Your baby, your body, your partner and the prenatal visit, plus tips for the 5th week of pregnancy.
By week five baby is moving along quickly in the growth process. The blastocyst now consists of three layers. The innermost layer or endoderm is where the intestine, bladder, pancreas, and liver will form. Right now, there is only a small tube. The middle layer, or mesoderm, is home to the heart, bones, muscles, reproductive organs, kidneys, and circulatory system. It may not look like much now, but this layer will grow rapidly over the next weeks. The outermost layer or ectoderm is where the brain, skin, neural tube, spinal cord, and hair will develop. This layer needs folic acid to develop properly. Most moms will not even know they are pregnant at this stage, so prenatal diet and vitamins are important before conceiving a baby.
Pregnancy, on your own terms
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Changes are now starting to happen that you are probably noticing. You have missed your period and enough time has passed for sufficient hCG levels to be present in urine to trigger a positive home pregnancy test. Some women prefer to know early and others prefer to wait a while and allow nature to take its course. Each choice is fine as the doctor or midwife will not likely make an appointment this early in pregnancy anyway, although moms who are pregnant with multiples often seek out medical attention sooner. At this stage, every symptom is exemplified and hunger is nearly ravenous. The best advice right now in week five is to eat and rest.
At the prenatal visit
If you see the doctor during the 5th week, a sonogram can show the pregnancy and the embryo inside the uterus, though the fetal heartbeat cannot usually be seen until the 6th week. This is a reassuring sign, especially for women at risk for an ectopic pregnancy. This is also the time for prenatal tests.
Mom’s mood swings may leave her feeling exhausted, emotional, and not very social. This stage is perfectly normal and will be over shortly. You can help by being there for her when she is feeling down or sick from morning sickness. Some helpful aids could be tea, relaxing, or watching tv or a movie.
Tips for this week
Still feeling confused?: If you must know whether or not you are pregnant as soon as possible, call your gynecologist and ask for a blood hCG test. (This test will be required after a positive home pregnancy test anyway.) If the test is positive, start looking for a good Ob-Gyn or midwife.
Plan ahead: Keep in mind that this is the time when choosing an obstetrician (or midwife) is about more than just having an annual pelvic exam. Your doctor needs to agree with you and your partner about the major approaches and beliefs toward pregnancy and birth.
Why do I feel like this?!: Feel like you might want to jump out of your skin? It's not surprising. The many changing hormones may leave you feeling sick, exhausted, crying, or even angry. But it's all normal, so give yourself a break and know that this time won't last forever. Do things that bring you comfort and relaxation.