After only five weeks of gestation, your baby already has a heartbeat. The actual fetus may be too small to see on an ultrasound – it’s only the size of the point of a needle. However, you will be able to hear the little heartbeat tapping away. If you are lucky enough to see anything on the ultrasound, it will be too small to make out any details.
The baby is beginning to develop though. The head is the most developed part of the fetus at this point, with the brain and nervous system forming at full speed. This is why it’s very important to start taking folic acid as early as possible, because it helps to prevent any malformations.
It may be tiny, but every structure of this new body is starting to form at this early point. The vitelline duct also forms now, and begins to send blood, oxygen and nutrients to the growing embryo via micro blood vessels. This duct is the start of the umbilical cord, which will support your baby’s growth up until birth.
At only five weeks the baby is still just an embryo. It doesn’t measure more the 2mm in size! However, the baby is no longer just a grouping cells. It’s starting to form shapes that will grow into limbs and organs. At this point, your baby is very reminiscent of a tadpole in appearance, but the most beautiful tadpole that ever existed. Soon, it will take on human features and in just a few weeks, you’ll be able to see these details.
Ultrasound at 5 weeks
At this point, there is very little that the human eye can see because the fetus is just too small. If you see anything at all, it will only be the gestational sac and the vitelline duct. This is perfectly normal and you shouldn’t worry if you don’t see your baby.
You may very well hear the beating of your baby’s heart at the five-week point. It won’t have a good rhythm yet as they are only involuntary contractions of one of the cardiac ventricles at this stage. However, this beat will begin to normalize over time. It’s incredible to think that something so small can have a heartbeat already and is actually a new life.
How is mom feeling?
This is the stage where you’ve already missed your menstruation, but you may not have realized that you are pregnant yet. Your hormones will be able to give you a clue as they can take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions now. Many women experience mood swings from happy to sad to angry, all in a matter of moments. They can also switch between extreme hunger and strong nausea in this early stage. This is all from the fetal development, which is stimulating the corpus luteum to create more hormones to support the pregnancy.
At this stage, it’s a good idea to find a gynecologist who is reliable and you feel comfortable with (if you don’t already have one). It’s important to start prenatal care as soon as possible. Your doctor will start by taking various blood tests. There can be quite a few, but don’t worry. Ask your doctor exactly what each one is for and you’ll find that most are just precautionary.
It’s unlikely that your doctor will recommend an ultrasound at this point because you won’t be able to see much. Most gynecologists will only consider an ultrasound from the 7th week onwards.
Remember, it’s also essential that you talk to your gynecologist about all medications and supplements that you’re taking. They will recommend what you need to stop and what is safe to continue with.
Changes to your exterior
The changes to your body aren’t just internal. Most pregnant women notice changes in their appearance – specifically hair and skin. Women are often said to glow when they’re pregnant. You’ll possibly find that your skin becomes dryer and then oilier to compensate. Your hair will also likely become brighter and softer.
Due to your heightened senses, you may find that you can’t use your favorite shampoo or perfume at this point too. The scent is too strong thanks to your changing hormones.
How big is the fetus at five weeks?
At five weeks, the fetus is so small that it can be compared to the head of a needle or a tiny grain of rice. The fetus also doesn’t look like a baby yet, but it is starting to form.
Will my stomach already start to get bigger at five weeks?
No, the fetus isn’t big enough to start stretching the abdomen. However, some women do report feeling bloated or swollen in the area. This could be a result of the changes in hormones.
Is it possible to feel my baby stirring at five weeks?
No, not at this stage. The heartbeat may be detected on an ultrasound at this point, but the fetus is too small for any movements or kicks to be felt.