In week 5, you might do a pregnancy test that shows what you already suspect – that you are really pregnant. In that case, the small embryo has become a few millimeters long.
Most pregnancy tests work in the same way and give a positive result if the level of a hormone – hCG – exceeds a certain value. Such tests are available at pharmacies, shops, kiosks and on the Internet. Or you can submit a morning urine sample to the nearest midwife (where the test is free in some county councils).
The small embryo in week 5 is about two millimeters long, big as a pin-needle head, but this little dot still contains precursors to both skeleton, heart and brain.
Read more about the child’s gender and eye color.
This week, the spinal cord that has hitherto been completely exposed is closed.
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A fertilized egg
Getting pregnant, fertilized, is the prerequisite for a new individual to be created. This occurs when sperm and eggs meet.
When the egg is released from the ovary, it is captured by the fallopian tube. There, the egg lies in the outer, wide part of the fallopian tube.
The egg is surrounded by a sticky and tough shell of nutrient cells and in this cell mass you can discern the egg cell.
Maybe there is already sperm in the fallopian tube or they will come later. But it should not last too long as the egg is only fertilized for a day.
The sperm can live for several days, sometimes up to a week. If no sperm meets the egg, it is destroyed and wanders through the fallopian tubes and uterus into the vagina and the woman gets her period two weeks later.
500 million sperm
At the gathering, about 500 million sperm are thrown towards the cervical opening in the upper part of the vagina. The sperm swimming up from the vagina to the fallopian tube, about 15-18 centimeters, generally takes a few hours.
There are fast-swimming sperm which, if the conditions are favorable, can reach the fallopian tube in half an hour. Other sperm take a long time, their swimming can take several days. Maybe there is no egg in the fallopian tube yet. The sperm can then swim back and forth in the wide part of the fallopian tube and wait, sometimes for several days.
The prolonged survival time of the sperm means that intercourse four days before ovulation can lead to fertilization. However, the chance of becoming pregnant is greatest if the intercourse coincides with ovulation. The mucus of the cervix and uterus is then so fluid that the sperm can easily swim up to the egg.
The winner reaches the egg first
A couple of hundred sperm reach the egg. The rest has gone down the road. Together they attack the shell of the egg.
Often, there are about ten sperm on the way through the shell when suddenly a single – the winner – comes through completely and penetrates the egg’s internal cell plasma. The egg is fertilized. Within minutes the chemical composition of the eggshell changes so that other sperm are closed out.
It is the sperm that determines whether it will be a girl or a boy.
Other hereditary properties that are stored in both eggs and sperm are body length, skin and hair color, eye color, special facial features etc.
The head of the winning sperm is now gathered in a small core in the egg. The egg’s genetic mass has also been concentrated to a correspondingly small core. First, the cores are far apart and then slowly approach each other – and merge.
A few hours after the nuclei have fused, the egg divides for the first time. The egg now has two cells, each of them with inheritance from both man and woman.
The path of the egg to the uterus
The egg remains in the fallopian tube for about three days after fertilization and continues to divide at 12 to 15 hour intervals. The little egg is now slowly moving towards the uterus, waved by millions of twitching hairs in the fallopian tubes.
Once inside the uterus, one of the most critical phases, including the migration of the egg through the narrow fallopian tube, has been passed. Now the fertilized egg should choose a place for adhesion in the uterus and signal its presence to the mother.
In order for the egg to become stuck to the uterine wall, the egg shell must be removed. The egg expands just before the hatching itself as the shell breaks. The mucous membrane of the uterus has been prepared by hormones from the ovary to receive the fertilized egg. It has now been about eight days.
The egg has been in contact with the uterine mucosa and is now beginning an intensive chemical exchange of information between the blastocyst, ie the early fetus, and the mother. The hormones that form in the blastocyst come out in the mother’s blood circulation. These can be tracked with a blood sample.