Pregnancy week 5

Week 5 of Your Pregnancy

You may just be learning you're pregnant and feeling a wide range of emotions. Read on to learn more about week five of pregnancy, including the most common questions and symptoms.

Week five of your pregnancy is a pretty big deal. Why? Because it is during this week that most people learn they are pregnant—though you may still have no idea. And while this is a huge milestone, people feel a vast array of emotions at learning such life-changing news. Anything from joy and elation to shock and anxiety are par for the course. Processing these big and rapidly changing (and sometimes overlapping!) emotions is important this week, as is getting acclimated to the unfamiliar physical sensations you may start to experience. Miscarriage is also a risk factor at this point.

Pregnancy Week 5 Quick Facts

  • At 5 weeks, you’re two months pregnant
  • You have 35 weeks until your due date
  • You are in the first trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size at 5 Weeks

At this early stage, the embryo is still extremely tiny, measuring about 0.05 inches and less than 0.04 ounces. It is about the size of an orange seed.

week 5

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 5

Around this time, you may be experiencing different pregnancy symptoms. Here are some common ones you might be feeling:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Food aversion
  • Cramps
  • Exhaustion

If you're experiencing nausea, Shieva Ghofrany, M.D., an OB-GYN in Stamford, Connecticut and co-founder of the virtual women’s health platform Tribe Called V, says that ginger and/or Sea-Band acupressure wrist bands may give you some relief. There are also things you can do from a medical perspective.

"Pharmacologically, there is very good data about the safety of doxylamine which can be used for nausea safely in conjunction with vitamin B6,” she says. “The two of them together are sold as a prescription formula called Bonjesta or Diclegis." An over-the-counter option that might be more wallet-friendly is Unisom. She suggests buying the tablet because it contains doxylamine (which has been studied), and not the gel cap which contains diphenhydramine.

Dr. Ghofrany recommends you avoid trigger foods and stick to what sounds appetizing. She adds that staying hydrated is important as well and may help stave off some of these symptoms like mild cramping or constipation.

Stephanie Glockzin, 42, from Erie, Colorado, remembers being surprisingly averse to all her favorite foods. "I only wanted to eat Chick-fil-A waffle fries and queso, nothing else sounded good," she says.

Bear in mind, every pregnancy is unique so symptoms can vary from person to person; it is normal to experience all, some, or none of these symptoms in week five. But if you experience a symptom that seems concerning, make sure to call a health care professional.

Developmental Milestones

Don't let your embryo's small size fool you, there is still a lot of development going on in that tiny package. Your embryo looks a bit like a tadpole this week, with its heart and circulatory system rapidly developing. It also has a primitive placenta and umbilical cord, which deliver its nourishment and oxygen.

Prenatal Tests and Doctor's Appointments

By now, you should have missed your period. You’ve probably also taken an at-home pregnancy test that delivered big news!

Yamel Belen, R.N., CLC, registered nurse, professional doula, and certified lactation counselor in Tampa, Florida, says unless you are undergoing fertility treatment, there's a good chance you won't have a doctor's appointment quite yet. When you call to make an appointment after a positive test, your provider will calculate how many weeks pregnant you are by using data from your last period. They will then give you an appointment for when you're about seven to eight weeks along.

She explains that it has to do with viability (you're at risk for miscarriage this week) and the fact that at the fifth week, there's not much to see quite yet. "It is a good idea if you just found out, even though you're only five weeks to start making that call, so that way your appointment can be made," she advises.

Some patients find this frustrating because they may be unsure of how far along they are. Meg Cassidy, 38 from Oakland, California, shares, "I couldn't get a doctor to see me during this time because I couldn't tell anyone when my last period was. I weirdly hadn't had my period in several months, so it was this kind of catch-22. No one would see me before eight weeks, but also no one could tell me how far along I was."

Dr. Ghofrany notes there are a few exceptions. If you're experiencing pain or spotting, many doctors, midwives, and medical professionals will have you come in for some tests. If they are trying to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, they may do an ultrasound and check your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone levels—and then check again 48 hours later to see if your levels are rising in the way they should. Additionally, they might check your progesterone level through a blood test level to indicate a viable or non-viable pregnancy.

Common Questions at This Stage of Pregnancy

When should I start taking a prenatal vitamin? 

Dr. Ghofrany recommends you start taking them as soon as possible. "Ideally, you started a prenatal vitamin at least one to three months before you started trying to conceive to have folic acid in your system at conception, because that's the best way to decrease the risk of neural tube defects," she says. But if you didn't, don't freak out because she explains that our grains in America are fortified with folic acid so you were probably getting some anyway.

Should I stop taking my medications, like antidepressants? 

"Please talk to whomever prescribed them before considering whether you should continue or go off any medication," advises Dr. Ghofrany. She also says to make sure you give your health care provider an exhaustive list of medications you are on, including any herbs or supplements.

Is bleeding normal? 

"Bleeding is not necessarily normal because it's not what should happen, but it is very common," says Dr. Ghofrany. She emphasizes that there are a lot of reasons for spotting that do not represent miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, but bleeding should always be investigated by a doctor to rule those out. "Many times, when someone is spotting, the pregnancy is fine and the blood could be caused by other factors like intercourse, a large bowel movement, an infection, or a polyp on your cervix," she says.

Things You Might Consider This Week

You're five weeks pregnant. Now is a good time to start on a prenatal vitamin, if you haven't already. It’s also a good idea to begin the process of thinking about what you want your pregnancy to look like and how to best achieve that through a health care provider, support network, and mental health services. 

You may not yet know what type of birth you want but know you have multiple options when it comes to medical providers, such as an OB-GYN, a doula, or a midwife. You don't necessarily have to pick just one; it could even be a combination of these providers. For instance, you could be under the care of both an OB-GYN and a doula simultaneously. It doesn't hurt to weigh your options by interviewing multiple physicians or other health care providers and to tour hospitals or birthing centers before making a decision.

If you are still stunned by your pregnancy news, be sure to give yourself  time to process your emotions. Embracing both positive and negative thoughts and feelings will help you better process this life-changing news.

I know that firsthand. I had not had a period for two years because I was either pregnant or breastfeeding my oldest, so I didn't find out I was expecting with my second kid until week five. I went to my OB-GYN for something unrelated and they had me take a pregnancy test. I remember feeling an out-of-body experience when the nurse came in to give me the news. It was the last thing I thought she was going to say. Even though I was delighted, it took me several days to wrap my mind around the fact that I was going to have two kids under 2.

Yamel Belen, R.N.

Pregnancy is a huge milestone and it's OK to be in your feelings about it.

— Yamel Belen, R.N.

Support You May Need This Week

You may just be getting acclimated to the idea of being pregnant or becoming a parent and still sorting through those accompanying feelings. These early weeks can feel overwhelming; you might feel both excited and terrified. "Pregnancy is a huge milestone, and it's OK to be in your feelings about it," says Belen. Many times, talking through your feelings with a partner, trusted friend, or mental health professional can be helpful.

You may or may not have a partner in your journey, but that shouldn't stop you from getting support. Reach out to friends or family to form a network for emotional and physical support. If you are going it alone, you can join online support networks to feel comradery with other pregnant folks. There are a plethora of local or online groups dedicated to different ages, parental mental health, and finding low-cost or free resources.

Dr. Ghofrany reminds you to listen to your body and be gentle with yourself during this time. "Pregnancy is a huge undertaking; emotionally, physically, everything," she says.

Head over to week six of pregnancy

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