Stages Of Pregnancy
All About Early Signs Of Pregnancy and Other Pregnancy Related Information
Pregnancy Week By Week Birth Defects and Disorders Labor & Birth After Pregnancy Birth Control

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Week 5 - Gestational Age (Fetal age 3 weeks)

Development
The gestational sac is often the first thing that most transvaginal ultrasounds can detect at about 5 weeks. This is seen before a recognizable embryo can be seen. Within this week, at about week 5 ½ to the beginning of the 6th week, a yolk sac can be seen inside the gestational sac. The yolk sac will be the earliest source of nutrients for the developing fetus.

Hormones
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels can have quite a bit of variance at this point. Anything from 18 - 7,340 mIU/ml is considered normal at 5 weeks. Once the levels have reached at least 2000, some type of development is expected to be seen in the uterus using high resolution vaginal ultrasound. If using a transabdominal ultrasound, some type of development should be seen when the hCG level has reached 3600 mIU/ml. Although development may be seen earlier, these levels provide a guide of when something is expected to be seen.

Progesterone levels also can have quite a variance at this stage of pregnancy. They can range from 9-47ng/ml in the first trimester, with an average of 12-20ng/ml in the first 5-6 weeks of pregnancy.

With both hCG levels and progesterone levels, it is not the single value that can predict a healthy pregnancy outcome. It is more important to evaluate two different values to see if the numbers are increasing. Levels of hCG should be increasing by at least 60 % every 2-3 days, but ideally doubling every 48-72 hours. Progesterone levels rise much differently than hCG levels, with an average of 1-3ng/ml every couple days until they reach their peak for that trimester. In situations when there is a concern of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, hCG levels will often start out normal, but will not show a significant increase or will stop rising all together, and progesterone levels will be low from the beginning.

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