Over the last few weeks, we’ve been bringing your articles to help you understand what’s happening with your body in the very beginning of your pregnancy. We’ve talked about how your pregnancy begins before you even conceive and have tried to talk you through what you need to do to prepare for your new baby even before you’re sure you’re pregnant. By week four though, things are really starting to change, your baby is starting to develop and as a mom-to-be, you need to start being even more careful about taking care of yourself and the baby that is beginning to grow in your belly. Okay, now it’s time to talk about what you can expect from Pregnancy Week Four.
What’s Happening With Your Body
Inside your womb, your baby is busy getting ready to, well, become a baby. By week four, your baby is still considered a blastocyst but that is now beginning to change. The blastocyst is going to start the process of implanting itself into the wall where it will divide into groups of cells. One group of cells will become the placenta that will surround your baby and help keep it safe. The other group of cells is the group of cells that will become your baby. Some refer to this process as the Great Divide as it is really the first major step your embryo takes in its journey to becoming a baby.
The fourth week of pregnancy is a remarkable time in your baby’s journey and not just became this is generally when the Great Divide takes place. There are all sorts of wonderful things taking place with the little embryo that will become your baby during this time. Right now, the embryo is made up of several layers, each of these layers serving a different purpose. Pregnancy week four is when those layers will start to develop and each layer will become a specific part of your baby. The inner layer of that embryo will now start developing into your baby’s internal organs – its digestive system, its liver and its lungs. The middle layer will now start developing into your baby’s bones, heart, kidneys, muscles and reproductive organs. The outer layer will now start developing into your baby’s nervous system, skin, hair and eyes.
How You’re Feeling
Confused! Scared! Excited! All of these things are perfectly normal during pregnancy week four because at this stage, most women haven’t taken a test yet and may only just now be starting to think something might be up. This can be a confusing time for women who are trying to get pregnant because many of the pregnancy symptoms you’ll start feeling around pregnancy week four are fairly similar to PMS symptoms. Because of that, many soon-to-be-mothers will discount those symptoms as a sign they’re about to get their period and will thing their efforts to get pregnant have failed. Try to be patient. You can take a pregnancy test around the fourth week but remember, not every woman is the same. Although you may get a negative result or even the dreaded faint pink line, it’s important to remember you may still be very early in your pregnancy. Wait a few days and take another test. You may get a different result. If you absolutely can’t wait, make an appointment with your doctor. They may be able to tell you one way or the other.
Because we want to be sure we cover everything, let’s talk a little bit more about the symptoms I spoke of a moment ago. Around your fourth week of pregnancy, you can expect to experience the following symptoms:
- Sore, swollen breasts
- Increased urination
- General aches and pains especially in your lower back
- Mood swings
- Soreness in the stomach (actual tenderness in the abdomen as opposed to nausea)
- Morning sickness
Ah yes. Morning sickness. This is probably the symptom that gives more mothers-to-be the most trouble but it’s also the most common. For most pregnant women, morning sickness starts around the fourth week of pregnancy and it’s usually the first telltale symptom that the rest of the symptoms are more than just “period stuff”. I’m not going to talk too much about morning sickness here as I’ve covered it in depth in another article (which you can read by clicking here) but basically, most women get morning sickness, they experience it almost any time of the day and there are ways to treat it. You only really need to visit your doctor about it if the sickness is severe enough that you’re not able to keep food down. If you experience severe morning sickness, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to offer you some advice on how to deal with it and will be able to determine whether or not the morning sickness you’re experiencing is a symptom of a bigger issue.
Another common symptom that confuses many women in the fourth week of pregnancy is implantation bleeding. Although it doesn’t look like normal period blood, it can still lead some women to think their period is coming, especially if the woman typically experiences light spotting before her period arrives. Implantation bleeding blood tends to be light in color and is often either a pink or brown color. It also tends to be very infrequent and small in amount, rarely requiring anything more than a panty liner. If you do experience heavier than average bleeding though, once again, you’re going to want to speak with your doctor.
What You Should be Focusing On
At this point in your pregnancy, you should be starting to make plans for your pregnancy and focusing on finding ways to not only prepare for your pregnancy but also finding ways to deal with morning sickness. For some women dealing with morning sickness is going to be a huge issue. For other women, it isn’t really a problem. Many doctors say that morning sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy so try to keep that in mind if you’re finding it especially hard to cope.
This is also a good time in your pregnancy to start making plans with your partner. If you take care of most of the cooking, cleaning and household chores, you’re going to need help and you’re going to need time to relax. Pregnancy can be hard on a woman’s body. You need to do everything you can to give your body and your baby what it needs and that means avoiding stress. If your partner isn’t great at cooking but wants to be able to offer you home cooked meals, start helping them learn how to cook. Watch cooking shows while you’re relaxing at night. Put together some quick and easy recipes they can make to help them build their confidence. Make sure they know how to do any household chores you might need help with. Above all else, be realistic. Envision your normal daily routine and then picture yourself doing that eight months pregnant. You’re going to need a helping hand. Make sure you ask for it.
This is also a good time to take your pregnancy test and prepare yourself for the results. When you get that positive test result, make an appointment with your doctor right away to confirm your pregnancy and to start talking with your doctor about what you’ll expect. Talk to your mother if you can about your family’s medical history to determine whether or not there’s anything you’ll need to tell your doctor about. Next it’s time to decide how and when you want to tell your partner, your family and your friends about the new addition to your family.
If you’ve missed the previous articles in our pregnancy week by week series, you can view them here: