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4 WEEKS PREGNANT
If you know you’re 4 weeks pregnant, you found out the news earlier than a lot of women do (because you took a test as soon as you missed your period, or even a few days before, instead of waiting a bit)—and you might be totally excited, or you might be getting used to the idea of having a baby.
Either way, you may not be feeling any different (for now, at least), since early pregnancy symptoms don’t always kick in right away.
Definitely celebrate this amazing news with your partner, but you may not want to tell the whole world… just yet.
Your first call at week 4 of pregnancy should be to your doctor to schedule your first prenatal visit, where he or she will confirm your pregnancy with a urine or blood test.
How Big Is Baby at 4 Weeks Pregnant?
At 4 weeks pregnant, baby is smaller than a poppy seed—practically microscopic.
Baby is now known as a blastocyst, a teeny ball of cells, and is busy settling into his or her new home (your uterus), prepping for all the crucial development that will happen over the next six weeks.
4 WEEKS PREGNANT SYMPTOMS
The same pregnancy hormones that gave you that positive pregnancy test can also cause some of the more typical 4-week pregnancy symptoms.
These hormone levels
increase pretty quickly, so while it’s normal to be 4 weeks pregnant with no symptoms, brace yourself: nausea and vomiting may be in your near future.
Here’s a bit of what to expect at 4 weeks pregnant:
Bloating. You may be a little puffed up thanks to the pregnancy hormone progesterone.
Break out the comfy pants!
Mild cramping. At 4 weeks pregnant cramping might worry you, but it actually may be a sign that baby has properly implanted in the wall of your uterus.
However, any severe cramping or pain at 4 weeks pregnant is something you should definitely tell your doctor about right away.
He or she will want to examine you to rule out any problems.
Light bleeding can also occur during week 4 as a result of implantation.
Don’t worry—this is totally normal too.
But the same advice goes: If it’s a lot of blood, like a period or heavier, lasts for more than a couple days, or if you’re concerned in any way, see the doc.
Mood swings. It’s not your imagination. Your mood is going haywire mostly because of your fluctuating hormones.
(But maybe also because of stress and because your mind is racing.)
Pregnancy mood swings are most drastic during the first 12 weeks.
After that, the hormones will level out a bit, making you less likely to cry at every life insurance commercial you see.
Experts say that about 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women get some form of morning sickness (a.k.a. nausea and sometimes vomiting too).
So even if you haven’t had an upset stomach yet, you probably will at some point.
Morning sickness is usually at its worst around nine weeks and then slowly gets better, typically disappearing completely in the second trimester.
One of the most common four weeks pregnant symptoms is total exhaustion, as your body is working hard to grow that teeny ball of cells into an embryo.
Yowch! Your boobs are swollen and tender because of those surging hormones telling your body, “There’s a baby coming.
Better start prepping those milk ducts!”
4 WEEKS PREGNANT BELLY
A 4 weeks pregnant belly might be a little bloated, but you almost certainly don’t look pregnant yet.
Still, you need to start acting like a mom-to-be.
And that means giving TLC to yourself and your tiny baby-to-be.
Baby is already undergoing important development at week 4 of pregnancy, so start taking a prenatal vitamin if you’re not already.
Look for one with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and remember to take it daily.
We know you’ve got a lot on your mind, but since folic acid is proven to help prevent birth defects, this is super important!
As your skinny jeans get more difficult to button, don’t shy away from looser clothing styles.
Think stretchy pants, leggings, drapey shirts, and waterfall cardigans.
There are a ton of loose-fitting clothing options that will help you look stylish and stay comfy.
4 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
During week 4 of pregnancy, the ball of cells is splitting into the embryo (your future child) and placenta.
Baby’s neural tube, the building block of the spine, brain, and backbone, is already formed.
The amniotic sac and fluid are forming into protective cushioning for your baby.
And on a 4 weeks pregnant ultrasound, all of that just looks like a tiny dot, called the gestational sac.
Chances are, though, you won’t have an ultrasound at 4 weeks.
When you call the OB to tell him or her that you’re 4 weeks pregnant, they might tell you congrats and then have you make your first prenatal appointment for about a month from now.
We know it seems like an eternity to wait. But if you have a clean bill of health and no risk of pregnancy complications, there simply isn’t a need to be seen by a doc just yet.
There will be much more for the OB to see (including a heartbeat!) around week eight or nine.
In the meantime, eat well, drink lots of water, avoid unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking, and try to relax. Just try.
