1. How Big Are You?

At this point, there are still no big changes in you. Even if you are aware you’re pregnant, it will be a while before others notice your changing figure.

2. How Your Baby Is Growing and Developing

As early as this week, a plate that will become the heart has developed. Two tubes join to form the heart, and it begins to contract by day 22 of development. A beating heart is visible as early as 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy during an ultrasound examination.

Eyes first appear around this time and look like a pair of shallow grooves on each side of the developing brain. These grooves continue to develop and eventually turn into pockets called optical vesicles. Early in development, eyes are on the side of the head.

The central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and muscle and bone formation continue. During this time, baby’s skeleton is starting to form.

3. Changes in You

Home pregnancy tests are very sensitive, which makes early diagnosis of pregnancy possible. Tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone of early pregnancy. A pregnancy test can be positive before you have even missed a period! Some brands of at-home pregnancy tests can pick up lower levels of HCG than others. A couple of at-home pregnancy tests, First Response and Early Result Pregnancy Test, may be more sensitive than others. For women who want to test early, these products may be good choices.

Many tests can provide positive results (you’re pregnant) 10 days after you conceive. You might want to wait until you miss a period before investing money and emotional energy in any pregnancy test.

The best time to take a home pregnancy test is the first day after your missed period or any time thereafter. If you take the test too early, you may get a result that says you aren’t pregnant when you really are! This happens for about 50% of the women who take the test very early.

4. Nausea and Vomiting

An early symptom of pregnancy for some women is nausea, with or without vomiting; it is often called morning sickness. About half of all pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting, about 25% of pregnant women have nausea only and 25% experience no symptoms. You may get morning sickness if you suffer from motion sickness or migraines before pregnancy. If you’re going to get morning sickness, it usually appears before the 12th week of pregnancy.

If your sense of smell becomes more intense during pregnancy, it may add to the problem of morning sickness.

There is good news about morning sickness—women with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy have a lower incidence of miscarriage. The sicker you are, the less chance you will miscarry.

Morning sickness can occur in the morning or later in the day. It often starts early and improves during the day as you become active. The condition may begin around the 6th week of pregnancy.

Take heart—morning sickness usually improves and disappears around the end of the first trimester (week 13). Hang in there, and keep in mind that this is all temporary.

Morning sickness can affect your pregnancy weight gain. For many women with morning sickness, weight gain may not begin until the beginning of the second trimester, when nausea and vomiting often pass.

If morning sickness is wearing you down, call your healthcare provider. Ask about different ways to deal with it. Reassurances that this situation is normal and your baby is OK can be comforting.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Nausea doesn’t usually cause enough trouble to require medical attention. However, a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and vomiting) causes a lot of vomiting, which results in loss of nutrients and fluid.

You have hyperemesis gravidarum if you’re unable to keep down 80 ounces of fluid in 24 hours, if you lose more than 2 pounds a week or 5% of your prepregnancy weight, or if you vomit blood or bile. Contact your healthcare provider immediately!

Only 1 to 2% of all pregnant women experience hyperemesis gravidarum. Very high levels of nausea-inducing hormones may be one cause.

If symptoms are severe, call your healthcare provider’s office as soon as possible. Even though your first prenatal appointment may not be scheduled for a while, there’s no reason to suffer. Your healthcare provider will want to know about the problem. You may have to ask to be seen sooner than a normal first prenatal appointment so you can find some relief.

Studies show if you experience hyperemesis gravidarum, your chance of having a daughter increases by more than 75%. Experts believe the cause may be an overabundance of female hormones produced by the baby and mom-to-be in the first trimester.

If you experience severe nausea and vomiting, if you cannot eat or drink anything or if you feel so ill you can’t carry on your daily activities, call your healthcare provider. Call if your urine is dark, you produce little urine, you feel dizzy when you stand up, your heart races or pounds, or you vomit blood or bile.

In severe cases, a woman may need to be treated in the hospital with intravenous fluids and medications. Hypnosis has also been used successfully in treating the problem.

Hyperemesis after Pregnancy? It has been commonly believed that symptoms associated with hyperemesis gravidarum disappear after pregnancy. This is the case for most women, but a few women will have problems even after baby’s birth.

