1 - 5 Weeks Pregnant
The first trimester
The moment you are holding a positive pregnancy test, one of the most special and exciting journeys of your life begins. Welcome to your first trimester of pregnancy!
It is generally agreed that the first trimester lasts until the end of week 13, and this is a momentous time in which both your body and the baby (or babies!) inside you go through lots of huge changes and developments.
What's happening to your body in the first 5 weeks?
On the outside, you might not notice any major changes yet. But on the inside, it’s a whole different story – and a whole different world. Your uterus is already starting to expand in order to accommodate your growing baby, which might mean that you feel like running to pee a lot more often!
At the same time, your breasts might feel swollen and tender, with darker nipples and more visible veins. Soothe your changing skin with a gentle, pregnancy-friendly body balm to apply after you have taken a shower or warm (not hot!) bath.
Early pregnancy symptoms
Before we jump into this section, it’s important to make a disclaimer: pregnancy symptoms are many and can vary incredibly from person to person, and from pregnancy to pregnancy. You might be a first-time mum ready to experience all the “classic” pregnancy symptoms such as sickness and fatigue, but find that you get none of them.
Or, you might be pregnant with your second and realise that your symptoms and cravings are much more intense – and unpleasant! – than with your first. In the vast majority of cases, none of this is cause for concern. Of course, though, if something specific worries you, or if your intense symptoms seem to vanish completely overnight, it’s a good idea to head to your hospital for a reassurance check.
In general, the most common pregnancy symptoms during the first five weeks include:
- A missed period: For many, this is the first tell-tale sign that they are expecting!
- Tender, swollen breasts: While this symptom can also occur during ovulation and, sometimes, just before your period begins, it’s also very common in pregnancy and can last for weeks or months in some women.
- Pregnancy sickness: Often called “morning sickness”, this pregnancy-specific ailment can actually occur at any time of the day (and night, sadly!), and might begin soon after your positive pregnancy test. There are lots of different types of pregnancy sickness, and it’s almost impossible to “predict” whether you will have it, and how it will affect you. However, if you find yourself being so sick and poorly that you are unable to keep any food or water down and are losing weight, you might be suffering from the extreme form of pregnancy sickness, called hyperemesis gravidarum. Women with this condition might sometimes require medical assistance and even hospital admission, alongside mental health support.
- Tiredness and fatigue: It doesn’t matter how busy you’ve been at work, or whether you have exercised, the chances are that these first few weeks of pregnancy will find you constantly reaching for the sofa as soon as you get home. Try not to worry, take it easy, and get plenty of rest. Your energy should go back to “normal” in the second trimester!
- Shortness of breath: Are you feeling short of breath whenever you walk up the stairs, run a few metres to catch the bus, or even without engaging in any physical activity? This is another fairly common pregnancy symptom.
After the egg has been fertilised, your little baby will slowly grow until they reach 2mm in length towards the end of week 5.
So much is already developing: their nervous system, their heart, their neural tube, and even their little face. The placenta is also gradually forming and getting ready to take on one of the leading roles of the whole pregnancy experience.
Things to consider
There are lots of considerations to make once you find out that you are pregnant – here is a handy list of the most important ones.
- Contact your healthcare professional to inform them of your pregnancy and make an appointment for a check-up. In parallel, get yourself registered with your local hospital or another hospital of your choice.
- Continue to take folic acid and other pregnancy vitamins (if you were planning to have a baby, you should have already started. If not, start as soon as you find out about your pregnancy). Folic acid, in particular, is super-important as it helps prevent the formation of any neural tube defects in the baby, such as spina bifida.
- Review your diet, and start eliminating potentially harmful foods and beverages such as raw and unpasteurised fish, meat, dairy, milk, and juices, seafood, fish with high levels of mercury (swordfish, mackerel, and shark), and alcohol. If you smoke or take any recreational drugs, stop immediately.
- Reduce your daily caffeine intake, or quit altogether.
- Book an appointment with your dentist, as good dental health is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy.
- Be aware that, especially at the beginning of your first trimester, your chances of suffering a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy are higher. If you experience any spotting, bleeding, cramping, or anything else that worries you, please get in touch with a medical professional right away.
Remember to try your best to view this journey in the most positive, empowering way, and to advocate for yourself and your baby whenever you feel that something might not be right. Oh, and always make time for some extra, soothing self-care: a happy mum means a happy baby, after all!