Your menstrual cycle is late, your boobs are tender, you can smell everything from a mile away, and you think you might be pregnant. You took a pee on the stick pregnancy test and it came back positive! Congratulations! You are most likely right at 4 weeks pregnant unless you waited a couple or more weeks to take a test since you missed your period.
How far along you are is calculated by the first date of your last menstrual cycle. However, technically, if you are 4 weeks pregnant, your ovulation cycle most likely occurred about two weeks ago. Most don’t realize it, but a completed full-term pregnancy (40 weeks) is actually ten months long and the nine-month mark is the beginning of your last month before welcoming your little bundle of joy.
Symptoms of Early Pregnancy
Early pregnancy symptoms are the first indication that your body is changing and accepting your new addition. When you are 4 weeks pregnant, you may feel mild cramping and light spotting. Some women do not know they are pregnant yet since early pregnancy symptoms are similar to menstrual cycle symptoms.
The first-third days of your missed period are a sign you may be 4 weeks pregnant. If you can smell the popcorn your upstairs neighbor made two hours ago, don’t put on your superhero cape quite yet—you may be around 4 weeks pregnant. Also, don’t be surprised if you have very few symptoms this early. Some women do not experience symptoms other than a missed period.
Symptoms Ranging from 4 Weeks Pregnant to 6 Weeks Pregnant
Sudden fatigue sets in around 4 weeks pregnant and is noticed more for some at about 5 weeks. Nausea and early morning sickness can begin as early as 4 weeks, but may not be experienced by some until 6 weeks. Swollen, tingling or aching breasts, increased urination frequency, and bloating are all prevalent symptoms between 4 weeks pregnant and 6 weeks. Other early pregnancy symptoms can include mood swings, increased appetite, some dizziness, and some food aversions.
Implantation and Spotting
Somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks pregnant, the implantation process happens, which can cause some cramping and spotting or light bleeding. The bleeding is an outward sign that the embryo has attached itself to the uterine wall. Only a small percentage of pregnant women will have bleeding during implantation, so don’t freak out if this does not happen to you. If you experience bleeding that is continuous or heavier and you have a positive pregnancy test, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
What Is My Baby Like When I’m 4 Weeks Pregnant?
At 4 weeks pregnant, your baby is tiny, no bigger than 3 millimeters long, somewhere between the size of a poppy seed and apple seed. During this week your fertilized egg splits up into sections. This collection of cells is called a blastocyst. One section is the brain and nervous system. One section is the circulatory system and the heart, and the third section is for the lungs and intestines. All of these sections are in the earliest stages of development. After the embryo is formed, the remaining cells are set to create the placenta which will protect your baby and nourish its growth.
Super Early Pregnancy Fun Facts
One fun 4 weeks pregnant tidbit is that babies begin to sleep starting at 4 weeks after conception. Another is your baby’s hearing begins to form before the first month of the first trimester, right around 4 weeks. Also, a baby’s heartbeat initiates around 3 weeks after conception.
Your fertilized egg begins to release human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) somewhere between 6 and 12 days after inception. HCG is a pregnancy hormone, which tells the follicle (corpus luteum) that released the egg to stay with it and create the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are very important in protecting the embryo until the placenta forms. HCG is the same hormone that makes your pregnancy test turn up positive.
Early Signs You Are Pregnant with Twins
Your OBGYN usually cannot tell you for sure you are having twins or multiples until after 10 weeks pregnant. However, at 4 weeks pregnant, pregnancy symptoms on overdrive may be an early indication of multiple babies. Some examples to look out for are rapid weight gain, overwhelming exhaustion, a fierce increase in urinary frequency, and a stronger sensation of nausea and morning sickness.
What to Do When You Think You May Be Pregnant
If you think you may be pregnant, the first thing to do is buy one or two at home pregnancy tests. It may take up to a week after your missed period for a positive result to show. If your menstrual cycle is late and you have a negative pregnancy test, take the test again in a week.
Tell your partner! There are many fun and creative ways you can tell him, but you can also keep it sweet and simple. Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking any narcotics including prescription narcotics. It is highly recommended that pregnant women should also avoid secondhand smoke as it can prevent a healthy pregnancy and increase the risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies, and low birth weight.
At 4 weeks pregnant, you should begin taking prenatal vitamins right away. If your pregnancy is a surprise and you have not begun taking folic acid or other prenatal supplements, speak to your doctor about a new regimen. This is the time you will want to call your OBGYN or midwife and make your first appointment.
Some doctors will have you wait and come in for your first visit between 6 and 8 weeks pregnant. Some future moms will be asked to schedule an earlier appointment to confirm pregnancy if they have health issues that put them at a higher health risk.
Pregnancy Restrictions and Changes
Whether you are 4 weeks pregnant or 9 months pregnant, there are certain restrictions and avoidances you should follow to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. There are foods that should be avoided, activities you will need to slow down on or stop, and chemicals you should not use.
Foods to Avoid
- Raw meat and shellfish, sushi, oysters, mussels, and clams (avoid rare beef and be extra careful of under-cooked poultry)
- Deli meat (these meats can be contaminated with a bacterium called listeria)
- Fish with high levels of mercury
- Smoked seafood
- Raw eggs
- Soft Cheeses
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- You should avoid buffets and food that is open and exposed or left out to access by several people
Activities That Should Be Avoided
- You should not paint, strip and refurbish furniture or do any activities with harsh chemicals
- Do not use cleaning products with harsh chemicals
- Try not to drink more than 8 ounces of caffeine per day
- Talk to your OBGYN before taking any over the counter or prescription drugs
- Avoid climbing or wearing heels that are taller than 3 inches
- Avoid hot baths, hot tubs or saunas
- Do not clean or change the kitty litter box (toxoplasmosis)
- Don’t smoke or breathe secondhand smoke
- Do not drink alcohol
- Do not ride rollercoasters or fair or carnival rides
- Avoid rollerskating and ice skating, skiing or other activities where you could fall down
- Avoid stressful situations, arguments or combativeness
- Avoid hot baths, hot tubs or saunas
- Do not drive yourself crazy by reading too many pregnancy forums on the web
Things You Should Do
- Eat healthily and make good choices
- Embrace cravings within reason
- Drink a lot of water
- Sleep a lot and make sure to rest
- Take your recommended supplements and vitamins
- Go to all of your doctor appointments
- Dress comfortably
You Can Do This
It is normal to be scared, excited, jittery, happy, ecstatic, apprehensive, joyful, and overwhelmed whether you are 4 weeks pregnant or ready to give birth. Yes, everything is going to change. However, when your pregnancy is this early, it is important to take a breath and take it slow.
Each day and week for the entire pregnancy is going to be both exciting and a bit terrifying. Every time you master each milestone of the pregnancy, you can celebrate as you get closer to your due date. If you take one day at a time, you will have a safer and easier journey through this amazing miracle you are experiencing.
Don’t Forget Important Points
To review, if you think you may be pregnant and if you have just missed your menstrual cycle, take an at home pregnancy test. If it is positive, you may be right around 4 weeks pregnant. Tell your partner. Call your OBGYN and let them know you are pregnant. They may advise you about important supplements and vitamins you should take right away and tell you to avoid certain activities and foods.
Schedule your first appointment with your OBGYN, which is usually around 6-8 weeks pregnant. Try to rest and avoid stress or activities that can cause you to fall or your body to be jolted. Stop smoking and drinking and eat healthy foods. Stay away from harsh chemicals and the kitty litter box. Most importantly, allow yourself to be happy. Cherish each moment. This is an exciting time! You are going to be a mom!