All About Baby

In week 5, Baby’s still just an embryo, but it’s growing more furiously and changing more rapidly than it will at any other time in its life! Your baby’s forming a “C” shape, sort of like elbow macaroni. This tiny tube-shaped being already has a head, back, front, and … tail. (Don’t worry, the tail gets absorbed into the body.) At the beginning of this week, the embryo already has 125,000 cells — enough to fill every seat in two NFL football stadiums. Even more amazingly, the baby’s tiny heart has already formed, and will have started to beat (though these heart contractions won’t become regular for a few more weeks). The baby’s spinal cord and brain are beginning to form, as are key organs — including the lungs, liver, and pancreas — and the placenta, which that will supply your baby with oxygen and nourishment.

All About You

The test is positive! With that knowledge comes the giddy and delicious feeling of having a secret — so don’t be surprised if you can’t concentrate on your regular old boring non-pregnant life. It’s natural for your mind to be racing with happy thoughts and also some concerns: Is it too soon to paint the nursery? What about the name, “George”? Are we really ready for this?

Although it may take another week for your pregnancy hormones to really kick in, there’s probably one word (besides distracted) to sum up how you feel this week: tired. So tired that the concrete sidewalk looks like a nice place to nap. Your levels of HcG, the hormone that plays a crucial role in pregnancy, continue to rise (in early pregnancy the HcG levels double roughly every two to three days until they plateau around 16 weeks) and the amount of blood in your body is actually increasing.

This Week: Miscarriage Worries

Miscarriage is not something you want to think about right now, and hopefully you won’t have to, but it’s totally normal — and even expected — to obsess about whether you’re having a healthy pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, when miscarriages are most likely to happen. Here’s what you need to know.

How common is miscarriage?

A whopping 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies result in miscarriage. And according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that number might be much higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t even know she’s pregnant. What seems like a late (and heavier-than-usual) period can actually be a miscarriage.

What causes miscarriage?

The good news is that a miscarriage is often nature’s way of ending a pregnancy that would not have resulted in a healthy baby. Babies with a problem in their genetic code (aka “chromosomal abnormalities”) will often spontaneously abort. The bad news is that most women won’t be able to pinpoint the exact cause. And even if it is for a “good” reason, it’s still devastating when it happens to you.

What’s my risk?

Women who smoke, drink alcohol (excessively), or take drugs are more likely to have problems in pregnancy, including miscarriage. Miscarriage is also more common in older moms. An infection (like bacterial vaginosis or a previously unknown problem with the uterus or cervix, can cause miscarriage.

What are the signs of miscarriage?

Though some spotting during early pregnancy is normal, a lot of spotting or heavy bleeding is the most common sign of miscarriage.

What can you do to crush the concern?

The anxiety you’re feeling will abate once you hit the 12-week mark, when the chances of having a miscarriage plummet (though if you’re the obsessive type, you’ll worry for the next eight months … and until your baby leaves for college). Breathe, trust your body, try to enjoy the amazing things that are happening inside you, and pamper yourself through your newly acquired aches (just don’t touch my breasts!).

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Q & A

Got questions about Week 5? Other women have wondered …

Q: What can I expect on my first OB visit?

The first appointment you have will most likely be devoted to confirming that you are in fact pregnant. The nurse may ask you for a urine sample to do a quick test. If it is positive, she’ll then order a prenatal blood test, calculate your due date, and get you started with a prescription for prenatal vitamins. Read more about your first prenatal doctor’s visit.

Q: When should I schedule the first doctor’s appointment?

The purpose of prenatal care is primarily to prevent problems, and to detect complications as they develop. Since you don’t have a crystal ball to know if everything is destined to go well, though, it is always best to start prenatal care as soon as feasible. Read more about your first prenatal doctor’s visit.

Q: Is it safe to diet at 5 weeks pregnant?

Talk to your OB-GYN about your specific situation. Dieting during pregnancy is not a good idea because the baby takes the nutrients it needs and you get whatever is left over. You should be eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and staying away from sweets. Read more about must-eat food for the first trimester.

Partner’s POV

Your Initial Reaction

When a woman learns that she has a child growing inside her, it is a profound thing. When a man learns that there is a child growing inside someone else — that’s a different thing. Your reaction will be powerful and complex. Most guys feel a mix of elation, apprehension, and shock that their world is changing (remember this moment: it’s the closest you’ll ever come to the hormonal emotions of a pregnant woman).

In the back of your mind you may also have a trapped, panicky feeling of a sudden responsibility you can’t get away from (don’t feel guilty — everyone feels this: if you didn’t, you would be in denial). Remember it’s just a temporary reaction: a week later, you most likely will feel very differently. But still apprehensive.

Now, the way she wants you to react is another matter, and she will be looking into your eyes waiting for you to light up with some kind of pregnancy glow and say, in a deep, Barry White-like voice: “Baby, you just made me the happiest man in the world, and I’m gonna take care of you forever.”

So, when instead of turning into Barry White you freeze and squeak, “Are you sure?” — she might be disappointed.

On the other hand, if you have been really trying for a long time, you will probably be relieved and hopeful. And apprehensive. That’s okay too. Just take it as it comes.

It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being involved, my friend.