Close Close
Mother and Baby

5 weeks pregnant – what to expect

5 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Your little embryo is now the size of an orange seed and your hCG hormone levels are now high enough to confirm that you’re expecting. Top of your list this week is getting to your GP to confirm and figure out your due date.

What’s my baby doing at five weeks pregnant?

The umbilical cord is forming and by the end of this week the neural tube will be as well – this is where your baby’s brain and spinal cord will form. Your baby’s heart is made up of two tiny channels and they’re already working. Once those tubes fuse together at some point this week, your baby will have a fully functioning heart.

Your little embryo is now the size of an orange seed and your hCG hormone levels are now high enough to confirm that you’re expecting.

Also during this week, several other organs will become to form, including the neural tube, the beginnings of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Your baby will also double in size this week – from 2mm to 4mm. The placenta still hasn’t fully formed, so at the moment your little one is feeding from something called the ‘yolk sac.’

What’s my body doing at five weeks pregnant?

Your hormone levels are changing, you’ll have missed a period and you might even be experiencing some early pregnancy symptoms. Here’s what to expect:

Your hormones – mood swings

One word that is going to crop up a lot in the next eight months – hormones. This week, your pregnancy hormones are going to start kicking in – think of these as chemical signals that tell your body to get ready to start growing a baby. Among these are estrogen, which will keep the levels of progesterone and hCG up where they need to be. Progesterone maintains the function of the placenta and stimulates breast tissue to grow (which is why they are probably feeling a little tender right now). hCG supports the corpus luteum, this nourishes your growing baby until the placenta is ready in five weeks’ time.

Your due date and the emotional roller coaster it brings

If you’ve just done a pregnancy test a lot of things will be going through your mind. As well as extreme excitement, there can be fear, worry (can you afford a child? Is it the right time?) and anxiety about the fact you had a glass of wine last weekend.

Firstly, don’t worry about the wine – unknowingly drinking in very early pregnancy is not uncommon, and you have no reason to panic. It’s natural to feel daunted, and combined with the cocktail of pregnancy hormones racing around your body, it’s no wonder you’re feeling a little all over the place. The best way to make everything feel less scary is to read and prepare yourself. Here’s some extra reading that might help:

Unplanned pregnancy? How to cope and what to do next 

Teenage pregnancy: Get the help and advice you need 

Early pregnancy symptoms

  • Food cravings: It might be early days, but the food cravings might already be kicking in. Hormones play a part here, so try and relax and go with it as your body gets used to the hormone havoc! That said, indulge your cravings within reason and make sure you’re getting healthy substitutes for the foods you can’t stand.  
  • Tiredness: During the first trimester, most of your energy will go into growing your new arrival. Of course, you’re not complaining, but it’s normal to feel completely wiped out. The good news is that by the end of trimester one the placenta will be in place, but in the meantime, listen to your body and rest up!
  • Feeling sick: Sure, you’ve heard all about morning sickness, but didn’t realise it would be THIS bad! That queasy feeling in your stomach won’t just hit you in the mornings, but can hang around all day, especially during these first twelve weeks. Try not to skip meals, as much as you don’t want to eat, instead, try grazing throughout the day. Read more expert advice on morning sickness here. 
  • Excessive saliva: Morning sickness and excessive saliva? You’ve hit the confusing jackpot of early pregnancy symptoms. Try chewing sugarless gum to help your mouth stay a little dryer (and stop you dribbling in meetings!) Experts aren’t really sure why this happens, but have put it down to those pregnancy hormones.

What should I be doing at five weeks pregnant?

  • Now is the time to stop eating certain foods. These include unpasteurised foods, undercooked meat and eggs and some kinds of fish. These can cause food-borne illnesses that are damaging for your little one.
  • If you’ve got a cat, it’s time to hand over the litter cleaning duties for the next eight months (not that you’ll be complaining!) This is dangerous as it can cause an infection called toxoplasmosis, which can harm your unborn baby.
  • Don’t skip that evening floss! More than 90% of pregnant women suffer from gum problems during pregnancy thanks to the extra blood surging round your body. Find more advice on how to look after your teeth during pregnancy here. 

Take me back to week 4

Take me to week 6

Read next: The early pregnancy signs and symptoms to look out for - 

Expand Image


This is one of the first signs of pregnancy to hit as your body gears up to start supporting your baby and can even start within two weeks of conceiving. If you're feeling extra exhausted and can't work out why, this could be a sign your body is getting ready to grow a baby. 
Expand Image


Morning sickness is caused by an increase in oestrogen and the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). For many, this is the first sign of pregnancy. Don’t be misled by its name - while the nauseous feeling is most common in the morning, it can strike at any time of day.
Expand Image

Missed period 

Another common indicator and one of the most concrete signs you're expecting. That said, if you have irregular or light periods, this can be an easy one to miss. What's more, some women still have periods after they conceive.  
Expand Image

Spotting or bleeding 

This might sound strange and is another one that can be confused with a period, but around a third of women experience some sort of implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding is when the foetus implants into the lining of your uterus and causes a small amount of blood. This usually happens 6 to 12 days after you've concieved. 
Expand Image

