You are 4 Weeks and 6 Days 246 days to go…

The placenta—the structure that will become your unborn baby’s lifeline—is forming.

Your baby today

The upper part of the embryo is shown. There is still a wide opening along the back of the embryo that will gradually close over the next few days. The head and lower spine portions are the last to close.

Your pregnancy test result may be the only sign that you’re pregnant, but there are many fascinating changes taking place inside you. The basic structures that will form the placenta (see You are 10 Weeks Exactly) are now in place. The outer layer of cells that originally entered the lining of the uterus are now coated with projections of placental tissue. It is the outer cells that are in direct contact with small lakes of your blood. The inner placental projections or fronds are termed “villi.” Some villi anchor the pregnancy to your tissues and, from these, smaller free-floating villi arise. Later, more branches will appear and ultimately resemble the branching pattern of a fern leaf. The villi are still immature and have not established a blood supply of their own. It will be several weeks before the placenta is mature enough to supply all the oxygen and nutrients that your developing baby needs.

… Mom
Q: I really wanted a baby, but now that I have a positive pregnancy test result, I’m suddenly not so sure. Is this normal?
A: I felt exactly the same at first and after talking to friends discovered that lots of them had mixed feelings, especially at the beginning. I found a good way to overcome this was to focus on the reasons why I wanted the baby. I wrote these down. Then I tried to figure out what I was really worrying about. Was it the thought of giving up some freedom? Financial worries? Concerns that I wouldn’t be a good parent? This helped me get things in perspective and realize I really did want the baby.

If you have any doubts while you’re pregnant, try talking to a close female relative—perhaps your mom—or a friend. You’re likely to find they, at times, had similar doubts, but went on to enjoy their pregnancy and being a mother.

Seeing your Doctor

If you’ve had a positive pregnancy test, call your doctor’s office to schedule your first prenatal visit, which will be between 8 and 12 weeks. The receptionist will likely ask the date of your last menstrual period to properly time the appointment.

  • At the appointment, your doctor will confirm your home pregnancy test results with urine and blood tests and possibly an ultrasound, as well. She will also determine your estimated due date based on the date of your last menstrual period.

  • This first visit will typically be your longest appointment, since the doctor will give you a thorough physical examination, take your family and personal health history, and answer any of your pregnancy-related questions or concerns.

  • You will be weighed and have your blood pressure checked.

  • You’ll also have blood drawn for several tests, including your blood type, Rh status, and a variety of sexually transmitted diseases.

You are 5 Weeks Exactly 245 days to go…

At this important stage of development, the building blocks of your baby’s spine are being laid down.

Your baby today

The bulge at the lower part of this image will eventually become the baby’s head. Segments called somites (seen as bright, round areas running down one side of the embryo), which will form the baby’s spine, have started to develop.

By the end of this 5th week, individual elements that will form the embryo have begun to develop.

Starting at what will become the head end, individual segments, called “somites,” form. Roughly three new pairs of somites appear every day and each forms part of your baby’s spine as well as the muscles associated with each segment of the body. Eventually there will be four somites at the head, eight in the region of the neck, 12 at chest level, five in the lumbar region, and five in the pelvic area.

More somites develop in the baby below the pelvis but most disappear. In other mammals, these develop to form the tail.

… Your body
Your metabolism

Regular exercise will increase your base metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories. During pregnancy your metabolism will already be slightly elevated. When exercising your body will be encouraged to use up excess energy and fat reserves, but will always keep enough reserve energy to facilitate the growth of your baby.

Exercise will also help your body regulate blood sugar and energy levels.

Doing moderate aerobic exercise during pregnancy—such as walking or running—regularly will burn excess fat, but won’t affect your baby’s development.

… Nutritionist
Q: I’m underweight. Could this affect my pregnancy?
A: You may be more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies, which could affect the baby’s health; you are also more likely to give birth prematurely, and have a smaller-than-usual baby, who is more vulnerable to health problems.

To gain weight, eat bigger portions and choose healthy foods that have plenty of protein, good-quality fats, and unrefined carbohydrates (see Get carb loading). Opt for nutrient- and calorie-dense foods, such as avocados and whole-milk dairy products; eat lots of leafy greens to ensure you are getting key vitamins and minerals . Eat healthy snacks, such as nuts, fruit, and seeds, and don’t skip breakfast. Your doctor will refer you to a dietician, if necessary.

Actual size of your baby

At 5 weeks of pregnancy, the embryo is 0.09 in (2.5 mm) long.

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