Congratulations! You have officially completed the first month of your 40-week pregnancy. There are only 36 weeks to go. The next few months may not only be challenging but also at times feel daunting.
But right now you should just focus on knowing that your tiny baby is inside you and celebrating that with your partner.
Most women don’t find out that they are in week 4 of their pregnancy. After fertilization in week 2 or week 3, the little one that you have just created is going to implant itself in the uterus along the uterine lining.
Just after implantation, there will be a surge in the pregnancy hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG).
Around the end of week 4, your body will have enough levels of HCG which will enable home pregnancy test kits to detect your pregnancy.
On the first day of your missed period, the home pregnancy test will show you the two lines that indicate the arrival of your baby in your womb.
4th Week of Pregnancy: Baby Size, Symptoms, Foods & Self Care Tips
Your baby of just over a week will hereby continue to grow and develop in your uterus over the rest of your pregnancy.
Common symptoms in week 4
In this stage of pregnancy, most women don’t notice any changes in the body. Most of the week 4 pregnancy symptoms are similar to the symptoms of PMS. However, the HCG hormone can lead to some typical pregnancy symptoms.
As HCG levels surge very quickly, the symptoms will also begin very soon even if you haven’t experienced any of them yet. You can expect some of the following symptoms at week 4:
You may feel a little bloated due to the secretion of the pregnancy hormone, progesterone.
- Cramping –
Cramping at week 4 is a good sign which indicates that your baby has correctly implanted itself into your uterus lining.
Consult your doctor right away if you experience extreme pain or severe cramping in this stage. Your doctor will examine you and check for any complications.
This can happen due to implantation. In most cases, light bleeding is very normal. If it is like a period or if it continues for more than a few days, consult your doctor right away.
- Mood swings–
This week is when your mood will start fluctuating because of the cocktail of hormones. Stress and excitement of your new baby is also a contributing factor.
Mood swings are most adverse for the first 12 weeks. After week 12, the hormones start to balance out a little bit.
- Morning sickness or nausea-
Morning sickness in the form of nausea and vomiting is very common and over 50% of pregnant women experience this.
- Breast tenderness-
This is a sign of increasing hormones and your body preparing itself for the baby.
Home remedies to relieve some of the early pregnancy symptoms
Listed below are a few prominent home remedies that should be tried.
- You can use a supportive bra during the day and also while sleeping to provide support to your sore breasts.
- If you are getting too exhausted, try taking a nap during the afternoon. Following a light exercise routine can also help.
- If you find yourself going to the bathroom very often, you can reduce your liquid consumption but only by a little.
- If you are experiencing nausea, try to avoid the foods which tend to trigger the morning sickness and eat small servings at a time. You may also try snacks with carbohydrates.
The journey of your baby till week 4
By week 4, after being released from the ovary, the dominant egg has traveled down the fallopian tube and has been fertilized by the sperm.
After fertilization, the structure of the egg changes, and no further sperm can penetrate the egg.
The fertilized egg (also known as a zygote) will start to divide and will move to the uterus within a few days. By the time it moves to the uterus, your baby will become a tiny ball consisting of more than hundreds of cells.
If you conceive twins, instead of one, two zygotes will develop. The type of identical twins will be determined based on the day on which the fetal egg gets divided.
Size of your baby
At week 4, your baby is even smaller than the size of a poppy seed. Your baby at this stage is known as Blastocyst. This week, your baby is busy getting cozy in your uterus. Your baby already has formed 2 layers of cells.
These layers will in the later weeks develop to form your baby’s organs. The next few months will be very crucial for the development of your baby.
At the end of week 4, your baby will be around 2mm in length. Even though your baby is tiny at this stage, the chromosomes have already predetermined the characteristics of your baby such as sex, hair color, and much more.
Fetal development at week 4
In this stage, the embryo will start to develop inside the lining of your uterus. The outer cells of the embryo will develop links with the blood supply of the mother. The inner cells will, in turn, develop into 3 separate layers:
- The innermost layer will form the gastrointestinal system.
- The heart, bones, and blood vessels will develop from the middle layer of cells.
- The outermost layer will form the brain, skin, and nervous system.
Before a placenta develops, your body will form a small yolk sac. From this sac, your baby will draw nourishment until the placenta develops.
During this phase, your baby will start to develop a face. The face will include a mouth, a throat, and dark circles which will later develop into eyes.
Soon blood circulation will begin after the development of blood cells.
Most women don’t look pregnant by the end of week 4. Only around week 12, does most pregnant belly start showing.
However, if this is your first-time pregnancy, you may start to show a little bit earlier due to the stretching of your uterus muscles.
4 weeks ultrasound
It is still a bit early to get an ultrasound scan. Generally, the first ultrasound scan will take place between week 8 and week 14.
Then in most of the normal cases, another scan will take place around week 18 to 21.
You can continue your normal sex life throughout your pregnancy as long as your doctor doesn’t advise you otherwise.
Lifestyle at 4 weeks pregnant
Week 4 is high time for you to start following a healthy lifestyle which will provide the best nutrition for not only you but also your baby, until the completion of your pregnancy. You must strive to follow a diet that includes a wide range of foods covering all different food groups. You should eat fresh and your diet must include a large number of fruits and vegetables.
You must hydrate yourself well with 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. Don’t overburden yourself to “eat for two”. Doctors advise eating just around 300 additional calories each day and that is considered to be sufficient for the development of a baby.
Don’t worry about your lost appetite, due to nausea or morning sickness, in the initial weeks of pregnancy. If you had followed a proper diet in the earlier weeks, the development of your baby will not be hindered and your baby will continue to get sufficient nutrition.
Chances of miscarriage
It is extremely heartbreaking to think of miscarriages. If you are experiencing cramps or light spotting in week 4 then it does not mean that you are experiencing symptoms of a miscarriage. However, if you feel that anything is troubling you then you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. Don’t ignore your maternal intuition.
Reminders for week 4
Schedule for a prenatal appointment with your doctor, if you haven’t done that yet. Your doctor will provide you with guidance and proper advice on how to care for yourself and your baby. Don’t try any self-medication in the early stages of pregnancy.
If you take medications for any pre-existing physical or mental health conditions, you should disclose that to your doctor and discuss how to safely stop or switch to other pregnancy safe alternatives.
Week 4 is high time for you to quit alcohol smoking or any other drugs. You should also start eating healthy and avoid junk food. Vitamin D and Folic acid supplements need to be consumed at this point. Prenatal vitamins are extremely crucial for the development of your baby.