5 weeks pregnant: baby's development, cravings and your diet

It’s week five and your baby’s tiny face is already starting to form - the beginnings of a tiny nose and eyes are already taking shape.

Your baby’s development this week

All the building blocks for your baby’s vital organs are in place. Their heart is beginning to form and circulate blood. A digestive system is in place too, although it will be a few months before it starts working.

Right now, the embryo's outer layer of cells is forming a hollow tube called the neural tube. This will become your baby's brain and spinal cord. You can help your unborn baby's brain, skull and spinal cord develop properly by taking folic acid from as soon as you find out you're pregnant until you’re 12 weeks.

Find out more about folic acid.

Get weekly updates on your baby's development from our expert midwives straight to your inbox.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 5

Pickles and ice cream – all about cravings 

Have you been having cravings? A lot of people develop cravings in pregnancy, but not everyone has them. Read about the 10 most-common pregnancy complaints.

You may also find that you lose interest in some food or drinks you used to enjoy or that you have a more sensitive sense of smell than usual.

What to do in week 5 

Choosing the best nutrition for you and your baby

You might find it hard to believe you are actually pregnant when you haven’t seen a midwife yet, but it’s time to start looking after yourself and your baby. This week we’re looking at food and eating well in pregnancy.

You will probably find that you are hungrier than usual, but you do not need to "eat for 2" – even if you are expecting twins or triplets.

In fact, you won’t need any extra calories until your final trimester. And even at that point, you’ll only need an extra 200 calories a day. If you have morning sickness, eating small meals often may help.

Find out more about how much you should eat during pregnancy.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet in pregnancy will give you more energy and ensure your baby gets all the nutrients they need. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.

“I used to eat a lot of junk food, but when I was pregnant I took healthy snacks to work instead – fruit, yoghurts and almonds – and I drank a lot of water.” 

Find out more about managing your weight in pregnancy.

There are some vital supplements in pregnancy. Make sure you take a folic acid supplement to help your baby’s neural tube develop, and vitamin D.

What foods can’t I have during pregnancy?

Trying to remember all the dos and don’ts in pregnancy – like which foods to avoid – isn’t always easy. But try not to worry if you have eaten something that is on the list. Talk to your midwife if you have any concerns.

It’s a good idea to share what foods to avoid with anyone you live with if they prepare food for you.

Read our tips to avoid food poisoning.

What if I’m vegetarian or vegan?

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you need to make sure you get enough iron and vitamin B12, which are mainly found in meat and fish, and vitamin D.

Learn more about planning your vegetarian or vegan diet to make sure your developing baby gets enough nutrients.

Cutting down on caffeine

High levels of caffeine have been linked to pregnancy complications. The current NHS guidelines recommend that you should have less than 200mg a day (2 mugs of instant coffee). But recent research suggests that it may be a good idea to try and reduce your intake as much as possible. You could try switching to caffeine-free options such as decaf tea or coffee.

Find out more and use our handy caffeine calculator to see how much caffeine is in your diet.

1. Regan, Lesley (2019) Your pregnancy week by week: what to expect from conception to birth. Penguin Random House, London

2. NHS. You and your baby at 5 weeks pregnant. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/week-by-week/1-to-12/5-weeks/ (Page last reviewed: 12 October 2021 Next review due: 12 October 2024)

3. NHS. Signs and symptoms of pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/trying-for-a-baby/signs-and-symptoms-of-pregnancy/ (Page last reviewed: 8 October 2019 Next review due: 8 October 2022)

4. NHS. Have a healthy diet in pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/have-a-healthy-diet/ (Page last reviewed: 14 February 2020 Next review due: 14 February 2023)

5. NICE (2010). Weight management before, during and after pregnancy. National Institute for health and care excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph27

6. NHS. Vegetarian or vegan and pregnant. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/vegetarian-or-vegan-and-pregnant/ (Page last reviewed: 8 August 2018. Next review due: 8 August 2021)

7. Clinical Knowledge Summaries (June 2021) Antenatal care - uncomplicated pregnancy. https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/antenatal-care-uncomplicated-pregnancy/management/antenatal-care-uncomplicated-pregnancy/

Review dates
Reviewed: 11 July 2022
Next review: 11 July 2025