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The 4th week of pregnancy: what happens to the baby and Mom

As the pregnancy progresses, every woman will observe systematic physical changes in her body, including a growing stomach and body mass. However, in the 4th obstetric week of pregnancy, it is still too early for such signs to appear.  This is only the second week from conception. Find out here how to correctly estimate your term. The majority of future mommies may not even be aware of their condition. Nevertheless, the first characteristic symptoms of this delicate situation will make themselves known during this timeframe.

The size and development of the fetus in week 4 of pregnancy

The size of the baby at the 4th week of pregnancy

In the fourth week of pregnancy, the future family member is the same of a poppy seed, his size not exceeding 1mm long and 0,36mm wide. In the coming six weeks the active foundation and formation of all organs and systems will commence. The time period from week 4 until week 10 of pregnancy is referred to as embryonal and is marked by a spurt in the baby’s development. Toward the end of the embryonal stage the little one will resemble a small human. But in the meantime the little stomach-dweller, who has attached himself to a uterine wall, resembles the shape of a disc, consisting of several layers of  embryonal cells.

  • The outer – ectodermal – cell layer, will become the foundation for the nervous system, skin, hair and dental tissue of the embryo.
  • The inner – endodermal – cell layer, will form internal organs of the little one, such as the liver, stomach, pancreas and thyroid.
  • The middle – mesodermal – layer, will forge the foundation of the heart, sex organs, blood and excretory systems, as well as muscular, connective, and bone tissue.

What develops in the 4th obstetric week of pregnancy? The head, brain, spine, extremities, heart and blood systems of the little one begin to evolve.

A vascular mesh will appear at the site where the embryo attached to the uterine wall (the chorion), which connects the embryo to the mother’s organism. The placenta forms as a result of this mesh. The yolk sac, which will be responsible for the baby’s blood supply and nourishment, has appeared.

[attention type=green]At this stage, the embryo is surrounded by an amniotic sac, which is full of fluid that protects the embryo from damage. Further on, the amnion will turn into the fetal sac.[/attention]

What happens to the Mommy in the 4th week of pregnancy

Mom at the 4th weeks of pregnancyIt is also too early discuss changes in body mass or growth of the stomach at this stage. However, if a pregnancy is suspected in the 4th obstetric week of pregnancy, a woman should pay attention to certain symptoms, which may signify that conception has occurred.

  • Tender breasts. This is one of the first clues, which the female body will offer. As early as a few days after conception, breasts become painful to the touch and may appear slightly swollen.
  • Changing color of the areolas. The darkening of color and even increase in the diameter size of the nipple areolas may begin within a week or two after conception.
  • Bloody discharge. Once the embryo has implanted into the uterine wall 6-8 days after conception, the future mommy may notice a brown or pink discharge on her underwear in the 4th week of pregnancy.
  • Frequent urination. This symptom shows up within a couple of weeks pregnancy and, more than likely, will accompany the entire duration of pregnancy.
  • The desire to rest during the day is also a clue for the woman. The feeling of constant tiredness happens due to the hormonal and physical restructuring in the woman’s organism during week 4 of pregnancy.
  • Sensitivity to smells. The increase of estrogen in the blood provokes changes in the perception of usual smells. During this period the future mommy may dislike the scent of a favorite perfume or the smell of seemingly inoffensive products.
  • Nausea and vomiting do not necessarily appear in week 4. However, for many women the unpleasant characteristic symptoms of toxemia will awaken specifically during this period.
  • Mood changes. Sudden changes in mood: from irritability and tears to happiness and laughter are evidence of the beginning of hormonal restructuring of the organism.

These symptoms do not necessarily appear during this term, but the changes in the way the organism functions are already underway.

Diagnosing a pregnancy in the early stages

If there are any suspicions of conception having taken place, those suspicions may be confirmed in the following ways:

  • Changes in basal body temperature. Basal temperature is the body’s temperature during a moment of maximum physical and emotional relaxation. As a rule, it is measured rectally at the moment of awakening. An increase in the thermometer measurement by 0,25-0,5°С in within 3 days after the end of ovulation can serve as a sign of pregnancy. This method does not provide 100% accuracy, since body temperature may increase in response to other causes (stress, digestive problems, lack of sleep, sexual activity and prior alcohol ingestion). This method is suitable for women who regularly chart their temperature.
  • Pregnancy test. This is an easy enough method of determining pregnancy, although the reliability of results is doubtful. Sometimes such diagnostics can lead to a false negative, since hormonal changes at week 4 are still insignificant.
  • HCG test. On day 8-10 after the conception of a new life, the future mommy’s organism starts producing a special hormone, called the chorionic gonadotropin. In order to confirm pregnancy, women in their 4th week of pregnancy undergo blood or urine tests for HCG content.
  • Lack of menstruation. At the end of week 4, a woman who pays attention to her health may notice the lack of monthly discharge. As trivial as it sounds, the lack of menstruation is the easiest way to diagnose a pregnancy.

