40 Wonderful Weeks: 4 Weeks Pregnant
Nausea, mood swings, aches, pains, and mild cramps? If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, there is a chance that you are going to be a mom soon! Congratulations!
Besides being one of the most anticipated times in a woman’s life, pregnancy can have many unpleasant side effects.
Every woman experiences changes throughout the pregnancy journey, not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. The changes may vary from woman to woman because everybody is different, and so are our bodies.
The first trimester is said to be the most difficult, mainly because your body is getting used to the changes. While the symptoms may be mild in the first few weeks, you will notice some changes in your body and behavior.
At four weeks, you may have just taken your pregnancy test because you missed your period, and you have not yet gotten used to the fact that you are going to be a mom soon. The excitement is there, and you can’t wait for the journey to end so that you can hold your baby.
Most probably, you have not thought about the back pains tiredness you are going to experience before that happens. Since this is one of the most life-changing journeys you will undertake, you must understand all the changes you will face and what lies ahead.
This article focuses on what happens when you are 4 weeks pregnant, the bay development, and the symptoms you may encounter.
What Is Happening: To Your Body And The Baby!
All women want to know exactly what is happening to them and their little ones as every day goes by. If you are the kind of person who marks calendars, mark off one more week! Thirty-six more to go. That means you are one month pregnant!
At four weeks, conception has already taken place, and your baby is now called an embryo. You may not be able to tell the difference in your belly, but the baby is there. At this time, the embryo is implanting itself to your uterus, which will be its home for the next 36 weeks.
Implantation is the process through which the embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall or endometrium (think of it as burrowing into the uterine wall). This may happen between 6 and 10 days after ovulation.
Before implantation, the embryo travels from the fallopian tube as a blastocyst. Successful implantation is dependent on the proper binding of the blastocyst with the endometrium. Once implantation has taken place, the pregnancy hormone hCG increases in the body.
The hCG hormone is what is detected by the pregnancy test. That means that when you take a home pregnancy kit, the two lines will both be dark enough, unlike during the other weeks when they would have been faint.
When you are 4 weeks pregnant, the embryo is usually the same size as a poppy seed and has two layers of cells (the hypoblast and epiblast). The inside of the fertilized egg contains all the cells that your baby will need to grow and fully develop within the next 36 weeks.
The outer layer of cells develops to form the placenta, which is what links you and the baby and acts as a blood supply for the baby. The inner layer of cells develops to form 3 more layers;
- The innermost layer (endoderm) becomes the stomach, liver, lungs, bladder, and gastrointestinal system.
- The middle layer (mesoderm) becomes the blood vessels, heart, bones, muscles, sex organs, kidneys.
- The outer layer (ectoderm) becomes the nervous system and the brain. It also forms the hair, nails, and skin.
During the first part of the four weeks, a small yolk sac develops. The amniotic sac also starts to form at this stage. The embryo gets its nourishment and blood from that small yolk sac before the placenta fully develops.
Afterward, the placenta fully develops from the outer layer of cells, and it takes over the role of providing the embryo with nourishment. The placenta is also responsible for carrying waste away from the baby. The yolk sac is later incorporated into the digestive tract of the baby.
It is when you are 4 weeks pregnant that the face also starts to form. It starts with big dark circles that appear where the eyes will be. The mouth, throat, and jaw also develop at that stage, blood cells begin to form, and circulation starts.
Now you can be sure that the baby has started fully depending on you for its growth and development.
It may be hard to experience major signs and symptoms at four weeks, even though your body is working more than it normally does. Since most of the early and mild symptoms are usually similar to premenstrual symptoms, you might brush them off. Some of these symptoms include;
We might all experience mild ovulation cramping and some cramping a few days before our period, so this is normal. Well, it might not be. It might be cramping caused by the successful implantation of the embryo into the uterus.
The cramping could also be caused by the hormonal changes happening in your body. If the cramping pain becomes unbearable, you should visit a doctor.
While not all women experience implantation bleeding, don’t be worried if it happens or if it doesn’t. It may happen around the same time you would have received your period, but it is usually lighter in amount and color than your usual period blood.
To differentiate, the implantation blood is usually brown or light pink, unlike normal period blood that is normally bright or dark red.
The bleeding may happen once, last for a few hours, or even three days like a normal period, but you will hardly need a pad or tampon.
When implantation happens, hCG, progesterone, and estrogen levels increase, causing your breast to feel not only tender but also sore. While you may experience something like that before your period, it is more noticeable in early pregnancy.
Isn't this one of the worst symptoms of both early pregnancy and periods! Well, if you thought that the hormones were done after making your boobs sore and tender, sorry, they are not. The high progesterone levels slow down your digestive system, making you feel bloated.
