Congratulations, you are 4 weeks pregnant! You have to know your cycle very well to have figured that out at this point. A commercially available pregnancy test should now show a positive result thanks to the release of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG for short).
4th week of pregnancy: Your baby’s development
Whether you’re over the moon about becoming a mom or still have doubts, it’s definitely time to do something good for yourself. Although you may have only just found out that you are pregnant, your new life is already developing at breakneck speed. But what exactly happens in the 4th week of pregnancy? About two weeks after your last period, the ovary released an egg into your fallopian tube, that was fertilized here.
While dividing several times along the way (it now consists of more than 100 cells), the fertilized egg migrated towards the uterus. At this point one already speaks of an embryo. In the current 4th week of pregnancy, the embryo has implanted itself in your uterine lining.
The cell layers will develop into different parts of the growing embryo: the nervous system, the skeleton, the muscles, the organs, and the skin. The placenta begins to form. It is a flat organ interwoven with maternal and fetal blood vessels. It connects your systemic circulation with that of your child. The placenta grows together with the lining of the uterus, in which the fertilized egg is now also located in the 4th week of pregnancy.
How big is your baby at 4 weeks pregnant?
The freshly implanted embryo is still tiny in the 4th week of pregnancy – just the size of a poppy seed. In numbers, that means an average size of 1-2 millimeters.
Your body in the 4th week of pregnancy
In the 4th week of pregnancy you might even notice the first signs of pregnancy. Some women feel a tugging in their abdomen or notice slight traces of blood in their panties. But that’s not all: here is a list of pregnancy symptoms that can occur from the 4th week.
4th week of pregnancy: your symptoms
Many of the signs of early pregnancy are similar to the harbingers of your menstrual period. If you miss your period or you suspect you are pregnant, take a pregnancy test to be on the safe side.
- urinary urgency . Thanks to the hormone surge, you may feel a stronger urge to urinate than usual. The hormone progesterone helps the muscles in the uterus to relax, allowing them to expand and accommodate your baby over the next nine months of your pregnancy. The muscles of the bladder are also affected.
- spotting . It is not uncommon for light spotting, known as implantation bleeding, to occur during the 4th week of pregnancy . If you start to bleed more heavily in the next few days or if the bleeding lasts more than two days, it’s probably just your normal period. However, if there is already a positive pregnancy test in this case or you are becoming increasingly worried, consult your gynaecologist.
- mood swings . The pregnancy hormones really mess up your emotional world. This is a good time to try some countermeasures. Relaxation exercises, massage, good sleep and the right diet are just some of the very efficient ways to deal with the problem. More details on mood swings can be found here .
- Exciting breasts . The hormonal changes cause your breasts to adjust to milk production. The growth of the mammary glands is stimulated and the color and shape of the nipples can also change.
- morning sickness . In the 4th week of pregnancy you can, but do not have to, suffer from morning sickness. This symptom differs from woman to woman and does not necessarily only appear in the morning. While some women experience only mild discomfort, some vomit on a daily basis. However, if you are affected, you are in good company: morning sickness affects seven out of ten women. The good news, however, is that these symptoms usually subside in the second trimester of your pregnancy.
- Clear discharge . In your 4th week of pregnancy, an odorless discharge is a completely normal symptom. The color varies between clear and milky.
- tiredness . Don’t be surprised if you feel very tired during the day right now, and expect more such days in the future. Your body first has to get used to creating a completely new life. Of course, this has an impact on your energy balance. However, iron deficiency during pregnancy can also be a reason for exhaustion. More than 20 percent of women in Europe suffer from iron deficiency. If necessary, talk to your gynecologist about taking additional iron to prevent deficiency symptoms.
4th week of pregnancy: You should pay attention to this
- If you haven’t already, now is the time to start eating healthy .
- Give up cigarettes and replace alcohol with water and healthy drinks.
- Avoid passive smoking. According to the latest findings, secondhand smoke increases the risk of low birth weight, miscarriage or pregnancy outside the womb (eg an ectopic pregnancy).
- Try to relax and avoid stress .
- Keep exercising if your doctor agrees. As long as there are no complications, most women can continue to exercise during their pregnancy . If you’re not the athletic type, consult your doctor about whether you can integrate light activities such as swimming, walking or stretching into your everyday life. Giving birth can be hard work and the fitter you are, the better prepared you will be.
- In addition to a healthy diet, you can of course also take additional pregnancy vitamins. Recommended are preparations with at least 400 milligrams of folic acid – an important nutrient that has been shown to reduce the risk of some malformations (such as neural tube defects). Folic acid is also available individually, i.e. not in combination with other vitamins.
- Many a woman might wonder if flying in the first 4 weeks of pregnancy is dangerous for your delicate life. Radiation exposure is significantly higher on long flights, but there is no evidence that it is harmful to an embryo. If you fly a lot for work-related reasons, it is best to seek advice from your doctor. You should also take some special precautions when flying during pregnancy .
4th week of pregnancy: Questions to ask your doctor
- Make an appointment with your gynecologist. If everything feels normal so far, your first appointment is likely to be around week 8 .
- In case of heavy bleeding or pain, consult your doctor immediately.
4th week of pregnancy: Your checklist
- Make an appointment with your gynecologist if you want them to confirm your pregnancy again. In the 4th week of pregnancy you will probably not be able to see much in the ultrasound. But maybe you will still get a first ultrasound image?
- Announce your pregnancy to your loved ones. However, it is recommended to only make it public towards the end of the 12th week of pregnancy, since from this point onwards a pregnancy is considered stable.
- Eat a healthy diet and take additional vitamins if necessary.
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