Welcome to week 5 of your pregnancy!

This is the time of the first missed period, when most women are only just beginning to think they may be pregnant. 

Wow - your baby's nervous system is already developing, and the foundations for its major organs are in place! At this stage, the embryo is around 2mm long, about the size of a sesame seed! 

The heart is forming as a simple tube-like structure. Amazingly, your baby already has some of its own blood vessels and blood begins to circulate.

A string of these blood vessels connects you to your baby and will become the umbilical cord.

At the same time, the embryo's outer layer of cells develops a groove and folds to form a hollow tube called the neural tube. This will become your baby's brain and spinal cord.

Defects in one end (the "tail end") of the neural tube lead to spina bifida. Defects in the "head end" lead to anencephaly, when the bones of the skull do not form properly.

Folic acid can prevent spina bifida. You should start taking it as soon as you find out you're pregnant (even before you get pregnant, if possible).

Antenatal care (also called pregnancy or maternity care) is the care you get from midwives and doctors during your pregnancy to make sure you and your baby are as well as possible. Contact your GP surgery or your preferred maternity service promptly once you know you're pregnant, so you start getting care at the right time. They'll arrange your first midwife appointment.

Starting your maternity care early in pregnancy is important if you have a health condition that may affect your pregnancy, such as heart or lung conditions, epilepsy, mental health problems, diabetes or asthma.

Your doctor or midwife will be able to advise you if you're taking medicines for your condition while you're pregnant, and provide the specialist care you and your baby need.

Don't stop taking any prescribed medicine without checking with your doctor or midwife first.



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