Pregnancy Week by Week:
What to Expect Week 5-8

Pregnancy Week by Week: What to Expect Week 5-8

Weeks 5 to 8 bring with them the first pregnancy symptoms. They can be a little confusing, especially if it is your first time going through this wondrous experience. Brace yourself because these symptoms will only become more intense over the first trimester. However, the good news is that by the second trimester, the worst ones will largely fade away and you’ll feel like yourself again.

Some of these early symptoms include; nausea and vomiting, fatigue, frequent urination, feeling bloated, and a little weight gain. Your breasts may also start to feel sore and enlarge. Your usual bras probably won’t fit you anymore. It is a good idea at this point to invest in a nursing bra that’s been designed for sensitive breasts for that extra bit of comfort. What’s more, you’ll also get good breast support that will also help prevent sagging in the future.

Your baby is still very small at 5-8 weeks. Their brain, heart, and spinal cord are just starting to develop. Formation of the amniotic sac, which is the bubble surrounding the embryo that provides it with warmth and protection, along with the placenta, which provides the baby with nourishment, will also take place within this period.

Additionally, the blood vessels that eventually form the umbilical cord will start to develop over these weeks. The umbilical cord will connect the embryo to your blood supply. Chromosomes also begin to determine the baby's phenotype as their facial features and organs develop.

Week 5

What to expect for baby

This week, your little one is about 2mm in size and referred to as an embryo. It may not seem like much, but your baby has come a really long way from only being a mass of cells and barely the size of a pi head!

The embryo is safely tucked inside your uterine wall covered by the amniotic sac. Their brain and spinal cord have started to form. Their head is also larger than the rest of the body and their face is quickly developing as well. The spinal cord extends as an open groove, and at this point, it is referred to as a neural tube.

Towards the end of week 5, your little one’s heart starts to beat, with blood vessels forming and starting to circulate all over the baby’s body. These blood vessels are the primary link between you and the baby and will eventually become the umbilical cord.

What to expect for mom to be

By week 5, your hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone levels are now high enough to give you a positive pregnancy test. The heightened hormonal levels will start giving you symptoms that you can no longer ignore. You may begin to feel tired and sore, not to mention you may notice your breasts getting more prominent. Nausea and frequent urination are also common at this stage.

Tip of the week

Take a pregnancy test to confirm with 100% accuracy that you are pregnant. Then schedule a doctor's appointment so that they can advise you on the nutrition and lifestyle changes that you may need to make. 

Week 6

What to expect for baby

At six weeks, your baby is between 3-6mm in size. They look like a tiny tadpole with a tiny tail that eventually grows into the spinal cord. The brain, lungs, and major organs continue to develop. At the same time, tiny buds that will grow into other organs such as arms, legs, and ears start to form.

Their basic facial features will also start to develop, beginning with teeth and a thin layer of skin. The little one's heartbeat can be heard via vaginal ultrasound.

What to expect for mom to be

With all the new sensations and fluctuating hormone levels, it is completely normal to feel a bit emotional during the sixth week. Plus, the early pregnancy symptoms will be quite uncomfortable as well: from nausea to soreness to acne and everything in between.

The onset of morning sickness is brought on by the increase in pregnancy hormones. As your hormones increase, your uterus starts to enlarge. Eventually, it will start to press against the kidney, causing frequent urination. This can also be caused by an increase in blood flow into the kidney for ultrafiltration.

Tip of the week

Avoid activities that increase your body temperature over 38.3 degrees celcius, such as being in a hot tub or sauna. Studies have shown that such activities can exacerbate the risk of fetal abnormalities and miscarriage.

Week 7

What to expect for baby

A seven-week embryo has grown to 10mm in crown-rump length. Their brain grows quickly as the eyes and inner ears continue to develop. Your little one’s nerve cells are now replicating with the rapid development of the brain and spinal cord.

As this happens, your little one’s limbs will also start to form cartilage, which will eventually become the bones of the legs and arms. The buds of the arms get more extensive and flatten at the ends. In a few weeks, these will become hands.

What to expect for mom to be

By week 7, you will be fully aware that you are pregnant. However, you are still not showing yet because your baby is so small: about the size of a blueberry.

At this stage, morning sickness becomes increasingly frequent. Fatigue, frequent urination, and enlarged sore breasts also continue. Because of this, investing in some good-quality sleepwear will help you get more comfortable, especially at night.

You may also experience bleeding or sore gums, so it is vital to maintain good oral hygiene and dental care to avoid gum problems.

Tip of the week

Infections may arise during pregnancy which can cause complications. Consult your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any infection to ensure that it is taken care of before it can affect your growing baby.

Week 8

What to expect for baby

Most women have their first prenatal appointment at around the 8th week. If you get an ultrasound at this stage, you may be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat. However, they are still too small to see clearly with an ultrasound.

By now, the baby looks a lot more grown at a whopping 14mm. Their arms, legs, fingers, and toes have sprouted, and the bones and muscles have become more definite. Their limbs and muscles also mature, and cartilage starts being replaced by bone.

As their inner organs grow, their facial features become unique every passing day. Your little one's ears will start to emerge as little folds of skin at the side of their head.

The neural tube, spinal cord, brain, and other nerve cells and tissues are well-formed by the end of the eighth week. The digestive tract and sensory organs will also become more defined.

What to expect for mom to be

Symptoms such as fatigue and morning sickness will get worse this week. These symptoms are completely normal. However, if they feel too intense, contact your physician as it may be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum, which can cause severe nausea and vomiting.

Your breasts will feel even more tender as they enlarge. You may also experience some minimal weight gain.

Tip of the week

Eating tiny portions of meals frequently can aid in regulating blood sugar, and this can reduce nausea. Eating ginger and peppermint also works like magic for morning sickness.

Final Thoughts

A lot has happened in just a few short weeks, right? Well, buckle up, your little one is only getting started!

While keeping healthy food down may be a little difficult over these weeks, try to eat small portions throughout the day to keep whatever you can down. And since your breasts will only get bigger and more sore over the next few weeks, this is the perfect time to start shopping around for a good nursing bra that will make life a whole lot more comfortable for you.

Angelia Smith - Feb. 19 2022


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