Whether you’re still in the trying stages or have just learned that you’re pregnant, knowing what to expect each week can be essential.
Dr Sonya Jessup is an experienced Fertility Specialist and Gynaecologist at Demeter Fertility. She told Mamamia about the early stages of pregnancy week by week. (You can see the guide through weeks 1- 4 here.)
Similar to weeks one to four, a lot is happening during this period, says Dr Jessup.
“At five and a half weeks what we see on a scan is a little sac inside the uterus about a centimetre or a centimetre and a half,” she says, adding, “By the time you get to six and a half weeks, the baby is now measuring about 3 mm in length. Occasionally you can see a foetal heart [on scans] but not always.”
By this point, the baby’s heartbeat is also “somewhere between about 100 and 180 beats per minute,” Jessup says.
“The foetal heart obviously has to start from nothing. If you do a very early scan and maybe you were just six weeks the foetal heart rate is often lower than that, it’s 60. If, later on, the foetal heart rate is 60 it can mean a miscarriage might occur but don’t forget the heart rate has to start slowly and then speed up, so at five to six weeks it will go through a phase where it’s about 60 then 80 then 100 then between 120 and 180 beats per minute,” said Dr Jessup.
Welcome to the morning sickness period.
According to Dr Jessup, usually, if women are going to get nausea from pregnancy it often kicks in at about six and a half weeks.
"For some women, it happens earlier, but the majority of women notice it begin somewhere between six and seven weeks. If people are going to have nausea, it often starts then and it will go through to 12 or 14 weeks," she says, adding that there is little you can do about it.
"You can take anti-nausea tablets, you can eat frequently, but trust me from someone who vomited through five pregnancies...I did everything and I still vomited. After five children, I spent a year of my life vomiting."
Listen: What does a doula do? (Week by week post continues after podcast)
Your blob is slowly becoming more defined and active.
"Between seven weeks and nine weeks the baby has eyelids and it's got the formation of little arms and legs," says Dr Jessup. "It's got knee joints and the respiratory system is forming. At seven weeks, it looks a little bit more like a blob so the difference in the little oval blob on an ultrasound scan to an eight-week scan is that you can begin to see little arm buds is beginning to be prominent," said Dr Jessup.
In the early stages of pregnancy, there are big differences week by week.
"At eight weeks the baby is then 1.4cm and at that stage, you're beginning to see little twitches of the baby. You can begin to see the body or the head start to move," Jessup says.
"You can begin to see there is a life beginning in there with movement."
Do you need to avoid anything?
"In this stage of pregnancy all the baby's organs are forming so I always tell people don't find yourself doing anything that seems toxic," Jessup says.
"Don't oven clean the oven, don't polyurethane the floors, don't exit mould the showers. Anything that sounds like it is toxic - don't do it in that stage."
That also includes dying your hair, avoiding spray tans, and being carefuly about where you travel.
"Why would you travel to south America in that phase? It would be nonsensical if you were at risk of Zika or whatever - just look after yourself everything is happening for the baby, get through that phase as healthily as you can."
Dr Jessup is an experienced Fertility Specialist and Gynaecologist at Demeter Fertility, who has studied and worked in Reproductive Medicine for the past decade. She provides a thorough and personalised assessment of a patient’s situation and can quickly organise and perform any procedures, tests or surgery they may need. Dr Jessup has been through IVF herself and works to create a happy, low stress, sustainable approach to fertility treatments.