How big is my baby?

Your baby is constantly growing from the start of your pregnancy to the very end. At 5 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the size of a sesame seed – about 1/16th of an inch or 1.5 millimeters. Within that tiny little body, your baby’s heart is beating and it’s brain and spinal cord are developing.

The umbilical cord, which will soon be your baby’s lifeline is also developing.
Although you won’t be able to feel any of these tiny miracles happening, don’t worry, they are happening!

Why do I feel so sore?

Even though you are no longer having your period, you may be experiencing some cramping. At 5 weeks pregnant, your cramps may feel like your period is coming on, or it may feel much worse. Not to worry, it’s all a normal, though not always talked about, part of early pregnancy.

Your breasts may also become increasingly sore and tender to touch throughout your first trimester of pregnancy. What to do? Your best option is probably a comfy sports bra, even at bedtime, until the discomfort subsides.

Now that I’m 5 weeks pregnant, how do I find the right doctor or midwife?

Now that you are 5 weeks pregnant, you can make an appointment with your doctor or midwife. If this is your first pregnancy, you might be feeling like you needed to have your appointment yesterday and if this is your second or third pregnancy, making your appointment might feel less urgent.

If you have a midwife or doctor in mind, you’re all set. If you’re not sure who you want to be assisting at your birth, that’s okay too – although you might feel like you have to have it all figured out right now, you have time to gather information to make an informed decision.

The first thing you’ll want to think about is where you want to have your baby, at a hospital, a birthing center, or at home. Each of these can be a safe and appropriate option and it really comes down to which one is right for you.

Let’s be really clear – there are going to be a lot of people, all who probably mean well, telling you what you should and should not be doing whether you are 5 weeks pregnant or 34 weeks pregnant.

Ultimately you need to do what feels best and what feels comfortable for you. It’s not so much about which option you choose so long as it truly matches your goals and preferences for your birthing experience.

While hospitals are certainly equipped to deal with just about anything that might happen with your or your baby, they are also usually a bit more regimented with respect to how they will handle your birth. Most women who enter a hospital are put on an I-V drip, are attached to a fetal monitor, and can be limited as far as their ability to get up and walk while in labor.

For women who are planning to use drugs or procedures for pain management, like an epidural, you will need to be in a hospital. Be aware as well that you may be more likely to have a cesarean section or an episiotomy if you choose a hospital birth. While there are certainly times when either of these two procedures is completely appropriate, there are other times when they are done to speed the birth along.

A Birth Center is not a medical facility in the way that a hospital is, but it may have other amenities that might be difficult to recreate at home (i.e. a larger bath tub) or it may be closer to a hospital if that’s important to you.
If you choose a birth center, you will likely have more input about how you birth compared to your experience in most hospitals, although it still may not be as intimate as a home birth setting. At a birth center, you are more likely to have a midwife or nurse midwife assist at your birth rather than an OB/GYN. Additionally, birth centers are not able to administer pain management medication in the same way that a hospital is.

A home birth is probably the most intimate and least invasive of the three options. You will most likely be working with a midwife if you choose home birth who will intervene with your birthing process only if and when it is truly necessary.

Home birth is a safe option for low-risk pregnancies, but it’s not always an option for women with certain risk factors such as breech birth or high blood pressure. Each midwife has her own standards for what kinds of risk factors she will accept and which she will refer to a doctor.

Your choice about where to birth often influences whether or not you will choose a doctor or a midwife to assist with your birth. While doctors typically only practice in hospitals, midwives often practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals.

At 5 weeks pregnant, it’s not too early, or too late, to start asking friends or family for recommendations for either doctors or midwives. Ask others as well, like childbirth educators or doulas, for their input – they’ve likely worked with a lot of expecting moms, doctors and midwives and are probably pretty connected within the community of childbirth professionals.