's hard to pay attention at work, and it might be easy for you to fall asleep when reading a book or even watching a movie. You can blame your elevated pregnancy hormones for your exhaustion.

Breast tenderness is also a common pregnancy symptom now. Your uncomfortable, swollen and tender breasts will feel similar to how they feel before your regular period, only they are much more tender and sore to touch. Breast tenderness is very common in the first trimester, but your discomfort will ease up in the second trimester.

Darker skin around your nipples is something else that you may notice. Along with breast tenderness, you may find that the circle of skin around your nipples (which are called the areolas) are darkening. In the first trimester, don't be surprised if you find that the bumps around your nipples (called Montgomery's tubercles) become more pronounced.

Frequent urination is another early pregnancy symptom to expect. The higher levels of hormones in your body and the cardiovascular changes cause your kidneys to work extra hard. As a result, you will have to urinate more often.

Your pregnancy weight gain at 5 weeks pregnant is around a pound. You will only gain about five or ten pounds in the first trimester, but in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, that’s when you will gain the most weight.

Morning sickness might also make its appearance. You may feel queasy in the morning, or you might even throw up. Nausea can also last all day, too. Morning sickness is a universal pregnancy symptom, and it can make you plain miserable. But there's a good perk of morning sickness - it decreases your miscarriage risk.

Baby Section

Your Baby at 5 Weeks of Pregnancy

This Ultrasound is of a baby at 5 weeks pregnant.

What Does an Ultrasound of the Baby Look Like at 5 Weeks Pregnant?

The gestational sac and baby can usually be detected at 5 weeks after your last menstrual period by a transvaginal ultrasound. The gestational sac and baby only measures 5 mm and is seen as the black spot in the shinning endometrium of the uterus in the photo.

At 5 weeks pregnant, your tiny baby is roughly one millimeter long and is inside of a 5mm yolk sac! That's pretty small, considering that an average baby is 17 to 21 inches long at birth.

At this very moment, embryonic tissues are already forming a structure that will soon become your little one's heart. It won't be long before his or her little heart starts beating!

Your baby's placenta is not yet developed, so your tiny baby is getting his or her nutrition from its yolk sac. The placenta won't be mature enough to take over this responsibility until pregnancy week 10 or so.

The umbilical cord, which connects your baby to the developing placenta, is quite short and because it is early in fetal development, the umbilical cord hasn't yet developed any coils.

At this moment, your little Einstein's brain is developing quite rapidly. The brain is diving into three primary sections: the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. Each of these areas will eventually have a specific function, including controlling your baby's movement, vision and hearing, balance and coordination.

Your baby's spine is in its earliest development. A fold down the back of the fetus marks the emerging of a spine. Your baby's neural tube is developing within this fold. Keep in mind that taking folic acid now will aid in the spine's development, and it will help prevent neutral tube defects in your baby.

Pregnancy Health Section

Video: Pregnancy Week 5

The Benefits of Exercise

You are newly pregnant and may not feel up to exercising, but being active and exercising may provide some relief from your first trimester pregnancy symptoms. In addition, exercise during pregnancy may increase your energy levels (which you definitely need in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy), improves your overall mood, and even helps you sleep better at night. What other reason do you need to exercise when pregnant?

For safe exercise in pregnancy, it's important that you talk to your doctor or healthcare provider first before starting any exercise regimen. Sometimes, there are special obstetric complications and health problems that would make exercising off-limits. In most cases, however, you are having a low risk pregnancy and exercising is perfectly safe.

Moderation is key when you're pregnant. Safe exercises for expectant mothers include walking, swimming, cycling, and aerobics. It's healthy for pregnant women to exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days.

When you're pregnant, you will want to avoid any exercises that put you at high risk for falling. These exercises include horseback riding and gymnastics, since you can have severe injuries and falls from that kind of activity. As a rule of thumb, downhill snow skiing, contact sports (such as soccer, basketball, and ice hockey), and scuba diving should also be avoided.

