What to Expect When 5 Weeks Pregnant: A Week-by-Week Guide

Being 5 weeks pregnant marks an exciting milestone – you’ve likely just found out you’re expecting! The first trimester is underway and your baby is starting to develop. This week-by-week guide covers everything you can expect during week 5 of pregnancy.

Overview of Week 5

At 5 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of an apple seed and is termed an embryo. Major development and growth is happening as cells rapidly divide. Here’s what’s going on this week:

  • The neural tube forming your baby’s brain and spinal cord is closing.
  • Arm and leg buds are beginning to show.
  • The heart is continuing to divide into chambers and beat.
  • Basic facial features are forming.
  • Your placenta is developing.
  • Morning sickness may start as hormone levels rise.

While you can’t feel motion yet, your little embryo is hard at work this week crafting the foundation for all organs and body parts.

Your Baby’s Development at 5 Weeks

Size and Appearance

At 5 weeks gestation, your baby is about the size of an apple seed or lentil bean, measuring just 1/25 of an inch (1.5-2.5mm). He or she doesn’t look very human yet! The basic body plan is forming as cells rapidly divide and differentiate into specialized tissues and organs.

  • Your baby’s neural tube (which becomes the brain, spinal cord and backbone) is closing. The brain and face begin development.
  • Dark spots mark the development of your baby’s eyes and nasal pits indicate the nose.
  • Translucent arm and leg buds are just visible, starting as little paddles that will eventually become fully formed limbs.
  • Your baby’s heart finishes dividing into four chambers and the valves start to form. It begins beating at a steady rhythm (about 105-121 beats per minute).
  • The bud of a tail is present at this stage but will disappear in coming weeks.
  • Tiny bud-like structures that will become fingers and toes are forming.
  • The placenta is developing and starting to secrete hormones including hCG.
  • The umbilical cord connects your baby to the placenta, providing nourishment and removing waste.
  • The amniotic sac fills with amniotic fluid cushioning your baby.

Development and Growth

The most critical stages of development occur during weeks 3-8 of pregnancy. Here’s what’s happening with your baby at 5 weeks:

  • Neural Tube: The neural tube that runs along the back and develops into the brain and spinal cord is closing up. The brain and facial features begin forming.
  • Heart: Your baby’s tiny heart finishes separating into four chambers – two upper atria and two lower ventricles. Heart valves start to form between chambers to control blood flow. The heart starts beating and pumping blood.
  • Arms and legs: Arm and leg buds are just visible as paddles at the sides of your embryo’s body. These will grow into arms and legs over the coming weeks.
  • Placenta: Development of the placenta is underway. This vital organ nourishes your baby and removes waste via the umbilical cord.
  • Tail: Your embryo has a small tail that will disappear by week 8. Tails are common in early human development.
  • Digits on hands and feet: Small digit buds are forming that will eventually become fingers and toes.

Your baby’s body is still taking shape as cells swiftly multiply. While he or she doesn’t look fully human yet, basic body parts are being constructed during week 5.

Your Symptoms at 5 Weeks Pregnant

How are you feeling at 5 weeks pregnant? Pregnancy symptoms tend to ramp up around this time. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Missed period: A missed menstrual period is often the first hint of pregnancy. Not all women have regular cycles, but if your period doesn’t arrive on schedule, take a pregnancy test.
  • Implantation bleeding: About 25% of pregnant women experience light spotting when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. This usually happens around week 4 but can occur in week 5 too. Contact your doctor if you have heavy bleeding.
  • Fatigue: Surging progesterone levels can leave you feeling tired in early pregnancy despite not yet needing extra calories. Listen to your body and rest when needed.
  • Nausea: Hormone changes frequently bring on nausea with or without vomiting by week 5 or 6. This is commonly known as morning sickness but can occur any time of day. Eat small, frequent meals and avoid triggers.
  • Bloating: Hormonal shifts also slow digestion causing abdominal bloating and gas. Breathable loose clothing and keeping well hydrated can help.
  • Frequent urination: Rising hCG levels cause increased blood flow to the kidneys making you urinate more often. Having to pee frequently, especially at night, is an early sign of pregnancy for many women.
  • Breast changes: Increased estrogen and progesterone cause breast changes like soreness, tingling and darker areolas. Your breasts may feel heavy, full and tender to the touch.
  • Cramping: Some minor cramping is normal as your uterus stretches and implants deeper in your abdomen. Call your doctor if it’s severe.
  • Food aversions: You may suddenly dislike foods you used to enjoy thanks to pregnancy hormones and morning sickness. The good news is cravings for certain foods may also strike.

Monitor any worrying symptoms and talk to your doctor if concerned. But most of what you’ll experience is completely normal for this stage of pregnancy.

Your 5 Week Ultrasound

At 5 weeks pregnant, it’s rather early for an ultrasound. Your developing baby is still very small, and the heartbeat may just be starting. Here’s what you might see if you do get an ultrasound:

  • A tiny embryo measuring 3-5mm – too small to see much detail
  • Flicker of cardiac activity as the heart begins beating
  • Maybe thickening in endometrium indicating implantation
  • Gestational sac forming or yolk sac visible within the sac
  • Your corpus luteum on the ovary may be identifiable

An early ultrasound primarily serves to confirm the pregnancy is progressing normally rather than provide a close look at your embryo. Wait until 8-10 weeks for a clearer view. Let your provider guide you on appropriate timing for ultrasounds.