Studies show some women with severe hyperemesis gravidarum can experience symptoms well beyond delivery that can take months to overcome. Symptoms include food aversions, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), digestive problems, nausea, gallbladder issues, fatigue and muscle weakness. Women who received I.V. feedings during pregnancy because they couldn’t eat had the highest rate of symptoms.

Tip for Week 5

Pregnancy may affect your sense of smell. You may smell odors more intensely; odors that do not normally affect you may now smell bad. If you’re sensitive to the smell of food, try eating a piece of cheddar, cottage cheese, dry-roasted nuts or cold chicken.

Recovery can take a few months to as long as 2 years. Some believe it takes 1 to 2 months of recovery for every month you were ill. Women who have nausea and/or vomiting into late pregnancy find it usually takes several months to regain their energy and restore nutritional reserves.

If your hyperemesis gravidarum persists after baby’s birth, you may need to see a nutritionist. Talk to your healthcare provider about it. It is especially important to seek help before you plan another pregnancy.

A ReliefBand may help relieve morning sickness. It’s worn like a wrist watch on the inside of your wrist and stimulates nerves with gentle electric signals. This stimulation is believed to interfere with messages between the brain and stomach that cause nausea. It has various stimulation levels so you can adjust signals to control your comfort. It can be used when nausea begins, or you can wear it before you feel ill. This device does not interfere with eating or drinking. It’s water resistant and shock resistant, so you can wear it just about any time!

Treating Morning Sickness. There is no completely successful treatment for normal nausea and vomiting. Research has found some women find relief by taking vitamin B6 supplements. It’s a good therapy to try because it’s readily available and inexpensive. Ask your healthcare provider about taking PremesisRx, a once-a-day tablet. If vitamin B6 alone doesn’t work, your healthcare provider might want to add an antihistamine.

You can ask your healthcare provider about taking over-the-counter antinausea medication, such as Emetrol. In addition, ask about using a different prenatal vitamin that might be easier on your stomach. You might ask about taking a regular multivitamin—not a prenatal vitamin—or a folic-acid supplement during the first trimester.

Acupressure, acupuncture and massage may prove helpful in dealing with nausea and vomiting. Acupressure wristbands, worn for motion and seasickness, and other devices help some women feel better.

This is an extremely important period in the development of your baby. Don’t expose baby to herbs, over-the-counter treatments or any other “remedies” for nausea that are not known to be safe during pregnancy.

Some Actions You Can Take. Eat small meals more frequently. Experts agree you should eat what appeals to you—these foods may be the ones you can keep down more easily right now. If that means sourdough bread and lemon-lime soda, go for it! Some women find protein foods settle more easily in their stomachs; these foods include cheese, eggs, peanut butter and nonfatty meats. A 2-ounce bar of dark chocolate may also help relieve nausea.

Some Interesting Facts about Morning Sickness

• Nausea and vomiting are uncommon in Asia and Africa.

• Morning sickness is more common in women carrying multiples.

• Heartburn and reflux can make morning sickness worse.

• Other conditions can cause nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy, including pancreatitis, gastroenteritis, appendicitis and pyelonephritis, as well as some metabolic disorders.

• If you don’t have morning sickness in early pregnancy, then experience nausea and vomiting later in pregnancy, it’s not morning sickness.

Ginger may help reduce vomiting. Make tea from fresh ginger, and drink it to calm your stomach. Taking about 350mg of ginger supplements may also help. Be careful when choosing ginger-root supplements. There’s a difference in quality of ginger from different manufacturers. Buy from a reliable company.

If you’ve heard about Nzu to treat morning sickness, don’t use it. It is a traditional remedy from Africa that looks like balls of mud or clay. However, it’s dangerous to use because it contains high levels of lead and arsenic.

Keep up your fluid intake, even if you can’t keep food down. Dehydration is more serious than not eating for a while. If you vomit a lot, you may want to choose fluids that contain electrolytes to help replace those you lose when you vomit. Ask your healthcare provider what fluids he or she recommends.

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