What is happening now?
At 5 weeks of pregnancy (or 21 days after conception) you are now at the beginning of week 6. Over the next few days, your baby's heart develops and begins beating, but is simply a long tube at this stage rhythmically expanding and contracting. Your baby's umbilical cord starts to develop, with two arteries and one vein. These blood vessels transport oxygen and nutrients from you to your baby and take carbon dioxide and waste products away from your baby, for your body to excrete. Your baby's blood stream remains completely separate from yours, often having a different blood type from you and/or their father.
Your baby's small hands and feet are starting to bud from their upper and lower body and their neural tube (encasing their brain and spinal cord) has now closed. It is important to have sufficient folic acid in your diet during this time to support this process. You can find out more about folic acid here
Your baby is curled up in the shape of the letter C, making them difficult to measure from head to toe. Ultrasonographers routinely measure very young unborn babies from the crown of their head to the base of their back (or rump), referred to as the crown to rump length (CRL).
At this time, your baby's crown to rump length is around 2 to 4 mm (0.08 to 0.16 inches).
The image at the top of this email shows what your baby looks like right now! Cute!
Now you're pregnant you might be wondering what happens next: here's an article
that explains what you'll need to do, and when.
Pregnancy's a time of great excitement, and huge changes. Your body goes through some pretty amazing things to help grow your new baby. Luckily we've got everything you'll need for your pregnancy on Birth - including our very own registered midwife who's happy to answer your questions. Pop over here
to read what Melissa has to say about pregnancy, labour and your baby. She's here to answer your questions!
Aches and pains
At this early stage of pregnancy it is normal to feel bloated or experience pulling, tugging and/or mild cramping or lower backache as your uterus grows. Although many women worry about feeling these sensations, they are very common. If there is no vaginal bleeding associated with it, then it is probably normal. Some women find tissue salts, such as Mag Phosphate, helpful for cramping - available at natural health stores.
You can read more about aches and pains along with some helpful suggestions to help prevent or relieve them here
NOTE: If you have strong cramping or pain, with or without bleeding, you should contact your local hospital, doctor or pregnancy caregiver for guidance and advice.
It is normal to feel tired or extremely fatigued during the early weeks. For some women, their tiredness can seem neverending. It is not unusual to have 10 or 12 hours sleep, only to get up and still feel exhausted! This is your body adjusting to the enormous metabolic changes that are necessary to grow your baby. Excessive tiredness usually subsides around 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy, bringing renewed energy and vigour. Try to rest as much as possible or set aside time on the weekends to nap. Early nights seem to be inevitable at this stage.
To read more about other possible physical signs during early pregnancy click here
During the early weeks of pregnancy emotions can feel like a roller-coaster ride. The immense physical and emotional adjustments may change emotions quickly, with feelings easily coming to the surface, often heightened by symptoms of pregnancy. It is important to look after yourself at this time. Rest and sleep when you can.
You can read more about emotions during this time here
Now that your body is home to your baby for the next 9 months or so, there are many aspects to consider, one of which is a well-balanced diet. You can find out more about healthy eating habits during pregnancy here
. Some foods are even more awesome than others, and can help reduce pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness (truly!). Go here
to read about superfoods for pregnancy.
You may wish to start (or continue) some regular physical activity to help with your overall well-being during pregnancy and to support you when parenting. Read more about exercise during pregnancy here
Pregnancy usually brings with it some motivation to look after your body for your baby. This may involve a few lifestyle changes (if you haven't already started these). For suggestions and strategies to change certain lifestyles habits you can click here
Sometimes you just need to hear from another woman who's been there before. Here
are some mums' top tips for pregnancy - they're tried and tested!
Skin disorders and aching muscles
Many creams, lotions and ointments containing chemicals and medications can be absorbed through the skin and into your blood stream (reaching your baby). It is for this reason that you need to be wary of what you use on your skin during pregnancy. You can read more about these here
Counselling and psychotherapy. Pregnancy and parenting is a time of dramatic change and sometimes one of crisis for parents. Many women and partners find they need some form of counselling because their situation has involved stress, depression, grief, lifestyle changes, financial problems and/or relationship difficulties.