Your Baby at Week 4
Placenta and Embryo Begin Forming
While you may have just started to wonder whether you’re pregnant, your soon-to-be baby has already found its home:
The blastocyst has completed its journey from your fallopian tube to your uterus.
Once there, it burrows into your uterine lining and implants — making that unbreakable connection to you that’ll last the next eight months (and a lifetime after that).
As soon as that little ball of cells is settled in your uterus, it will undergo the great divide, splitting into two groups.
Half of what’s now called the embryo will become your son or daughter, while the other half forms the placenta, your baby’s lifeline — which channels nutrients and carries waste away until delivery.
4 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
If you’re 4 weeks pregnant, you’re in month 1 of your pregnancy.
Only 8 months to go! Still have questions?
Here’s some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
Development of the Embryo and Amniotic Sac
Despite its extremely tiny size — no longer than one millimeter and no bigger than a poppy seed (think about that as you eat your morning bagel) — your little embryo is busy setting up house.
While the amniotic sac (also called the bag of waters) forms around it, so does the yolk sac, which will later be incorporated into your baby’s developing digestive tract.
The embryo now has three distinct layers of cells that will grow into specialized parts of your baby’s body.
The inner layer, known as the endoderm, will develop into your baby’s digestive system, liver and lungs.
The middle layer, called the mesoderm, will soon be your baby’s heart, sex organs, bones, kidneys and muscles.
And the outer layer, or ectoderm, will eventually form your baby’s nervous system, hair, skin and eyes.
Your Body at Week 4
The Egg Implants
Just a week after fertilization, baby-making is still in its infancy, so to speak.
At 4 weeks pregnant, your body’s busily gearing up, big-time — transforming from a tried-and-true buddy to a weird and wacky science experiment.
Chances are you’re oblivious to all the hubbub.
While some women experience those pesky, PMS-like early pregnancy symptoms about now (mood swings, bloating, cramping — the usual suspects), others don’t feel a thing.
Whatever you’re feeling or not feeling, it’s likely still too early to see a reliable result on your pregnancy test.
But behind the scenes, here’s what’s going on.
The fertilized egg and your uterus are making contact this week, as the blastocyst you’ll one day call your baby begins to attach itself to the uterine lining.
About 30 percent of the time, implantation bleeding will occur as that bundle of cells burrows its way into the uterine wall.
Implantation bleeding, which is usually very scant and either light pink, light red or light brown, occurs earlier than your expected period.
Don’t mistake it for your period and don’t worry about the bleeding — it’s not a sign that something is wrong.
You might feel a little pressure in your abdomen (nothing to worry about!)
and your breasts may feel a little tender and become even bigger (but get ready for more growth spurts!).
Within six to 12 days after fertilization, the egg starts to release hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin — the pregnancy hormone that will very soon turn that line on your pregnancy test pink or blue and your world upside down.
HCG alerts the corpus luteum (the once-follicle this egg was released from) that it needs to stick around and produce progesterone and estrogen to nourish the pregnancy until the placenta takes over about six weeks from now.
Figuring Out Your Due Date
Think you need a Ph.D. in quantum physics to figure out your due date?
Doing the math is actually a lot easier than you think (even if you slept through high school algebra).
Your estimated due date is 40 weeks from the first day of your last period.
Too easy? Here’s the slightly confusing part.
If you do give birth on that day, your baby will have clocked in only 38 weeks in utero, not 40.
That’s because pregnancy counting begins two weeks before your baby is even conceived (making you about 4 weeks pregnant before you can tell you’re expecting from a pregnancy test).
Want to set your watch to that due date or at least plan your maternity leave around it? Not so fast.
Remember, your estimated due date is just that — an estimate.
Most babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks (and babies of first-time moms may be more likely to arrive on the later side), while only a handful actually make their debut right on schedule.
Diagnosing mood disorders in pregnant women can be difficult because pregnancy causes so many similar symptoms, like fatigue, changes in appetite, and trouble sleeping.
However, research shows that up to 33% of women experience clinical depression or an anxiety disorder during pregnancy, with only 20% seeking treatment.
If you ignore these symptoms and don’t seek treatment, you are putting yourself and your baby at risk.
Seek out a therapist who will help you using one of these treatment options:
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, where a skilled therapist will teach you new ways to manage your thoughts and emotions.
Adding more omega-3 essential fatty acids to your diet.
These nutrients are found in foods like oily fish and nuts, and they can act as a natural mood-booster.
Light therapy, where patients are exposed to artificial sunlight at specific times of the day to help relieve depression symptoms
Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice that involves placing tiny needles into areas of the body to influence your mood.