Side view of a five-week-old human embryo seen within its amniotic sac. The umbilical cord which attaches it to its mother is visible. The retina of the eye (dark spot) has a lens and the cornea has formed in front of it. Ear swellings are present and the hands and feet have fingers and toes. The embryo at this age is about 10 millimetres in length.

Week 5

Mum

It’s now time to find a midwife or a doctor. They will become your LMC (lead maternity carer) throughout your pregnancy. In New Zealand, we have several options when it comes to choosing the person who will lead us through the pregnancy. An LMC can be a midwife (community or hospital-based), general practitioner, obstetrician or hospital maternity service. There are no right or wrong choices, as long as you comfortable with the person who is going to oversee your pregnancy and the birth of your baby. You can also change your LMC at any stage.

If you choose a midwife, she will look after you in pregnancy, in labour, and up to six weeks after delivery, offering you continuity of service. If your LMC is a GP or obstetrician, a midwife will be assigned to you when you arrive at the hospital to give birth. If you’re considering a home birth or water birth, a midwife may be better suited to your needs than a specialist or a GP.

During your first pregnancy check-up visit, your LMC will give you a form for blood and urine tests. Your urine is tested for bacterial or fungal infection. Your blood can be tested for blood group, white blood cell count, the levels of iron, folates and B12, and some viral diseases like Hepatitis B, German measles and STDs.

Dad

Even the keenest dads-to-be may find it problematic to get excited in the first few months of pregnancy. Without a bump showing or the baby kicking, the concept of a few fused cells may seem a bit unreal. There’s also the very real fear of losing the baby. Unfortunately, the statistics are not on your side. Approximately one in four of diagnosed pregnancies in New Zealand end in miscarriage. Scientific studies confirm that most women suffer grief or bereavement after a miscarriage, so should the unthinkable happen, be on the lookout for signs of depression or anxiety in both yourself and your partner, and don’t hesitate to seek help. Hopefully, though, the worst you’ll need to deal with is the feeling of pleasant shock: “I’m going to be a father! How did that happen?”

Baby

Your tiny heart begins to beat at the end of week five. It beats very fast, twice as fast as that of Mum’s or Dad’s. Also, you’ve grown! You are now the size of a sesame seed.

Photos in the bumpandbaby.co.nz/week-by-week/ are by Lenart Nilsson. Lenart's series was bought to fame when his photo, considered the greatest photo of the 20th century, appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1965. “Everyone interprets images differently, depending on their social, cultural and religious background. In the digital era, I believe it is more important than ever to go back and take a look inside ourselves. What better way of doing that than with these photos?” ~ Jane Stene, art gallery director and curator of Lenart's definitive black and white series, told the The Guardian in 2019. It is Lenart Nilsson's wish that his images are never used for political debate about pro-life.

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