Baby Growth at 4 Weeks
It’s finally time for implantation. Your baby is moving in and congratulations to you; you’re going to be a mom! If you just found out you are pregnant, you may be shocked that you are already 4 weeks pregnant. Did you know that for doctors to maintain consistency, your pregnancy start date is actually marked by the first day of your last period?
Baby is only the size of a tiny poppy seed, just 1 mm long, and nestling into your uterus.
Your embryo made the journey from its fertilization in your fallopian tubes into your uterus and is making itself right at home. The embryo will split into two halves, one will become the baby (the trilaminar disc) and the other will become the placenta that provides blood, nutrients, and oxygen to your baby throughout your pregnancy.
The trilaminar disc will become different essential parts of your baby and has three layers: the Endoderm, Mesoderm, and Ectoderm. The Endoderm develops into your baby’s lungs and organs. The Mesoderm become their skeleton, muscles, blood vessels, and heart. The last layer, called the Ectoderm, creates the nervous system, brain, and skin.
Your placenta secretes the majority of the pregnancy hormones that support your entire pregnancy. It develops connections with your blood supply but for now, your baby is being nourished by its first blood cells from the yolk sac.
hCG (the “Pregnancy Hormone”) levels begin increasing from here due to your embryo’s implantation, but hCG isn’t the only thing rising. Your estrogen and progesterone levels begin increasing too.
You and Your Body at 4 Weeks
If you already know you’re pregnant, you found out earlier than most women do! Many women start to have a few symptoms that clue them into their pregnancy or they’ve been tracking their cycle and counting down the days until they could take their first pregnancy test.
You won’t see a bump for a while since your baby is nearly too small to see; about the size of a grain of salt. You may find yourself reaching for your yoga pants already, due to the bloating – thanks to your rising progesterone levels.
You also may notice that your breasts look a little more bodacious and full. While it may not be time to reach for maternity bras yet, you may find your undergarments fit more snug than before. This is common in association with your hormonal levels beginning to increase.
Typical Symptoms at 4 Weeks Pregnancy
Be on the lookout for your first symptoms! That’s right, pregnancy symptoms typically won’t make their appearance until week 6, but each pregnancy is unique and some women begin experiencing pregnancy symptoms earlier than others.
Some women experience mild spotting as the egg implants, this is also known as implantation bleeding or spotting and occurs around about 8-14 days after ovulation. It’s typically a small amount of discharge, lasting only for a few days and may be light pink or light brown in color.
You may experience mild cramping, indicating the baby is implanting itself in your uterus. If for any reason the cramping becomes more severe or worsens, contact your doctor right away to ensure there aren’t any complications.
Breast tenderness or fullness, bloating, and fatigue may also begin, mostly thanks to extra circulating progesterone. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms women first feel. Not only does progesterone make you sleepy, but also you’re doing the work of growing a tiny human, so of course you are tired!
Need more potty breaks than usual? Many women need to urinate more frequently, not due to the size of their uterus but because of pregnancy hormones that make the urgency more frequent. So if you find yourself sprinting to the bathroom or making an extra pit-stop on your drive home, you aren’t alone and you have your new pregnancy to thank.
If you’re one of the lucky (or not so lucky) few, pregnancy-induced nausea may begin. Nausea may begin early for some women often accompanied by smell sensitivity or food aversions. Keeping your protein intake high and consistent may lessen the effects of nausea in early pregnancy. If your nausea becomes frequent vomiting, talk to your doctor early and often to ensure you don't become dehydrated or nutritionally deficient. There are several home remedies and medications your doctor can discuss with you to improve your nausea.
You may also feel more emotional. You likely just found out you are pregnant or thinking about when you can take your first pregnancy test. These emotional peaks and valleys are a combination of emotions associated with this exciting – yet anxious – time, along with increasing hormone levels.
This Pregnancy Week 4 Tips and Advice
You may be feeling a mixture of emotions: happy, excited, scared, or worried.
Before you call your family and friends to tell them the news, it’s recommended to first call your obstetrician’s office and schedule your first visit. Your doctor will want to meet with you for the first time between weeks 8-10 of your pregnancy.
Feeling the need to combat nausea? Vitamin B6 and ginger root have both been studied as a first-line solution for pregnancy nausea. 25 mg of vitamin B6 and 150 mg ginger, two to four times a day may reduce episodes of nausea and vomiting. You should talk to your doctor before beginning any new supplement or medication to ensure it’s the right fit for you and your baby.
If you aren’t taking a prenatal multivitamin already, it is time to start one! Early pregnancy has a high demand for nutrients; there is a lot of small-but-mighty construction going on inside your uterus and you’ll want to equip your body the best you can for the intricate growth process happening right now.
A prenatal vitamin should at least include 400 mg of folic acid (B9) or methylated folate. Your prenatal gets bonus points if it also contains lutein to support baby’s retinal and neural development or methylated b-vitamins that are more readily used by your body.
Research also shows that adding at least 200 mg of DHA helps optimize pregnancy and fetal outcomes. In fact, more may be more when it comes to DHA! Doctors found 600 mg of DHA not only benefits a baby’s neurodevelopment, but also improves a mother’s mood during pregnancy. This can easily be found in a quality fish oil product. Always look for quality, third-party tested fish oils. You may even find one with a bonus dose of Vitamin D to support your immune system during your pregnancy.
You’re entering an exciting time. Celebrate, call your OB/GYN to schedule your first visit, jump on a Prenatal if you haven’t already, and get some rest as your body embarks on its pregnancy journey.