What's happening in week 5 of your pregnancy
5 weeks pregnant, and you might now be feeling quite a few of the signs of pregnancy!
At a glance
- At 5 weeks gestation, they will be around 5mm long
- Soon, your baby's heart will actually start beating
- Try and relax, eat healthily and get plenty of rest
How big is my baby at 5 weeks pregnant?
At five weeks gestation, your baby will be around 5mm long, and their heart, brain and spine will be developing at a pace. Soon, your baby's heart will actually start beating, and if you have an early scan in the coming weeks, you would see it flickering on the monitor.
Did you know:
- Your baby's neural tube is developing, which will form the brain, spine and nerves
- Your baby's heart is changing from being a simple, single tube to a complex four chamber organ and will soon beat for the first time
- Your baby has an identifiable heartbeat just six weeks into your pregnancy
It is recommended that you start taking a folic acid supplement for 3 months before conception. If you haven't it is essential that you boost your folic acid intake as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
Choose a supplement containing 400 micrograms of folic acid (sometimes shown as 400mcg or 0.4mg).
Folic acid is particularly vital in the early months as it helps the spine develop properly. The spine develops very early on from a part of the embryo called the neural tube. A lack of folic acid can cause neural tube defects such as spina bifida ('split spine'). You can also improve folic acid levels by eating foods like:
Sources of folic acid:
- Spinach, brussell sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, spring greens, curly kale or beetroot
- Brown rice
- Marmite, Bovril, yeast extract spread
- Peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, sesame seeds
You at 5 weeks pregnant
The signs of early pregnancy might have kicked in by now, but some women with an irregular cycle might still be in the dark as to what is causing the sickness, nausea, overwhelming tiredness and uncomfortable boobs! It will get better, so hang on in there!
If you know you are pregnant, you might be feeling a bit worried or anxious about how your pregnancy is progressing, particularly as you will not have had a scan or ante-natal checks at this stage. Try and relax, eat healthily and get plenty of rest, but do have a chat with your GP if you have any worries.
Some mums-to-be will spot or bleed early in pregnancy – have a read of our early pregnancy pages if you are concerned about this. Rarely, it could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, so it is always best to get it checked out.
What to think about at 5 weeks pregnant
If you now know you are pregnant, you might be wondering if you can still safely exercise and continue to do all your usual activities. Keeping fit and active is really important in pregnancy, both for you and your baby's health, and potentially for an easier labour and delivery, too. If you currently regularly work out, unless it is something very high risk or a contact sport, you will be fine to continue at your own pace, but do have a look at our page on exercise in pregnancy for more information and advice. It would also be wise to speak to your trainer or gym staff about how you should adapt your work out regime now you are expecting, just to be on the safe side.
Did you know:
- Chances of a multiple birth increase with tall or overweight mothers
- Your boobs are going to grow by one, two or three cup sizes. Invest in good-fitting bras
- Some women experience acne-like spots due to hormones and they usually disappear after the first trimester
- Morning sickness often doesn't happen in the morning
Signs and symptoms at 5 weeks pregnant
It’s not uncommon to experience food cravings or even dislikes to your usual favourite foods as early the fifth week of your pregnancy. Like most pregnancy symptoms, hormones are the root cause of this change in your eating habits. Most food cravings in pregnancy involve the craving of sweet things or a real desire for pickled items but in some extreme cases of women desperate to get their hands – and lips – on weird, non-food items, such as coal or sponges, or even like to just smell certain things! The medical term for weird food cravings is pica. From the Latin for magpie – a bird that’s known for scavenging and eating almost anything. Some common Pica cravings include:
- Laundry detergent
There’s no way to treat Pica cravings but do see your doctor as they will test you for nutritional deficiencies and possibly prescribe vitamins or an iron supplement.
Although still early in the pregnancy, don’t be surprised if you are feeling tired already as pregnancy can take its toll in those early days and weeks. Feeling tired and wiped-out is common in the first trimester as your body is focussed on creating a life-support system for your baby and this takes up a huge amount of energy. Build your energy levels up as much as you can by eating regularly and light exercise can help. The good news is that the tiredness tends to ease off in the second trimester but it’ll creep back in again when your bump grows and you get heavier in your third trimester.
Watch our video below on: Knowing you are pregnant
Video: Is the pregnancy test accurate?