Pregnancy week by week: Here is an overview of what you should expect to happen to your body and baby during weeks 5 through 8 of your pregnancy.
You’re entering your second month of pregnancy, and many changes lie ahead. By now, you’ve probably taken a pregnancy test and confirmed that you’re expecting. While you might not have told friends and family about your impending arrival just yet, you may be starting to feel the early signs of the new life growing inside you.
Here’s a look at what will happen to your baby — and you — this month.
Weeks 5 - 6
Your baby is still tiny and looks more like a tadpole than the baby she’ll become. She even has a tail. This top-heavy shape is because the baby’s head is growing faster than the rest of her. Vital organs like the heart, brain, and spinal cord, along with muscles and bones, are starting to take shape. During this essential time of spinal cord development, it’s especially important for you to take a daily prenatal vitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid. This nutrient will protect your baby against neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.
If you haven’t already started to feel the first symptoms of pregnancy, you should soon. Often those feelings include nausea (otherwise known as morning sickness), sore breasts, fatigue, and a more frequent need to urinate.
To relieve morning sickness, eat smaller meals more often. Bland foods like crackers and broth might be easier to get down until the nausea subsides. Sip water throughout the day, especially if you’re vomiting, to prevent dehydration.
Your baby is surrounded and protected by an amniotic sac and is getting nourishment courtesy of the placenta. Her blood vessels are forming, and blood is starting to circulate through her little body. During this time, the umbilical cord will grow out of your baby’s midsection and connect your baby’s blood circulation to yours.
Weeks 7 - 8
As the second month of your pregnancy draws to a close, your baby has a new name — a fetus. His internal organs have formed, but they’ll continue to grow and develop over the next few months.
As your baby gets bigger, your belly will grow accordingly. You might notice a slight bulge in your abdomen now, or you might have more trouble zipping up your pants than you could a few weeks ago.
Your breasts will also enlarge, so you’ll want to shop for a bigger, more comfortable bra to support them.
During this time, your blood volume will increase by up to 50 percent to provide nourishment to your baby.
Your baby measures just over an inch from crown to rump — about the size of a bean. The buds of arms and legs have appeared. They’ll soon grow into full-fledged limbs, complete with flattened hands that will sprout fingers and toes. Those digits will be webbed to start, but they’ll eventually separate.
Your baby’s organs are also continuing to develop during this time. By week eight, the doctor may be able to detect a hint of a heartbeat during an ultrasound exam. Baby’s facial features are starting to take shape. The beginnings of eyes (complete with eyelid buds), mouth, and ears are emerging, making him look less like a tadpole and more like a real human. Your baby will start to get more mobile in the womb.
What to remember
If you haven’t done so already, make an appointment with your obstetrician for a first pregnancy visit. During this time, you’ll have an ultrasound to see how your baby’s growth is progressing.
You’ll also set up a schedule of visits for the weeks to come and learn what you need to do to stay healthy for the duration of your pregnancy. Your healthful plan should include eating a nutritious diet, exercising, and staying away from cigarettes and alcohol.
February 02, 2023
Janet O'Dell, RN