Week 5

You’ve just missed a period and perhaps carried out a pregnancy test - and you’re expecting a baby! New mums (and dads) often experience a mixture of emotions, from being excited and elated one minute to worrying about the responsibility of it all the next - particularly if the pregnancy was unplanned or happened sooner than you thought it would.

Your baby

Although you can’t see anything happening, and probably feel no different from normal, the first trimester is a time of incredibly rapid development for your baby.

Despite being barely visible, and looking more like a tadpole than a baby, by this time the baby’s nervous system is already beginning to develop:

  • The ‘neural tube’ is developing - this will become your baby's spinal cord and brain
  • The heart is forming
  • The foundations of the muscles and spinal bones are soon in place


In early pregnancy your hormones start to work overtime, and this can cause extreme mood swings. You may also find that you're feeling really tired, and you might become super-sensitive to smells or ‘go off’ certain foods and drinks. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal - and it will pass. Of course, you may also feel wonderful, or not feel any different from usual - but that’s fine too, so don’t worry about it!

Have you booked a doctor's appointment?

It's best to see your midwife or doctor as early as possible to confirm your pregnancy, to get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy and find out about the antenatal care available to you. 

Some tests, such as screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia, should be done before you're 10 weeks pregnant.

If you haven't already checked to see if any medications you are taking are safe to continue with during pregnancy, it's best to do this now, too.

Don't forget! It's important to keep taking your folic acid supplement until the end of week 12

Do you or your partner smoke?

If you do, then quitting straightaway is the very best thing you can do for your baby! For help with quitting during pregnancy, visit the NHS website or call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044 (England only; Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm).

Now that you know you're pregnant, it's also best to avoid alcohol, especially in the first trimester. For more information, check the current guidelines on alcohol during pregnancy.

If you have a cat or work with animals, take extra care when handling them and avoid changing the cat litter if possible. This will help to prevent infections such as toxoplasmosis, which can be dangerous during pregnancy. It's also a good idea to wear gloves when gardening.