More toilet trips 

Although your baby won't be pressing on your bladder just yet (a common side effect you'll experience later in your pregnancy), the hormone changes, plus a greater blood volume and your kidneys working harder could mean you find yourself rushing to the toilet more often right now. 
Expand Image

Breast changes 

Another extremely common early pregnancy sign is changes in your breasts. For some women, their boobs increase a full cup size within the first six weeks. For others, they find their boobs feel heavier and more tender than normal. 
Expand Image

Nipple changes 

Pregnancy hormones cause your body's melanin production to increase temporarly - you might notice this has caused your nipples and the area around them (the areolas) to turn a darker colour.
Expand Image

Bleeding gums 

If you've noticed blood when brushing your teeth, it could be that progesterone is to blame. This pregnancy hormone increases the flow of blood to gums, increasing sensitivity and causing them to bleed more easily. 
Expand Image

Increased vaginal discharge 

You might notice your body is producing more milky white vaginal discharge - this is your body's way to preventing harmful infections from travelling upwards and harming your baby.
Expand Image

Changes in facial skin colour 

A slightly odd sounding symptom, but some women experience changes in facial skin colour during pregnancy. This is medically referred to as melasma, chloasma or 'mask of pregnancy' and is caused by a temporary increase in pigmentation. 
Expand Image

Feeling lightheaded or fainting 

It's thought that the pregnancy hormone progesterone makes your blood vessels relax and widen to increase blood flow around the body, cauisng low blood pressure. 
Expand Image

Shortness of breath

Feeling out of breath doing your usual exercise routine or walking up the stairs? The surge of progesterone your body produces when you're pregnant expands your lung capacity which means you'll find yourself needing to take more breaths.
Expand Image

Increased sense of smell or taste 

If you suddenly can't bear the perfume you've worn for years, or your colleagues choice of tuna sandwich, it could be another early pregnancy sign. This is down to the hormone oestrogen which is heightening your responses to things that might be harmful to your growing baby. 
Expand Image

Back pain 

If you're already suffering from back ache, it could be caused by the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which makes your ligaments and joints relax and become looser so your body is ready to give birth. 
Expand Image

Feeling pregnant 

Some women are so in tune with their bodies they report 'feeling' pregnant before taking a pregnancy test. You might have detected those early hormone changes, so it's worth checking! 
Expand Image

Metallic taste in mouth 

Another common early sign of pregnancy, this one even has it's own name: 'dysgeusia'. 
Expand Image

Period-like cramps 

It's the right time of the month and you have the normal period cramps. But wait, these stomach aches could be a sign you've conceived and the egg has implanted into the uterine wall, causing that familiar cramping sensation. 
Expand Image

Excessive saliva 

Medically referred to as ptyalism, this is another one caused by those early hormonal changes. 
Expand Image


Many women experience headaches around the time their period, due to a surge in the hormone oestrogen. After conception, your oestrogen levels also rise, which could be what's causing that pounding head.
Expand Image

Food aversions

If you suddenly can't bear the sight or even idea of a boiled egg, it could be that you are experiencing the first trimester pregnancy food aversions. Whilst the egg aversion is a common one, it can happen with any types of food - even your favourites. 
Expand Image


That said, as fast as you'll go off certain foods, you'll start to crave others. A strong desire for something as simple as a fizzy drink, or as unusual as a lump of coal, could be an indicator that you're pregnant. 
Expand Image


Feeling absolutely ravenous all of a sudden? This is a sign your body wants you to start eating for two! 
Expand Image

Low libido 

If you're suddenly experiencing a really low sex drive after all of that baby-making sex, it could be a sign the job has been done! 
Expand Image

Cold like symptoms 

Another one caused by those pregnancy hormones (get ready to hear about them A LOT over the next nine months), if you're suffering from a blocked nose or cold it could be that those pregnancy hormones are cuasing swelling inside your nose, and increasing the amount and thickness of mucus. 
Expand Image

Spots or acne 

If you're blaming your period on those breakouts, you might be wrong. A surge of progesterone can make your glands produce more pore-blocking oily sebum.
Expand Image

More emotional 

Have you found yourself weeping on the underground or sobbing at a TV advert you've seen hundreds of time before? Emotions tend to be all over the place during pregnancy (one word - hormones), so if you're on an emotional rollercoaster, it might be time to go and buy a pregnancy test! 
Expand Image


Feeling extremely grumpy and short tempered? A combination of pregnancy symptoms can wreak havoc with your moods.
Expand Image

Constipation and wind 

It might be an embarrasing symptom you'd rather not talk about, but wind could actually mean your digestive system is adapting to those baby hormones. 
Expand Image


If that pre-period puffiness hasn't disappeared, it could actually be the pregnancy hormone progesterone at play. Feeling bloated? It might be worth taking a test! 
Expand Image

Temperature changes 

Pregnancy causes an increase in blood volume as your body starts to work harder to support your growing baby. Feeling extra hot? It could be an early sign of pregnancy. 


For parenting tips, tricks and advice you can trust, click here to subscribe to Mother & Baby and have the latest issue delivered to your door every month.

Related content: