5 Weeks Pregnant – Mother’s Progress

At 5 weeks pregnant you are now in the critical stages of the embryo development. If you are aware at this stage that you are pregnant it is essential for you to begin making some long term life changes. These include excluding nicotine and alcohol and cutting down on caffeine. Include higher amounts of iron, calcium, protein and carbohydrate into your diet to ensure an all-round healthy pregnancy. Whatever you put into your body will become highly concentrated in the baby’s bloodstream.

Folic acid is also very important to aid the development of the baby’s vital organs and spinal cord and experts agree that a daily dose of 400 micrograms is sufficient


5th Week Of Pregnancy

Things that can effect your baby’s development at this crucial stage when you are 4 or 5 weeks pregnant and onwards are:

Alcohol – it can cross over the placental barrier and enter into your baby’s bloodstream. Using this type of substance is a form of poisoning to the body that can impair your judgement and dehydrate a grown adult so just imagine what it is doing to your baby. Consuming alcohol when you are 5 weeks pregnant and thereafter can not only stunt the growth of your baby, cause facial stigmata but it can also damage neurons and brain structures, leading to mental retardation or severe behavioural problems later in life. Drinking while pregnant can result in a condition known as ‘Fetal Alcohol Syndrome’

Cat Litter/Soil/Farm Animals/Raw Meat – If you have had direct contact with any of these things and it has resulted in any ‘flu-like’ symptoms, then it is advisable to have a blood test for Toxoplasmosis.
Toxoplasma cysts will usually begin their life cycle in raw meat so if you are a meat-eater then ensure all of your meat is very well cooked especially pork, lamb or venison. Always wear gloves when handling it and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.

A cat can carry the pathogen in her faeces for weeks after eating infected meat (such as a rodent). Even then, cat faeces are not generally contagious for the first day or two after excretion, after which the cyst ‘ripens’ and becomes potentially pathogenic, so make sure her litter remains fresh at all times (especially if she roams outdoors). Avoid gardening as ‘matured’ cat faeces can be hiding anywhere in that soil as we all know that cats like to ‘bury their business’

Although this disease is fairly rare it is still very serious. If a woman has had previous exposure and immunity to Toxoplasmosis, this largely ensures the safety of the unborn but if she is exposed to it for the first time while pregnant, then the baby is at particular risk. A blood test during the first pre-natal visit can determine whether or not you’ve had previous exposure and whether or not you are at risk. However, it is always better to air on the side of caution so leave the gardening to someone else (you shouldn’t be exerting yourself anyway).

Cigarettes and second-hand smoke – It is better to cut these out altogether, from even before you are 5 weeks pregnant as they effect the mother’s circulation and can reduce the amount of nutrient and oxygen the baby is receiving through the placenta. This can then stunt your baby’s growth and lead to a pre-term or underweight birth which will inevitably cause problems in the first few months of life. The risk of bleeding, placental abruption and miscarriage also increases. So this means that not only you, but your partner also needs to consider quitting smoking or he’ll need to go elsewhere to do it, no longer can it be done indoors.

Certain Foods – Can cause Listeriosis such as raw meat, seafood, liver, pate, soft cheeses (like blue cheese and brie) and unpasteurized milk. Toxoplasmosis symptoms (see above) can be brought on by undercooked meat (namely pork, lamb and venison) or Salmonella which comes from partially cooked or raw eggs.

Infectious Illnesses – Although most women are vaccinated against German Measles (also known as Rubella), if a pregnant woman were to contract this then it could lead to severe abnormalities for the unborn child. Measles, Mumps and Chickenpox are also all potentially harmful to your baby so try to stay away from any children you know to be infected. These are just a few of the variety of pregnancy illnesses to consider.

If you are planning on having any x-rays (such as dental) then be sure to inform the technician that you are pregnant as there is proof that this may cause development problems within the first 13 weeks.

Avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting and try not to get stressed out as this can only add to your fatigue. Even at this early stage of being 5 weeks pregnant it is still worth taking some form of light but effective exercise such as walking or swimming in order to prepare yourself physically for the extra weight you will be carrying, along with your impending labor.

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(See Pregnancy Week 5 – The Baby’s Development)


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