Treatments You can use to Ease Morning Sickness

Treatments for Morning Sickness.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy usually begins between the time you would have missed your first and second period and can continue up to 14 to 16 weeks. Although the nausea and vomiting in pregnancy tend to be worse in the morning, thus erroneously termed morning sickness, both usually continue throughout the day. In fact, 80 percent of mom’s-to-be has nausea that lasts all day long.

Treatments for morning sickness rarely are successful to afford you complete relief. But fortunately, there are various treatments that can minimize the unpleasantness of “morning sickness”.

The things you can do for mild nausea and vomiting includes:

  • Eating small meals and snacks at frequent intervals every one to two hours. Eat slowly and a lot of protein or carbohydrates.

  • Drink only clear, cold beverages that are fizzy.

  • Suck on ginger flavored lollipops. The herb ginger has been shown to be effective for nausea.

  • Smelling fresh lemon or orange may help.

  • Brushing your teeth after eating can help.

  • Walk around after eating and do not lie down.

  • Change the time you take your pre-natal vitamins to when you are less nauseated.

  • Avoid triggers that may make you feel nauseous, like food odors.

  • Acupressure wristbands.

  • Hypnosis has been reported to be helpful.

Medicines you can try to help ease the nausea and vomiting includes:

  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) helps easy the nausea, but does not significantly reduce vomiting.

  • Doxylamine (Unisom) is an antihistamine that is usually taken with pyridoxine. The doxylamine/pyridoxine seems to be effective for treatment of both nausea and vomiting.

  • Herbal supplements such as Ginger capsules may help.

Pregnant women who fail to respond to the above treatments and continue to lose weight may need to be hospitalized.

Five Unknown Things that Can Make Morning Sickness More Likely

The term “morning sickness” is actually a misleading, as the nauseous feeling or vomiting that occurs when a woman becomes pregnant can often last all day long, not just in the morning. It sometimes feels worse in the morning and gradually lessens in intensity throughout the day, but then it comes back again the next day.

What causes morning sickness is largely a mystery, but it affects over half to three-quarters of all pregnant women during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some women experience more severe cases than others, with different levels of mild to debilitating sickness. If you are searching for answers as to why you may suffer from morning sickness, there is no easy explanation. The following 5 things may contribute to morning sickness.

  • 1. Changes in Hormones.
    While this is inevitable to occur, it is important to understand why you feel nauseous. Estrogen, hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) and even changes in thyroid levels change rapidly during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Most women experience a “peak” around the same time as hCG levels are at their highest intensity. Staying hydrated (yes, drinking more water), even if you don’t feel like drinking anything, can help with morning sickness.

  • 2. Weak Stomach.
    Some women develop a stomach bacterium or have sensitivity to certain foods, which can heighten the feeling of nausea. Stay away from spicy foods or fatty foods, as these can increase sensitivity to nausea. Instead, eat very plain foods that are high in iron, like spinach, dried fruit, and certain iron-enriched cereals with low sugar content.

  • 3. Computer use.
    Do you spend a lot of time on the computer? If so, the flickering of the monitor can make your morning sickness worse because it strains your eyes. Although flickering is barely noticeable, it does heighten sensitivity in some women. Try adjusting the screen background to a soft shade and avoid bold colors and small fonts.

  • 4. Stress.
    When you first become pregnant, your body is stressed. You now have to “share” everything with your fetus, so this is a natural response that you may not have any control over. Cutting back on external stress – such as unhealthy relationships, excessive work, and other personal problems may help to alleviate some of your morning sickness. Although you may not feel like doing anything, studies reveal that exercise can actually help to decrease the intensity of morning sickness.

  • 5. Pre-natal Vitamins.
    This seems like a catch-22. Your doctor may recommend pre-natal vitamins and you want to take them to make sure you get enough nutrients for the baby, but these big “horse pills” are often difficult to digest, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. Try switching to children’s vitamins; at least until after the first trimester nausea goes away.

