If you’re 4 weeks pregnant, that means you’re officially pregnant!
At weeks 1 and 2 of pregnancy, conception hasn’t happened yet.
Conception usually happens around week 3 (during ovulation).
A successful conception means that a sperm has fertilized an egg and has now attached itself to the uterine wall. That means that from now until the end of your pregnancy, you won’t shed your uterine lining or have your regular period.
So, by week 4, you may notice one of the earliest signs of pregnancy – a missed period.
In this article, we’ll look at what happens at pregnancy week 4, from common pregnancy symptoms to your baby’s development to how to best take care of yourself at this crucial stage of your journey.
What happens at 4 weeks pregnant?
By four weeks pregnant, there have been a lot of changes inside your body. The fertilized egg has been safely implanted into the uterine wall.
From there, it quickly divides into layers of cells that form the embryo. The different cell layers will develop to include different body parts, such as your baby’s nervous system, organs, muscles, skin, and skeleton.
During this stage, the embryo receives nourishment from a tiny yolk sac. This yolk sac provides nutrients to the embryo until the placenta forms, which then takes over the role of transferring nutrients between mother and baby.
From one side, the placenta will form the umbilical cord. The placenta will also develop an amniotic sac that protects your growing baby throughout pregnancy.
This is also when your baby’s neural tube will start to grow.
The neural tube is the core of the brain and spine and plays a crucial role in your baby’s overall health. That’s why it’s essential to take all the precautionary and self-care measures possible now and move forward until birth.
Below we’ll look at common pregnancy symptoms at week 4, followed by vital self-care tips for soon-to-be moms at four weeks pregnant.
Pregnancy symptoms at week 4
Four weeks pregnant is when you start noticing pregnancy symptoms, but if you don’t see any signs yet, don’t worry. It takes many women between 5 to 8 weeks to notice pregnancy, some even longer.
However, it’s possible to notice at four weeks, especially if your body makes a clear effort to tell you.
Again, don’t worry if you don’t see these pregnancy symptoms yet. Everybody and every pregnancy are different, meaning symptoms appear at other times and varying degrees between individuals.
Check out some common signs of pregnancy at four weeks below.
1. Missed period
If you get a regular 28-day cycle, then you may be used to getting your period around the same time every month.
You may notice a missed period this week if you’re four weeks pregnant (counted from your last menstrual period). A missed period is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and is often the signal to check with a home pregnancy test.
2. Swollen, tender breasts
Another early pregnancy symptom is a sense of tenderness or soreness in the breasts accompanied by swelling.
This symptom typically appears at around 4 to 6 weeks and may persist throughout the first trimester (first three months of pregnancy).
You may also notice that your nipples darken in color or see more veins showing in your breast due to swelling.
At four weeks, you may notice some bloating and gas.
These symptoms show up because the body increases its level of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy.
This pregnancy hormone can slow down digestion, leading to bloating and gas.
Morning sickness is one of the most well-known pregnancy symptoms. Despite the name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day.
It usually shows up as a pregnancy symptom at around six weeks, but it’s possible to experience it starting at four weeks.
Some women experience the nausea of morning sickness without vomiting, while many others experience both nausea and vomiting.
5. Implantation cramps
Cramps are a common PMS symptom, but if you’ve been trying to get pregnant and notice cramps around week 4, don’t worry. Many women experience abdominal pain, or implantation cramping, sometimes accompanied by light bleeding (spotting), around pregnancy week 4.
These cramps and light blood spots don’t necessarily mean you’re getting your period. They may happen because the fertilized egg is implanting itself in the uterus.
At the same time, cramps throughout the early pregnancy can be a cause for concern, so if you experience cramps after week four, you must consult a health professional.
6. Mood swings
Mood swings are a common pregnancy symptom and may occur throughout your pregnancy.
Usually, they are strongest in the first trimester. You may notice increased irritability, unpredictable moods and emotions, and general emotional upheaval.
These mood swings result from the fluctuating hormones in your body as your body prepares for the journey ahead.
Equally, having a child on the way is a monumental time, so it makes sense that you would experience some emotional upheaval anyway.
The body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy. It also has to do a lot of work to ensure that it remains a safe and healthy place for new life to grow.
The result of all this work is that soon-to-moms may feel exhausted. That’s why it’s important to prioritize self-care at all stages of your pregnancy and get all the rest, nutrition, and valuable information you need for a worry-free eight more months.
