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Newsletter - Week 5

Welcome To Week 5

5 Week Old Fetus

Your Baby: Getting The Circulation Going

Inside the uterus, the blastocyst (the rapidly dividing fertilized egg) continues to divide and develop at great speed, growing 40 times larger during the first month. At this point, the fertilized egg, or zygote, becomes an embryo. The embryo divides into three layers where organs and tissues grow. In the top layer of cells, a groove (called the neural tube) begins to emerge. Over time, the brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves, and backbone will develop from this area. In the middle layer, the heart and the makings of the circulatory system -- blood cells, blood and lymph vessels -- are starting to form. By the end of this week, circulation will begin and the heart will develop quickly. Your embryo, now about the size of a grain of uncooked rice, will have tiny buds that will become the arms and legs.

Your Body: Pregnancy Pendulum

For many women, learning that they're pregnant is a mixed bag. Planned or unplanned, they may feel ambivalent and unsure about what lies ahead. They may wonder how it will transfigure their lives, and whether they're ready for parenthood. While many moms-to-be are excited about conceiving and entering this new stage in life, some are overcome by anxiety that something can go wrong or hurt the fetus. Having conflicted feelings about your pregnancy is perfectly normal.

You may have fears about whether the baby will be healthy and how you'll adjust to motherhood. You may be concerned about the purely practical aspects of parenthood; i.e., the added expense of raising a child. You may question what you want to do in life - go back to work or stay at home. Or, you may just float on a cloud for the next nine months as you accept all your bodily changes and anxiously await your baby's arrival.

In many ways, pregnancy anxieties are a primer for parenthood. If it’s nerve wracking waiting to hear your baby’s heartbeat at your first prenatal visit, just wait until he gets his driver’s license. Joy and worry are the fundamentals of parenthood – and pregnancy is a perfect place to start learning how to balance one with the other.

On A Different Note: Calculating Your Due Date

Figuring out your estimated due date is simple. Add 7 days to the first day of your last normal menstrual period. Then count backwards 3 months. That's it!

Here's an example - let's say your last menstrual period started on June 14. Add 7 days to June 14 and it equals June 21. Then count backwards three months and March 21 becomes your estimated due date.

If you want to double-check your due date, simply click here to calculate it using the due date calculator.

When you start prenatal care, your doctor or midwife may check an ultrasound to confirm your due date. If you’re not sure when your last period started, or if your periods are irregular, the ultrasound may change your due date by a few days.

Weekly Tip

One mother of three recommends keeping a journal of your pregnancy from the beginning. Write down what's going on physically as well as emotionally. Make a narrative of it. Sometimes letting it all out -- even on paper -- can help. And it's a great souvenir for your child later in life.

Updated: 12/9/2012

Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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