Welcome to week 5. 35 weeks to go!
This week your poppy seed-sized baby has grown to about the size of an apple seed.
While nine months seems like a short time, everything from major organs to fingernails will need to develop from scratch. A lot is going on in your belly. The cluster of cells that will become your baby’s heart has already formed, and this week the heart begins to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood. Your little one looks more like a tadpole, and they are rapidly growing. While the groundwork is being laid for all major organs to form, the brain and spinal cord are also beginning to develop.
By now, you should have missed your period, which is one of the more obvious indications that you’re pregnant. A home pregnancy test will confirm what you may already suspect—that you are having a baby. While you should be able to verify that you are pregnant this week, it will still be a while before anyone would be able to tell. Enjoy fitting into your favorite jeans while you can.
As tempting as it may be, you may not want to run out and tell everyone you are pregnant immediately. While I don’t want to alarm you, miscarriage is more common than you may realize. Rates of miscarriage are very confusing, and the most widely accepted statistic is that 10-15% of clinically recognized pregnancies result in a loss. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, early pregnancy loss is common, occurring in 10% of all clinically recognized pregnancies. Approximately 80% of all cases of pregnancy loss occur within the first trimester. This is why many people wait until 12 weeks to make a public announcement.
It is common to have some anxiety about the possibility of miscarrying. Especially early on, you may have some signs or symptoms of pregnancy, but you don’t look pregnant and can’t feel your baby moving or kicking. When you start spreading the news, you don’t necessarily have to tell everyone at once, and maybe you will let a few friends in on the secret early and then break it to family and friends at the 12-week mark. Perhaps you want to wait even longer to share the news at work. The bottom line is to announce your pregnancy when you are comfortable.
Growing a tiny human is exhausting work, and you may feel wiped out at the end of the day. Fatigue is prevalent during pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters. Fatigue is primarily due to increased levels of progesterone. In addition, your body increases blood volume, and your blood pressure is lower. You increase metabolism and lower your blood sugar. Your body is going through many changes, and all those changes take energy. If you are tired, the best thing you can do is rest, take a nap, or go to bed earlier than usual.
Looking at your health insurance to minimize costs and ensure you are covered is a good idea. You may be eligible for tax-advantaged accounts to pay qualified medical expenses. If you are not in a financial position to obtain insurance or utilize tax-advantaged accounts, you may be able to get assistance with coverage.
This is also an excellent time to start thinking about what type of birth you want and whom you would like as your care provider. While hospitals are most common in the U.S., you may also consider a birth center or home birth. If you had a previous cesarean, you might consider a VBAC. Depending on your insurance and the birth you want, you may have access to a doctor or midwife. The more you learn, the more options you have.
Tip for Dads and Partners
Your wife, girlfriend, or significant other will have to cut out any significant bad habits as soon as they find out they are expecting. Try to be as supportive as possible of that. A perk for you is getting a designated driver for the next nine months but don’t take that as a license to go party every weekend. Make sure you plan nights that don’t involve alcohol so your significant other doesn’t feel left out.
Want more evidence-based information to navigate your pregnancy and birth?
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