Self-care tips for moms at four weeks pregnant
Proper self-care is critical at every pregnancy stage, from when you discover you’re pregnant to about to give birth.
Some self-care for tips for soon-to-be moms at four weeks pregnant include:
1. Arrange a prenatal appointment
Arrange a prenatal appointment with your doctor as you get a positive pregnancy test. It may take another few weeks before your healthcare provider is ready for a prenatal appointment, but the sooner you arrange a meeting, the better.
This appointment will include tests and exams to check your health and ensure a healthy pregnancy and is the perfect opportunity to ask any question or raise concerns regarding your and your baby’s health.
2. Ease digestive issues
Bloating and gas are typical week four symptoms. Digestive issues are hard to avoid, but you can help soothe your digestive system with simple techniques and dietary changes.
If bloating is uncomfortable, try eating smaller, regular meals throughout the day rather than larger and fewer.
Avoid carbonated drinks and too much artificial sweetener.
Drink water in small amounts but regularly, rather than large amounts and less frequently (just like meals).
Walking and stretching can also reduce bloating discomfort.
3. Adapt to morning sickness and prenatal vitamins
Soon-to-be moms need to take prenatal vitamins. These vitamins contain folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and other critical nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.
However, taking these prenatal vitamins can increase feelings of nausea related to morning sickness, so you may find it challenging to keep the vitamin down.
To deal with this issue, try taking your prenatal vitamin at the time of day you feel the least queasy.
FAQs: Go-to questions for four weeks pregnant
You’re sure to have many questions about what to expect.
Many answers are available online, but arrange an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible (if you haven’t already) to discuss your questions and receive professional advice.
What should I be feeling at 4 weeks pregnant?
You may notice some bloating, swelling, abdominal pressure, and tenderness around week 4, as your body prepares to accommodate a baby.
These symptoms may not appear until week six or later, but your body may inform you sooner.
Remember that four weeks is still incredibly early in your pregnancy journey.
Counting happens from your last menstrual period, so at four weeks, you conceived about a week ago, meaning it’s unlikely that any significant symptoms will present themselves just yet, aside from the classic missed period.
Is it normal to have a faint positive at four weeks?
Four weeks is when many women notice early signs of pregnancy.
A tell-tale sign is a missed period, often encouraging a home pregnancy test.
Home pregnancy tests detect levels of pregnancy hormone hCG in your urine.
If you notice a faint positive on a pregnancy test, the lateral flow device (LFD) has detected at least some hCG in your urine. Levels of this hormone and others will increase during your pregnancy.
Any sign of hCG on the home testing kit indicates pregnancy.
What are some common early pregnancy symptoms?
Pregnancy symptoms will increase in severity throughout the first trimester. Some will ease during the second trimester, but some will persist. At four weeks, everything is still early. You may notice some of the following symptoms this early, but don’t be surprised if they take a few more weeks to show up.
- A missed period
- Breast tenderness
- Abdominal pressure
- Light spotting
- Nausea with possible vomiting
- Tiredness or exhaustion
- More frequent urination
When should I schedule my first prenatal appointment?
Book an appointment when you receive a positive result on a home pregnancy test or earlier if you’ve been actively trying to become pregnant.
If you’re trying to conceive, a trained healthcare provider can help you prepare with advice and self-care practices during this time.
What should I avoid during week 4 of pregnancy?
Remember that nourishing yourself at this time, not just in the body but in your mind, will sustain your baby too.
Choose health-positive behaviors and practices such as a balanced diet aimed at soothing digestion, avoiding toxins that may put your baby’s health at risk, and getting plenty of rest to allow your body to carry out this miracle.
What should I eat in week 4 of pregnancy?
In addition to taking a prenatal vitamin, ensure you get enough folic acid in your diet. Enjoy leafy greens and broccoli, fortified cereals, and chickpeas in a nutrient-rich diet.
Folic acid is associated with a reduced risk of congenital disabilities in babies by promoting the formation of a healthy neural tube.
In four weeks, many women notice a missed period, the first and most common sign of pregnancy. Checking in with a doctor at this stage is essential for the rest of the pregnancy.
Even though your baby is about the size of a poppy seed, assessments, and health tests at this stage will set you up for a healthy pregnancy.