Tips for Managing Week 5 Symptoms

Carrying some physical discomfort is often par for the course in early pregnancy. Try these tips to help manage symptoms:


  • Rest when possible. Take naps and go to bed earlier.
  • Stay hydrated and eat small, frequent meals for energy.
  • Try gentle exercises like walking, prenatal yoga or swimming.
  • Ask your partner for help around the house and with childcare.
  • Make time for relaxing activities – read a book, take a bath, meditate.

Nausea and Vomiting

  • Eat bland, dry foods like crackers when first getting up.
  • Have a high protein snack like nuts or yogurt before bed.
  • Sip ginger tea, ginger ale, lemonade or mint tea.
  • Avoid spicy, greasy foods and strong smells that trigger nausea.
  • Distract yourself with music, books or light exercise.

Breast Changes

  • Wear a supportive bra, and skip underwire styles which can dig in.
  • Try gel packs, cool compresses or cabbage leaves to ease soreness.
  • Moisturize with lotions containing vitamin E, cocoa butter or shea butter.
  • Sleep in a comfortable position using extra pillows.

Frequent Urination

  • Limit fluid intake in the evenings but don’t become dehydrated.
  • Keep drinking water and other healthy beverages during daytime hours.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol which act as diuretics.
  • Do Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Lifestyle Tips for Week 5

Focus on making positive lifestyle choices to nourish your body and support your baby-to-be. Recommendations include:

  • Take a prenatal vitamin with at least 400mcg folic acid before pregnancy and during the first trimester to help prevent neural tube defects.
  • Exercise moderately with your doctor’s approval. Walking, swimming, prenatal yoga and light strength training are great options.
  • Get plenty of rest. Naps, earlier bedtimes and delegating chores can help you meet increased sleep needs.
  • Eat nutritious foods like lean proteins, whole grains, dairy, eggs, nuts, fruits and veggies. Hydration is also important.
  • Gain weight gradually. Most women only need about 300 extra calories per day in the first trimester.
  • Avoid harmful substances like alcohol, cigarettes, recreational drugs and secondhand smoke that can impact your baby’s development.
  • Reduce stress through relaxation techniques, prenatal massages, yoga, quality time with loved ones and sufficient sleep.
  • Practice good hygiene like washing hands frequently, cleaning produce thoroughly and avoiding people who are sick.

Following a healthy routine goes a long way toward supporting your energy, mood and comfort levels.

What to Expect at Your First Prenatal Visit

Around week 5 or 6, schedule your first prenatal doctor’s visit if you haven’t already. Here’s what to expect:

  • Confirmation of pregnancy: Your doctor will confirm how far along you are based on last menstrual period and/or ultrasound results.
  • Physical exam: An overall exam checks your vitals, breast and pelvic health. Your weight and height will be measured.
  • Health history: Expect questions about your health, family history, medications, lifestyle and more.
  • Lab tests: Blood and urine samples can reveal blood type, iron levels, immunity to diseases and potential infections.
  • Estimated due date: Your EDD will be calculated based on the start date of your last period. This helps plan prenatal care.
  • Prenatal education: Discuss nutrition, exercise, symptoms to report and other essential pregnancy information. Get any questions answered.

Let your doctor know about any concerning symptoms and bring a list of questions. This visit gets you started on the path toward a healthy pregnancy.

Week 5 FAQs

Can I hear the heartbeat at 5 weeks pregnant?

It’s unlikely you’ll hear a heartbeat when 5 weeks pregnant. The heart is just starting to beat and can’t be detected by Doppler fetal monitors this early. An early ultrasound around 5-6 weeks may reveal flickering cardiac activity. Wait until 8-10 weeks to hear the heartbeat.

Do pregnancy symptoms increase at 5 weeks?

Yes, pregnancy symptoms tend to ramp up around 5 weeks as hormone levels rise. Fatigue, breast tenderness, nausea, bloating and frequent urination often start or intensify. Some women even have a pregnancy glow by week 5! Symptoms should ease up by weeks 12-14.

How big is the baby when 5 weeks pregnant?

At 5 weeks pregnant, the embryo measures just 1.5-2.5mm – about the size of an apple seed! Major organs like the brain, lungs, stomach and liver are starting to develop but it is still too early to make out distinct features. Limbs are forming but are not fully developed yet.

What fruits or vegetables represent a 5 week pregnancy?

A 5 week old embryo is often compared to the size of an apple seed, sesame seed, or lentil bean. An apple seed is one of the most common comparisons for 5 weeks pregnant. Your baby is still very small at this point!

How common is miscarriage at 5 weeks?

Miscarriage risks do decline as pregnancy progresses but remain considerable in early weeks. Estimates suggest the miscarriage rate at 5 weeks is around 10-15%. But the vast majority of pregnancies continue normally. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

The Takeaway

When you’re 5 weeks pregnant, you’ve likely just found out you’re expecting! Major development is happening quickly. Your baby’s neural tube, heart, limbs, and facial features are forming. You may start noticing early pregnancy symptoms too. Focus on healthy lifestyle choices to nourish your growing baby. Exciting milestones lie ahead in the coming weeks!