Nausea and vomiting
If some of the other symptoms were similar to the ones you get before your periods, this one is not. This is arguably one of the biggest red flags that you might not get your periods in a long time.
Though it is commonly known as morning sickness, you may experience these symptoms at any time of the day. The increased levels of progesterone (again!) after implantation are responsible for nausea because they slow down your digestion.
You may experience these symptoms first when you are 4 weeks pregnant. High hCG levels and heightened smell may also contribute to morning sickness.
Feel like you can't let go of your partner one second, but the next, you feel like throwing him out? You probably have mood swings, so don't worry about not loving him anymore. The high levels of estrogen, hCG, and progesterone making you feel off.
Since your body is working extra hard to maintain the growth of the new body of cells in you, fatigue is one of the major symptoms when you are 4 weeks pregnant.
If you monitor your vaginal discharge (which is good for you), you might notice a slight change in the color and consistency of the mucus around implantation time. During ovulation, the mucus is normally clear, slippery, and stretchy.
When implantation happens, the mucus becomes thicker and may be white or still clear, and increase in quality. That is because of the high estrogen and progesterone.
Taking good care of yourself during pregnancy, especially the first trimester, is crucial because it determines how well your baby will grow. It also ensures that you remain in the best shape to support the changes you may be experiencing.
Take your pregnancy vitamins
This can’t be stressed enough. Don’t skip your parental vitamins! While you will get a good amount of the needed nutrients from the food you eat, you can’t get all of it. Remember you are eating for two, and you need to beef up the level of all nutrients, which is where the vitamins come in.
When you are 4 weeks pregnant, vitamins are especially helpful because you may have trouble eating. That may be caused by nausea, vomiting, and bloating. No denying that parental vitamins can throw you off the edge and make you feel worse, but don't stop taking them.
Instead, you can change the times you take it. If you feel nauseous mainly in the mornings, try taking it later in the day. You can even split it and take small amounts of the dose throughout the day.
There are different types of parental vitamins;
- Folic acid- Prevents birth defects.
- Calcium-Helps in the growth of a baby's bones.
- Iron- helps in the production of RBCs.
- Vitamin A- Helps develop healthy eyes and skin.
- Vitamin D- Helps the baby's body absorb calcium.
- Vitamin C- Helps with wound healing and tissue repair.
- Zinc- reduces preterm births.
- Iodine- helps in the development of tHe baby's nervous system and brain.
While taking the vitamins is important, you can't rely on that alone. You need to eat well, even if you end up throwing it all up. A healthy diet provides you with the energy you need and makes the pregnancy more comfortable.
It also reduces the risks of complications like constipation and anemia. Poor nutrition during pregnancy can lead to complications like;
- Premature births.
- Low birth weight.
- Pregnancy complications.
You should follow the doctor's instructions on nutrition and weight gain. Ensure that you have large amounts of fruits, leafy green vegetables, and protein sources. Also, minimize your intake of fats, processed foods, and sugary foods to avoid unhealthy weight gain.
Keep yourself busy
Keeping yourself busy helps you not concentrate on all the symptoms and changes happening in your body. One way to do it is by exercising. You need to get up and work those muscles.
Exercising will help boost your energy levels and keep you in a brighter mood. It might also help you tone your muscles, avoid unhealthy weight gain, prepare for labor and delivery, and also speeds up your recovery after birth.
However, don’t overdo the exercises; keep it simple, like walking or even yoga. You can also find a hobby or spend time with your partner, friends, or family.
Get enough rest
Getting enough rest will ensure that your body has enough energy to maintain the growth of your baby.
The Focus For This Week
What should you focus on when you are 4 weeks pregnant? Well, testing! With the early symptoms, you probably think that you are just almost receiving your periods. But you miss your period by a day or two and think maybe the weather changes influenced that.
However, after around a week, it is time to take the test and be sure. For some of us, that is very scary, but you have to do it to be sure. Avoid stressing yourself too much (although sometimes it can’t be helped).
While a pregnancy test may not detect the pregnancy in the first week, you need to take another test when you notice a lot of the symptoms that happen when you are 4 weeks pregnant. That is because hCG is the chemical detected by pregnancy tests, and it increases after implantation.
You also need to be prepared for anything. While some of us want babies so bad, others may not be ready for it. You have to keep an open mind of what to in case the results are either negative or positive.
If you find it negative and you wanted a baby, there is always next time. How long it takes to get pregnant may depend on factors like age, health, and how many times you have sex. However, it may take anywhere from 6-12 months.
If you find out you are pregnant, taking parental vitamins should be one of the main areas of your focus.