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5 Weeks Pregnant

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Your Baby

Pipeline in place. The placenta, which started to form last week, and the beginnings of the umbilical cord are already working to channel essential nutrients from your body to the embryo. Oxygen, amino acids, fats, and sugars all play a vital role in this incredible construction project.

Back basics. One of the layers of specialized cells is developing into the neural tube, which will become the spinal column and the brain. An incorrectly formed neural tube can result in spina bifida (a complication in which the spinal cord doesn't fully close) or other related disorders. Spina bifida is pretty rare—it occurs in only 1 to 2 out of 1,000 births. Want to lower those odds even more? Taking at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day is your best weapon against spinal cord-related birth defects; ideally, you should have started taking folic acid before you conceived.

Heart start. The heart is now a single tube with a few uncoordinated beats. These thumps will become more regular with each passing week.

Measuring up. At 0.05 to 0.1 inch, the embryo is about the size of a small orange seed.

Your Pregnancy

An ocean of emotions. How do you feel now that you're actually pregnant? If you've been trying to conceive for a while, you're probably ecstatic. You may also be anxious, wondering whether everything will go normally. If the pregnancy was a surprise, you might feel worried or unsure of yourself. All of these emotions, from wild elation to maternal pride to gripping fear, are perfectly normal.

Handle with care. On the physical front, you may have symptoms that are remarkably like the ones you experience before your period. Menstrual-like cramps and lower backaches are common. Instead of pushing through the discomfort and fatigue, give yourself a break: Soak in a warm (not hot) bath, listen to some soothing music, or indulge in a nap. And speaking of pampering yourself, now is the time to treat your body like the temple it is! If you haven't already, cut out any harmful habits, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs.

From the experts. Eating for two doesn't mean eating twice as much. "Most pregnant women need only about 300 extra calories a day," says Margaret Comerford Freda, Ed.D., R.N. "This translates to one of the following: two cups of low-fat milk, one cup of ice cream, a bagel with cream cheese, or a tuna fish sandwich." Find out more from Dr. Freda about the best diet for you and your growing baby by clicking here.


Member comments

eating for one?
I wish someone had told me that when I was pregnant with my daughter! I gained a little over 40 poun..

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