When to Announce Your Pregnancy

When to Announce Your Pregnancy.

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 once or a few times in their lifetime. 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 baby 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!

Doctor's Corner

Pregnancy Week by Week - Women's Healthcare Topics

Early Pregnancy Complications - Miscarriage and Ectopic

Signs of a miscarriage

During the early weeks of pregnancy, many women start to worry about miscarriage. This is always a concern, especially if you planned your pregnancy, but don't fret. Unless you have a history of miscarriages or other health conditions that increase your risk, you should not feel too worried.

Sometimes called "spontaneous abortion," miscarriages occur in 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies, and 50 percent of these occur before the woman even realized she was pregnant. Over half of miscarriages in the first trimester are caused by chromosomal problems in the fetus. These problems are unrelated to the mother or father's genes.

Other risk factors for miscarriages include advanced maternal age (over 35), infections, problems with the woman' cervix or uterus, and bad lifestyle habits.

Signs of a miscarriage include spotting or bleeding, heavy or persistent bleeding with or without cramping and pain, the passing of fetal tissue, and a gush of fluid from your vagina.

Sometimes, you may experience vaginal bleeding and possibly pain, but your baby is still alive. This is called a "threatened miscarriage," and it can suggest that a miscarriage may occur. Though there is no treatment that will actually prevent a miscarriage, your doctor can suggest bed rest until the warning signs disappear.

As the pregnancy weeks go by, your risk of miscarriage slowly decreases. Most miscarriages will occur within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, or the first trimester.

Losing a baby after pregnancy week 20 is called a "stillbirth," or a baby with no heartbeat. Late pregnancy loss can be caused by many factors - including infections, uterine abnormalities, abnormalities in the baby, and problems with the shape of the woman's cervix.

Ectopic Pregnancy
In some unfortunate cases, you may become pregnant but the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. The most common place is inside the fallopian tubes. Called an "ectopic pregnancy," this pregnancy is not viable and it will need to be treated.

Ectopic pregnancies are extremely rare, affecting only one percent of all pregnant women. Risk factors include a history of pelvic or reproductive disorder, previous ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, pelvic infections, and prior tubal surgery.

Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy
Warning signs for an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Bleeding that is more than simple spotting

  • Lower abdominal pain or one-sided abdominal pain

  • Nausea and vomiting, fever, and general malaise

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek emergency medical care immediately.

If an ectopic pregnancy is untreated, the fallopian tube can rupture, causing internal bleeding in the mother. That's why treating ectopic pregnancies before rupture is so important.

Some women with an ectopic pregnancy will need to have surgery to correct the problem and preserve their future fertility. While surgical approaches are the mainstay of treatment, if diagnosed early an ectopic pregnancy can be medically treated with methotrexate (MTX). If you act promptly, there is a strong chance you will come out of this emergency situation safely and have an opportunity to conceive again.

Life after Miscarriage
Life after a miscarriage

Though you may be afraid of miscarriage, try not to dwell on the negative. Most women have normal and healthy pregnancies. However, if you do miscarry, you can try again and go on to have a healthy pregnancy.

You can ovulate and get pregnant again, almost immediately after an early miscarriage. Some women can get pregnant as early as two weeks after they have a miscarriage. If you want to recover before trying for another baby, you should use some form of birth control.

Always address any concerns that you have with your doctor. If you have a history of problems conceiving or miscarrying, you should always work with your healthcare provider or doctor to discuss your options.

Having a miscarriage is often very emotionally traumatizing. Some women say that they never forget the baby they lost. Remember that is okay to experience grief. Your feelings of grief may differ from your partner, since you were the one who experienced the physical symptoms of pregnancy. Try to talk to him about your feelings. If you need to, seek counseling to help you cope.

Never blame yourself for your pregnancy loss. In most cases, there is nothing you could have done to prevent the miscarriage. (next week)