Understanding your pregnancy: Week 4

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 4

A quick snapshot

This week your fertilised egg has found its way to the uterus and is looking for a suitable place to nestle in for the next 36 weeks or so. Implantation usually happens around the time you would be expecting your period so many women aren't surprised when they experience slight bleeding. But if it's only slight spotting it could be an implantation bleed and not a regular period. The uterine wall is so engorged with blood at this stage that any disruption can cause a light bleed.

You might suspect that you’re pregnant if you don’t get your period this week. You may also be experiencing some early pregnancy symptoms, which will add to your suspicions. At week 4, it's possible to confirm your pregnancy with a blood or urine test, so go get that home pregnancy test.

What’s changing in your body

  • You may feel some lower pelvic cramping and a sensation of fullness. You may also feel bloated or have more wind than you usually do.
  • You could start to feel some nausea or morning sickness, especially if you haven't eaten for a while. The smell or thought of some foods may turn you off, even if you usually love them. Coffee, fish, red meat and even pet food can be enough to make you feel like vomiting.
  • Your breasts may be tender and your nipples more sensitive. Your breasts may even look fuller and more rounded, especially if they are usually small in size.
  • You may feel a constant need to pee and you don't seem to be able to hold on for as long as you usually do, peeing only small amounts each time. This is due to the increase in your blood volume and the pressure of your full uterus pressing down on your bladder.
  • You may have some slight spotting from an implantation bleed.

 How your emotions are affected

  • You may be feeling a big sense of apprehension and excitement, while waiting to see if your period starts.
  • You may feel similar to how you usually do before you get a period – a little more emotional, easily irritated and generally more moody.
  • If you want to conceive but had a (false) negative pregnancy test, you may be feeling disappointed with the result. Talk with your partner or a supportive friend. Alternately, if you didn't plan on getting pregnant but found out that you are, this can be a stressful time.

How your baby is growing

First Trimester: Week 4

5

  • This week your baby is the size of a full stop or a poppy seed. It is still barely visible to the naked eye.
  • There is a lot of organisation and cell separation going on. Three distinct layers of cells start to form. The ectoderm (outer layer), will eventually become the baby's skin, eyes, hair, their nervous system, their brain and the enamel of their teeth. The middle layer (mesoderm) will become their skeleton, muscles and kidneys, tissues and blood system. The inner layer (endoderm) will eventually become their internal organs.

Tips for the week

  • Buy a pregnancy test or two from the chemist or the supermarket. Try to choose one which has 2 sticks so you can repeat the test. It is impossible to get a false positive reading, though in the very early stages you can get a false negative result.
  • Make your first prenatal appointments. This will initially be with your GP, who will refer you to an obstetrician for ongoing care.
  • Avoid getting overheated and try to stay well. An elevated temperature in the early weeks of pregnancy can sometimes carry a risk to the baby as it is forming.