Heading into Week 5, it might seem like not much is happening outwardly—your baby is still too small to create the “bump,” so you aren’t showing. But while you might be very aware of your own symptoms, most people who see you will have no idea you’re pregnant.
But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening! Your baby is continuing to grow and develop, and depending on your pregnancy, your symptoms can range from nonexistent to relatively severe. As always, make sure to keep up with your regular appointments with your healthcare provider, whether it’s an obstetrician or a midwife, and take good care of yourself and your developing baby. Keep in mind that some providers may not have you come in for your first prenatal appointment until you are a bit farther along, so if you haven’t had any scheduled yet, don’t stress out, but make sure you’ve got one coming up in the next few weeks.
You might not be showing yet, but you may be deep into pregnancy symptoms. At this stage, it’s not uncommon for women to experience tender breasts, have the urge to urinate frequently, and feel exhausted, even when they’ve gotten a good night’s sleep. You might also have a harder time sleeping due to leg cramps or general restlessness. You might find yourself napping unexpectedly, or having trouble dragging yourself out of bed because you’re always tired. The fact is, growing a baby is hard work, and your body is now flooded with hormones that contribute to your feeling of being tired.
However, some women who have no symptoms at all worry that this means something is wrong. In the majority of cases, it just means you are lucky! Enjoy the energy and appetite now, because it may be short-lived!
If you are exhausted, the best thing to do for the fatigue is be gentle with yourself and take naps when you can. Rest assured this won’t last forever: fatigue is usually associated with early pregnancy and tends to go away as the weeks go on.
The other major issue some expecting moms deal with during this early part of pregnancy is morning sickness. It’s estimated that about half of all pregnant women suffer from nausea and vomiting early in their pregnancies. Another 25 percent have only nausea with no vomiting, and the final 25 percent have no nausea or vomiting at all. Despite being called “morning sickness,” the nausea and vomiting don’t always occur in the morning. You can get just as sick in the afternoon as first thing in the day, but often it is related to your stomach being empty, such as when you wake up (hence the name “morning” sickness).
The good news is that morning sickness is usually a temporary condition and will resolve around the 13th week of pregnancy. The bad news is that there’s no easy cure for it. However, different women get some relief from different approaches: vitamin B6 helps some women; others find that eating smaller meals or sipping on ginger tea can reduce the sickness. If the morning sickness is hard to handle, you can ask your healthcare provider about options and approaches to keep it under control.
If you do experience morning sickness, you might also find that you’re not gaining weight, in part because you’re not keeping calories down. As long as your healthcare provider is aware of the situation, this should be okay. Many women gain no weight or even lose a pound or two in the first trimester. Just keep eating foods that appeal to you, stay hydrated, and do whatever you can do reduce the symptoms.
Most cases of morning sickness are not dangerous, but there is a form of morning sickness that will likely require medical attention. It’s called hyperemesis gravidarum and is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting. Among women who suffer from this more extreme form of morning sickness, there is the danger of losing nutrients and fluid to the point where dehydration is a real risk, and you and your baby are at risk of not receiving adequate nutrients.
Fortunately, this condition is very rare, affecting only about 1 or 2 percent of all pregnancies. In general, you will be diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum if you can’t keep down 80 ounces of fluid in 24 hours; if you lose more than 2 pounds in a week; or if you vomit blood or bile.
If you are experiencing severe morning sickness, try the steps mentioned above. If you still get no relief, call your healthcare provider right away so you can work together to make sure you and your baby get everything you need to thrive.
At week 5, your baby’s fetal age is 3 weeks. The baby is about 0.05 inch long, or about 1.25 mm. This is approximately the size of a mustard seed.
Around this time, the primitive tube that will become your baby’s heart has formed and even begun beating. Believe it or not, the beating heart is sometimes visible as early as week 5. This is an exception to the rule, however, so if you are only 5 weeks along and a heartbeat isn’t seen on ultrasound, don’t worry! It’s really too early to tell for sure for most women.
Similarly, the first structures that will become your baby’s eyes have appeared. At this point, they look only like small grooves in the side of the brain, but they will continue to develop and eventually become optic nerves and eyes.
“Take your vitamins, eat and drink what sounds good, and focus on taking care of you.”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018