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Safe Motherhood - Fifth Week Pregnancy (Part 1)
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5 weeks pregnant- Signs, Baby’s development, Miscarriage and Tips for healthy pregnancy

It’s the 5th week. You have missed your menstrual period by now and a pregnancy test should have come positive, again. This week marks the start of embryonic period. The body systems and structures of baby such as heart, brain, and spinal cord begin to form. The placenta is also starting to develop during this week. The heart of your baby beats at a steady rate now.

5 weeks pregnant- Signs and symptoms

During 5th week of your pregnancy, you can experience any or all of the following symptoms. Most of these symptoms occur due to increased level of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone.

  • breast changes
  • mood swings, morning sickness, lightheadedness and fatigue
  • frequent urination
  • constipation
  • abdominal cramps
  • vaginal bleeding and discharge
  • food cravings and aversions

Development of foetus during 5th week-

Now, the embryo is about half centimeter long and looks more like a tadpole. The growth of your embryo begins during this week.

  • At this stage, you may not look pregnant but the heart of your baby has already begun to beat and pump blood.
  • Embryo’s heart, no bigger than a poppy seed, starts dividing into chambers and will find a more regular rhythm soon.
  • Major organs such as kidneys and liver also begin to grow.
  • The neural tube that connects the brain and spinal cord will close now.
  • The upper and lower limb buds of your embryo begin to sprout. Later on, these buds will form arms and legs of the baby.
  • The appendix is in its place now and the intestines are also developing.
  • Below the opening that will later form your baby's mouth, small folds exist. The neck and lower jaw eventually develop at these folds.
  • Facial features are forming during this week. Nostrils are becoming distinct and the retinas of eyes are also forming.

Warning signs of a miscarriage-

At 5th week of pregnancy, a woman is one week past her first missed period. If bleeding occurs at this time, many women think they’re having a late period rather than a miscarriage. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor to evaluate if you could be having a miscarriage:

  • Mild to severe back pain
  • Brown or bright red bleeding with or without cramps
  • Passing of tissue with clot like material from vagina
  • Very painful contractions that usually happen every 5-20 minutes
  • Discharge of White-pink mucus
  • Sudden decrease in signs of pregnancy
  • Weight loss

Why do miscarriages occur?

Most often the cause of miscarriage cannot be identified. During the first trimester,

chromosomal abnormality is the most common cause of miscarriage. It means that something is not right with the chromosomes of your baby.

Other causes for miscarriage are-

  • Poor lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking, malnutrition, excessive caffeine and exposure to radiation or toxic substances)
  • Maternal age
  • Implantation of the egg into uterine lining does not occur properly
  • Hormonal problems
  • Infection in the body
  • Maternal health problems
  • Maternal trauma

Miscarriage Prevention-

We cannot do much to prevent miscarriage because most of the miscarriages occur due to chromosomal abnormalities. The only step you can take is to get as healthy as you can before conceiving so that there can be a healthy atmosphere for conception to occur. Taking healthy and balanced diet, doing exercise regularly, managing stress and avoiding all poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol can help in maintaining good health.

Tips for healthy pregnancy-

  1. Get early prenatal care- Schedule your prenatal doctor visit, if you haven’t already done so. Going for regular check up is must for healthy pregnancy. Your doctor will let you know what actions to take to keep you and your baby healthy for nine months.
  2. Take your prenatal vitamin- Folic acid may lower the risk of some birth defects. So, it is important to include those foods in your diet that are rich in folic acid. Take a prenatal vitamin supplement that contains high level of folic acid. Many prenatal vitamins now provide DHA and EPA. These nutrients help in healthy development of brain and eye in your baby. These omega-3 fatty acids also help to make your breast milk more nutritious.
  3. Follow healthy diet- Maintaining a healthy diet is important for you and your baby’s health. So, include healthy foods to your diet. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Include whole grains, lean proteins, beans, nuts, and dairy products to your diet. Make sure your proteins are fully cooked. Avoid seafood which contains high amount of mercury. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products to prevent infection in your developing fetus.
  4. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol- Do not smoke cigarettes. Stop drinking alcohol. Avoid taking excess caffeine.
  5. Consult your healthcare provider about the medications you are taking- Do not take illegal drugs. These can harm your baby. Always ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications. Let your doctor know about all medicines, supplements, and herbs you take.
  6. Make sure your home and job are safe. Some jobs or activities can be hazardous to you and your developing baby. So, it is better to avoid those activities that have risk of injury. If you are routinely exposed to harmful chemicals or radiation, you'll need to make some changes as soon as possible.

Safe Motherhood - Fifth Week Pregnancy (Part 1)

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