The vast majority of future moms discover they’re pregnant at around the fifth week. The most common sign of things to come is missing one’s period. By the fifth week, hCG hormone levels are high enough to be detected by a home pregnancy test kit.
In the fifth week, though not very visible on the outside, big and important changes are happening in a pregnant woman’s body. The placenta begins to form and hormone levels change. Concurrently, the embryo is beginning to form into a fetus and develop bodily systems and organs.
The fifth week, or the beginning of the second month of the first trimester, is commonly accompanied by a wide range of symptoms. Some of the most common 5 weeks pregnant symptoms include nausea, sore breasts, food cravings, and fatigue. They can range from mild to severely unpleasant. On the other hand, a percentage of pregnant women experience few to none of the symptoms that are common in this period.
If you are in your fifth week or suspect you might be pregnant, read on for more info on the symptoms and embryo development.
Hormones at 5 Weeks
By the fifth week, significant changes within your body have either taken place or are about to. Primarily, your hormonal balance has gone through changes to support the development of the fetus. Your body will produce more estrogen than usual in order to keep hCG and progesterone levels high enough.
Progesterone stimulates breast growth, prevents the smooth uterus muscles from contracting, and makes sure the placenta continues forming.
On the other side, hCG provides support to the corpus luteum which nourishes the embryo until the tenth week when the placenta takes over. Also, the corpus luteum regulates the production of progesterone.
Symptoms at 5 Weeks
With hormone changes in full swing, moms to be might also have a wide range of other symptoms. Some pregnant women might experience an almost complete lack of 5 weeks pregnant symptoms, which include food cravings and aversions, fatigue, nausea (especially in the morning), sore breasts, cramps, increased urination, spotting, and mood swings. Here’s a word or two about each of them.
- Food cravings and aversions. Due to an increased hormonal activity and erratic changes in their balance, some pregnant women might experience food cravings and aversions in this period. It is not uncommon to suddenly feel disgusted by the things you loved until recently or to crave foods you normally couldn’t stand. When the cravings kick in, indulge them in moderation and try to find healthy replacements if you crave sweets and junk food.
- Fatigue. During the first trimester, your body will undergo serious changes. The most important one is the formation of your baby’s life support system – the placenta. That’s a huge task and it can be seriously taxing. Hormonal changes and mood swings can contribute to the feeling of tiredness, as well. You might experience anything from mild fatigue to full-blown exhaustion. If you feel tired, give yourself plenty of rest and make sure you’re eating enough.
- Nausea. Nausea is one of the most common symptoms at this stage which a majority of future moms experience. Some have it worse than others, while some may not have it at all. It is normal to feel nauseous at any time of the day but especially in the morning. Sometimes, nausea can cause vomiting. Hormone level shifts are the most likely culprit here. To keep nausea at bay, eat regularly, even if you don’t quite feel like it.
- Sore breasts. Together with morning sickness, sore breasts are the most common symptom experienced in the fifth week of pregnancy. This happens because your breasts are starting to grow again in preparation of breastfeeding.
- If you’re getting cramps in and around the fifth week, it might mean that your uterus is growing (and causing your ligaments to stretch) or that the embryo has implanted into its lining. The cramps can go from mild to severe. If they’re painful, you should check with your doctor.
- Increased urination. This is one of the common symptoms. It is caused by the growth of your kidneys. This is due to a higher amount of blood in your body and the fact that the kidneys now have to process more fluid. Although frequent trips to the toilet can be annoying, don’t worry, they’re perfectly normal.
- Spotting. Seeing small spots of blood on your panties in and around the fifth week is normal. It might be implantation bleeding. Having said that, the amount of blood should not be larger than a few drops and shouldn’t last more than a couple of days. If the bleeding is excessive or lasts longer, contact your doctor immediately.
- Mood swings. While some pregnant women get through pregnancy without significant mood swings, for some it might feel like an endless PMS. Mood swings are perfectly normal during pregnancy and are mainly caused by shifts in hormone levels. When the mood swings hit, fight them off with activities which have a calming effect on you.
Embryo at 5 Weeks
In its fifth week of development, the embryo is slowly becoming a fetus. It is roughly the size of an apple seed and has a head and a tail. The baby is starting to form vital organs (stomach, lungs, heart) and bodily systems (circulatory, digestive, nervous). The heart is now made up of a pair of channels (heart tubes). Once they join together, the baby will have a proper, functioning heart. The neural tube, precursor to the spinal cord and the brain, is also starting to form around the fifth week.
At this point, unless there’s a strong reason for it, you won’t have your first ultrasound. That comes around the 8th or 9th week. Around that time, you will also have extensive blood and urine tests. Also, you will be able to see and hear your baby’s first heartbeats.
Despite the fact that pregnancy in the fifth week is still at an early stage, some big changes are happening on both sides. Moms to be are experiencing hormonal changes, while the babies are starting to grow vital organs and systems.
Now that you know all about the common 5 weeks pregnant symptoms, don’t be alarmed if you don’t experience any or all of them, which is also perfectly normal.