Pregnancy Week 4

The fourth week of pregnancy marks the beginning of most vulnerable and sensitive time for a pregnant woman. As the embryo implants in uterus, it starts development of all major organs in the coming 10 weeks. Any physical, emotional and mental stress which hinders or interferes with the baby development can be life threatening for your baby. This is the reason; you are advised to be extremely careful and cautious during your first trimester. By the end of first trimester, all the organs would have developed. In the coming two semesters, your baby will only grow in size and weight.

Now, as you enter in your fourth week, you must be either expecting your periods or a positive pregnancy test, though nothing is clear even after the end of this week. Once you miss your period date, you start hoping for pregnancy.

In some cases, even before any symptoms and positive pregnancy test, some women experience a light spotting or bleeding other than menstrual one which can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. If this does not occur, you must wait before moving towards pregnancy test kit.

When should I take a Pregnancy test?

If you are trying to conceive, you must eager to take the pregnancy test. However, it is advisable to take the test about one week after you miss your periods though; it is very difficult to wait. However, if you are quite curious, you can test by the end of this week through the super sensitive pregnancy test kits.

Most of the time, these kits give you right information but at times, they mislead also. Nevertheless, to get best out of your test kit, you must

  • Buy a fresh one
  • Check for the expiry date
  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Use the morning urine (most concentrated) to get the best results

If negative, wait for one more week and test again. However, if you get even a faint line, there are fair chances of you being pregnant. But do not be happy, wait for two more days, test again. This time you will surely get pronounced result.

Signs and Symptoms

In general, the prominent signs of pregnancy start occurring after 4 weeks. However, if you are very sensitive to the body changes, your body may respond to those changes which are noted as early signs of pregnancy.

Let us see what all symptoms you may or may not notice during the fourth week.

Light spotting: As discussed above a light spotting or bleeding known as breakthrough bleeding is one of the early signs. Sometimes, this bleeding is mistaken with the menstrual one due to same timing. However, if you notice this spotting to be different from normal one, you must take pregnancy test or should get it checked by your gynecologist.

Morning sickness: A slight queasiness or nauseate feeling is ought to occur as you are succumbing to most common pregnancy condition, morning sickness. Though named so, but it does not necessarily occurs in the morning. Increased pregnancy hormones, high sensitivity to smell, excess stomach acid or altered digestion are held responsible for this condition.

Unfortunately, some women undergo a severe form of this sickness termed as hyperemesis gravidarum, in which they even can’t keep down the plain water. If you are the one with this condition, immediately see your doctor.

Tender breasts: Slight tenderness and soreness in your breasts can make you uncomfortable. This is owing to the increased levels of hormones and blood supply to the breasts.

Fatigue: You may feel tired, super exhausted and sleepy all day. Again blame the pregnancy hormone for such condition.

Backache: Your backache will not let you sit, sleep or do any of your routine tasks.

Abdominal bloating: Bloating and cramping similar to what you experience when your periods are expected can be felt. The higher levels of hormones are responsible for this.

Most of the pregnancy symptoms are attributed to the period which is expected to come but never comes.

Baby’s Development

The beginning of the fourth week confirms that your embryo has been settled well in its room i.e. uterus. When the embryo attaches itself to the uterus lining, it is termed as blastocyst. Now, this blastocyst will gradually develop in the full grown baby in the coming eight months. The division of the cells in blastocyst causes it to separate in two layers. The outer one forms the baby’s lifeline or placenta while the inner one forms the baby.

Development of placenta and amniotic sac

Though, the embryo is merely one millimeter long and as small as a poppy seed, it undergoes various major developments. With the successive division of cells, the inner lining of blastocyst which was to form embryo divides itself in three layers which will form major organs and tissues of the baby.

The three layers are:

  • Endoderm: the innermost layer which will form baby’s digestive system, liver and lungs.
  • Mesoderm: as the name suggests, it is the middle layer which forms baby’s heart, sex organs, bones, kidneys and muscles.
  • Ectoderm: the outermost layer, responsible for forming brain, nervous system, hair skin and eyes.

At the same time, the outer lining which was to form placenta also splits into two layers. The outer one grows hair like protrusions called villi which penetrate the uterus lining, endometrium to get nourishment from the mother’s blood and transfer it to the developing baby. The inner layer forms the amniotic sac which is gradually filled with amniotic fluid. This sac is protective covering for the baby that act as shock absorber, allows easy movement in the womb and controls the temperature. The yolk sac developed along with amniotic sac will deliver nutrients and produce Red blood cells of your baby until the placenta is fully developed. Once the placenta is formed, the yolk sac gets incorporated in the digestive system of baby.

What you must know: some tips

  • Though, folic acid supplements are recommended three months before you actually conceive but if you have not started yet, it’s high time now. Taking 400mcg of folic acid daily will help prevent your baby from the neural tube defects like spina bifida. Other vitamin and mineral supplements can also be prescribed to you depending on your health conditions. However, make sure the supplements aren’t of vitamin A as too much of the same is harmful for baby.
  • A gentle exercise routine will be a nice idea this time to give strength and endurance to your body for the further challenges. Moreover, mild exercise regime will help you prevent putting on extra weight. However, do not make it sweaty or end up palpitating as it’s your most sensitive time.
  • A regular yoga and meditation practice will keep you spiritually strong, mentally calm and emotionally settled.
  • Eating and drinking healthy is the most essential for mums-to-be. During whole nine months of pregnancy, your baby is solely dependent upon your food. Therefore, whatever you eat and drink, affects the baby too. So, just give the best to your baby by having a well-balanced, nutritious and energy filled diet every day.
  • Say a strict no to smoking as smoking retards the flow of oxygen to tissues of baby which result in low weight and low growth. Apart from this, you must also refrain from alcohol, drugs or any over the counter medications.
  • Even in case of planned and anticipated pregnancy, you and your partner may have self doubt and fears regarding parenting and pregnancy. Do help each other in this situation of conflicting emotions.
  • Try to keep yourself away from lifting heavy weights and getting exposed to environmental, chemical or any industrial hazards, chemicals or poisons. These toxic substances can cause malformations and deformities in the baby.

Prenatal visit and due date

As soon as you get to know about your pregnancy, you must visit the gynecologist to inform for the same. He/she will examine you and will ask for certain medical tests. Accordingly, she will prescribe you supplements and give you some instructions. While choosing your gynae, you must be careful; she will be the one who will deliver your baby. So, make sure she is an experienced one and you are comfortable with her.

After examining, she will also tell you the estimated due date. It is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period. One exact year is added to it, then three months are subtracted and again one week is added. The date that comes is given you as your due date.

Although, the fourth week of pregnancy gives you the good news but only near its end. Actually, the whole week is filled with confusion, excitement, expectations and eagerness. Every time, you get any physical symptoms, there is may or may not situation because the early signs of pregnancy are almost similar to the ones which occur when periods are expected.

Just be a little bit patient as the following week will make everything clear. By the end of fourth week, you probably would have missed your periods and thus will be ready to take up a pregnancy test.