Analyses, tests and ultrasound in week 4 of pregnancy

Photo fetal ultrasound at week 4 of pregnancyAs a rule, it is necessary to see a doctor in obstetric week 4, in order to confirm the happy event.

During the first visit, the doctor will ask questions and conduct a visual examination; she will check for uterus hypertonus, refer to an analysis of blood and urine, and take a vaginal swab. This may include additional analyses: blood type, blood hemoglobin level, Rhesus factor, the presence of venereal diseases; however these are not required during this week

An ultrasound examination in the early stages is necessary only to confirm the pregnancy. The embryo on the screen looks like a small spot, attached to the uterine wall. Above you can see an ultrasound image of a fetus at week 4 of pregnancy.

[attention type=yellow]Typically, a pregnancy will be registered at week 12; more detailed analyses will take place at that point.[/attention]

Possible abnormalities and problems

Possible deviations from the norm and problems at 4 weeks of gestationIn week 4 of pregnancy, thick white or clear discharge without an unpleasant smell, will be excreted from the sex organs due to changes in the hormonal makeup of the organism.

Slight bloody discharge in the first trimester may indicate various illnesses of the future mother’s sex organs, such as erosion of the cervix, hyperplasia of the endometrium, benign or cancerous growths.

If, however, heavy bloody or brownish discharge appears, accompanied by abdominal pain, this could indicate a threat of termination of the pregnancy. It is imperative to be seen by a specialist immediately.

In certain cases, the fetus stops developing in the first trimester or in the later stages. Doctors refer to this as a missed abortion. The characteristic symptoms of this pathology include: the disappearance of toxemia, appearance of slight bloody discharge, decrease in HCG levels, general feeling of being unwell, and increased body temperature. It is necessary to see a doctor immediately upon the commencement of such symptoms, in order to conduct additional testing.

Sometimes, because of certain chronic inflammatory processes in the woman’s fallopian tubes, the embryo is unable to reach the uterine cavity and attaches in the tubes. Such a pregnancy is referred to as ectopic and it may be dangerous to the woman’s health. Such a condition is marked by the following symptoms: bloody discharge from sex organs, painful sensations in the uterus and ovaries, low HCG level, increased body temperature, negative or doubtful results of pregnancy tests, low blood pressure and dizziness.

[attention type=red]It is worth noting, that in the first trimester of pregnancy, it is especially important to lead a healthy lifestyle, avoid infectious diseases and excessive physical activity[/attention]

Mom’s nutrition and exercise in week 4

Mom’s nutrition and exercise in week 4

Due to low appetite resulting from toxemia, it is absolutely necessary to include vitamin and mineral supplements as part of the future mommy’s nutrition.  In most cases, the gestation of the baby will cause a deficit of calcium, iron and folic acid in the woman.

One should also exclude from one’s diet products containing artificial flavors, colorants, and preservatives, smoked and prepackaged products. It is worth noting, that the time for dieting and eating restrictions is over. The ingested food must be maximally beneficial and nourishing.

In the absence of risk factors to the pregnancy, medical specialists encourage the moderate physical activity of future mothers. Exercise is necessary in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy.  Physical activity that can be undertaken in week 4 includes:

  • swimming;
  • walking
  • yoga;
  • Kegel exercises;

Heavy physical labor, such as lifting or cardio training, is contraindicated in week 4 of pregnancy. You can read more about exercising in the first trimester here.

Sexual activity in week 4

Sex in week 4Sex in week 4 does not harm the fetus, if the woman does not otherwise have contraindications or a threat of termination. Nevertheless, attention should be paid to the slightest negative symptoms that may appear after sexual contact.

However, often at this stage the woman does not yet know about the pregnancy, and thus sexual relations with the partner do not change.

Recommendations for the Mom

Despite the very early term, it is necessary to follow certain recommendations, which will assist the future mommy to carry a healthy child:

  • Exclude alcohol and cigarettes from your life;
  • Eat healthily;
  • Spend more time outdoors;
  • Avoid stress
  • Pay attention to your wellbeing;
  • Do not lift anything heavy;
  • Avoid cold-related illnesses;
  • Take medication only after consultation with a doctor.

You are at the beginning of a long journey. Only attentiveness to your health, a positive outlook and the support of your family and close ones will help you easily get through this important phase of life.

Video about week 4 of pregnancy

We present our video guide to week 4 of pregnancy, which will tell you about the specifics of a woman’s emotional state. Experts will note the particular importance of a partner’s support during this period. At the end of the video, current mommies will share their experiences about how to tell the future dad about the pregnancy.

[attention type=green]Perhaps in week 4 you have already found out that you are pregnant. Tell us, what were the first symptoms of your condition? Did you already experience toxemia? How did you share the happy news with your partner?[/attention]

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