5 Weeks Pregnant

You've missed your period

5 weeks pregnant:

What's happening with you:

While you may have already noted a few possible signs of pregnancy, the loudest signal has just sounded -- you missed your period. If you haven't yet taken a test, you'll probably want to visit your doctor or zip over to the pharmacy to pick up a home pregnancy test this week. If you have taken a test that returned unclear or questionable results, take another: you'll probably have enough hCG hormone in your body now to show an undeniably positive result.

The symptoms are beginning to add up, and you may be experiencing a grab-bag of discomforts. Fatigue, tender breasts, morning sickness and the swelling and darkening of the labia are among the most common pregnancy signs at this point, yet your figure isn't showing signs of the life growing inside you.

What's happening with your baby:

Your baby may not be increasing much in size yet, but her body is developing at a remarkable speed. The ectoderm, or outer layer of cells, is beginning to form the neural tube that will become the brain and spinal cord, and a plate that will become the heart has formed in the middle cell layer, the mesoderm. Later this week, this rudimentary heart will divide into chambers and begin to beat!

Baby's other organs are also beginning to grow and the skeleton is starting to take shape. Lungs, intestines, liver, pancreas, thyroid, cartilage and bones are all forming, even though your baby is only a couple of millimeters long, or the size of a sesame seed.

 

Things to do this week:

Explore different remedies for morning sickness. If you're beginning to feel queasy on a regular basis, there's no doubt that you're willing to try any safe remedy in an effort to relieve that unpleasant feeling. Luckily, there are several morning sickness remedies that have been effective for many moms-to-be, and you may discover one that works for you right off the bat.

While the specific causes of morning sickness are still a bit of a mystery, it is believed that nausea is brought on by your hormones and your heightened sense of smell. In turn, staying away from strong scents (even those that never seemed offensive before pregnancy) and settling your stomach with small protein-rich meals throughout the day is the first step to beating the discomfort. Add some ginger to your diet, minimize stress and use acupressure wristbands (either the basic plastic version or the more sophisticated ReliefBand that operates with electric stimulation), which put pressure on acupressure points on the inner wrists to relieve nausea.

 

Medical musts:

Now that you've missed your period, it's time to schedule your first prenatal visit! If your home pregnancy test was positive, or if you distrust the result of a previous test, you'll want to meet with your doctor or midwife soon to confirm the test and get your pregnancy off to the best start possible. Your first prenatal visit will likely be a long one, as it will cover everything from your due date to your health history and pregnancy risk factors. Get ready to ask and answer all kinds of questions!

In addition to your concerns for the months ahead, talk to your doctor about any previous or current substance abuse and the environmental risks around you. The list of pollutants to avoid during pregnancy is fairly long, and some things (like outdoor air quality) will simply be out of your control. On the other hand, your food choices and the places you choose to visit can expose you and your baby to some surprisingly harmful chemicals. It's best to find out as early as possible so you can modify your routine and avoid the dangers before any harm is done.

Tips for your Partner:

Mom-to-be is preparing for her visit to the doctor, so why not follow her lead? This is the time to book a physical exam for yourself to make sure you're in good health for the road ahead. Have your cholesterol levels checked to ensure your cardiovascular health is up to snuff and a complete physical exam to rule out any problems that may have gone unnoticed until now. Make a note of your weight: if you're at a healthy weight, do your very best to maintain it through the pregnancy, and if you need to lose a few pounds, get into a healthy diet and exercise routine right away.

After you book your appointment, modify your surroundings. In the name of mutual respect and understanding, hide away any temptations that could push you and your partner off the healthy track. High-fat desserts, alcohol and fatty foods don't mesh with pregnancy, and the farther out of sight they are, the better your chances of sticking to your healthy routines.

This week's FAQs:

  • I have severe morning sickness. How do I know if my baby is getting enough nourishment?

    While you may be going through an enormous deal of discomfort, take comfort in the fact that your baby is doing just fine. Even if you're vomiting a couple of times a day through your first trimester, your body is still able to provide your baby with the nutrients it needs. And if you lose some weight over the next few weeks, don't fear -- as long as you gain an adequate amount in later months, your baby will be right on track.

    If you can't keep much healthy food down, stick to whatever your stomach can handle. Junk food is not part of an ideal pregnancy diet, but if less-than-ideal foods are what you can take right now, so be it. However, if you can't keep any food or liquid down for an extended period of time, you may need to visit your doctor to rule out hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness that can lead to pregnancy complications.

  • Is it normal to be urinating this much?

    If it seems like you're practically living in your bathroom these days, you're not alone. Many women begin to urinate a lot in the early weeks of pregnancy, and getting up two or three times in the middle of the night to visit the toilet is not uncommon.

    There are a couple of reasons for this frequent need to pee. First, your kidneys are working harder to filter your blood and fluids than before, and that translates into more waste to be expelled. Also, your uterus is beginning to grow and will continue to press on your bladder until it rises into the abdomen during the second trimester. It's natural to try to modify your habits to make yourself more comfortable, but if you're thinking of cutting back on liquids to control the frequency of your bathroom trips, think again: while it's annoying to be at the mercy of your bladder right now, it won't be like this forever and your body needs to stay hydrated for your baby's health.

  • Now that I know I'm pregnant, everything around me looks like a safety hazard. How do I keep myself and my baby safe?

    For many women, this is the week that worries set in. It may seem like your daily routine has become a deadly obstacle course, and you need to overcome all odds to get to the end of it each and every day. Well, rest assured that you're probably already doing the right things without knowing it. Your common sense will direct you away from visible dangers, and a few useful reminders will help you avoid less evident risks.

    First, assess your work and home environment. If you're exposed to harmful chemicals or heavy metals in your daily routine, make any changes needed to eliminate these risks. Secondly, keep in mind that your center of gravity shifts during pregnancy, which can make it difficult to stay balanced, so step carefully and take your time. Don't wear high heels or shoes with poor tread, and check your rugs and mats to make sure they have sticky bottoms that will prevent slipping and sliding. Essentially, doing what you can to ensure your path is always clear and your feet are stable will help you sidestep accidents that can threaten your safety and your baby's health.

Helpful hint:

When a headache, allergies or nausea strikes, you may run for your trusted herbal remedy or an over-the-counter medication, but this can be a dangerous mistake. Many cough and cold remedies contain a good dose of alcohol, many herbs can be harmful to your growing baby and even mild pain medication may interfere with fetal development. If you have any doubt, contact your health professional, and try to use a mind-over-body approach to overcome your pain with the help of some relaxation techniques.

Pregnancy Timeline

First trimester fitness and yoga videos - Prenatal Yoga

First trimester cooking and nutrition videos - Healthy Snacks for Pregnancy

First trimester lifestyle videos - Morning Sickness Relief