When you’re 4 weeks pregnant, this is the week your period is normally due – or late.
In this case, you might begin to wonder if, or even suspect you might be pregnant.
It’s common for women to do a home pregnancy test around this time.
If you’ve already had a positive pregnancy test: Congratulations!
4 weeks pregnant
It’s normal to feel a combination of excitement and nervousness.
If you’re still waiting for that positive pregnancy test, try not to stress too much.
Be sure to read When To Take A Pregnancy Test If You Might Be Pregnant for more information.
4 weeks pregnant belly
Generally by 4 weeks pregnant, your egg has attached to the inside wall of your uterus.
The egg, now an embryo, is surrounded by fluid in the amniotic sac.
The placenta is still developing, but is sending out tiny hair-like tendrils.
These wrap around the abundant small blood vessels in the lining of your uterus.
Usually, the placenta will completely take over the role of sustaining your baby by 12 weeks gestation.
Under normal circumstances, your blood and your baby’s blood don’t mix.
You each have quite separate circulatory systems.
The closeness of your blood vessels to those of the placenta, however, allows the exchange of oxygen, nutrients and waste products.
4 weeks pregnant symptoms
Not all women experience early pregnancy symptoms. Often these are confused with premenstrual symptoms.
Things to look out for are:
- Bloating. You might experience fluid retention around the beginning of your period.
- Mood swings. Fluctuating pregnancy hormones are the cause of this and are most noticeable in the first trimester. You might experience moodiness in the week leading up to your period.
- Cramping. Severe cramping should be investigated.
- Nausea. This can be limited to first thing in the morning, or triggered by a smell or sight. Nausea usually kicks in around 6 weeks, when HCG levels rise.
- Implantation bleeding. This can happen when the fertilised egg burrows into the uterus lining. A small amount of blood can appear.
4 weeks pregnant cramping
If you’re 4 weeks pregnant and cramping, it can cause a great deal of anxiety. Fears of miscarriage or something going wrong can be nerve racking! However, it’s usually nothing serious.
When the fertilised egg implants, it can cause mild cramping, similar to mild menstrual cramps in your lower pelvis or back.
So when you’re 4 weeks pregnant, any cramping, especially if not accompanied by blood, is usually the result of implantation.
If you experience any severe pain or blood loss, do see your healthcare provider.
Folate in early pregnancy
During this stage of early pregnancy, your baby’s nervous system is beginning to develop.
A layer of cells folds to form the neural tube. This becomes the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
You might have heard it’s important to get enough folate during pregnancy.
Folate helps your baby’s neural tube to develop properly.
It also helps prevent the occurrence of a major birth defect, spina bifida, by up to 70%.
Above all, when you’re 4 weeks pregnant it’s important to make sure your dietary intake of folate is adequate.
Dietary sources of folate include dark leafy greens, nuts, eggs, meat and chicken.
Here are 9 top foods which contain folate.
Most prenatal vitamin supplements include the synthetic form of folate (folic acid).
The best supplement to take instead is folinic acid, especially if you’ve had problems with fertility, pregnancy complications, or miscarriage.
Effects of cigarette smoke when you’re 4 weeks pregnant
All women should ideally quit smoking before becoming pregnant.
If you smoke cigarettes and have become pregnant, certainly now is a good time to quit.
Even if you’re not a smoker, exposure to cigarette smoke has negative effects on the health of pregnant women and their unborn babies.
Second-hand cigarette smoke contains thousands of dangerous chemicals.
Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy increases the risk of:
- Fetal growth restriction
- Preterm birth
- Low birth weight.
You can also be exposed to toxins left in places where people frequently smoke – for example, on furnishings, paintwork, clothes, etc.
This type of exposure is third-hand smoke. Usually if a room or item smells like tobacco, it’s likely toxins are present. These toxins can make their way into your bloodstream and into your baby’s.
There’s research to show third-hand smoke can have very serious effects on your baby’s developing lungs.
Try to minimise your exposure to second-hand and third-hand smoke as much as possible.
4 weeks pregnant – your baby
Now you’re 4 weeks pregnant, your baby is officially classed as an embryo.
He or she has made the journey to your uterus, and is now embedded in the rich lining of the uterine wall, dividing into two groups of cells.
One group of cells has become the embryo and the other has become the placenta.
The placenta is truly an impressive support system for your baby.
Read more in What Is A Placenta? 10 Amazing Placenta Facts.
The heart and circulatory system form rapidly. The neural tube also forms in the first 4-6 weeks of pregnancy.
The next six weeks are a critical stage of development for your growing baby.
For example, the major organs begin to develop and some organs will even begin to work!
At 4 weeks pregnant, your baby is 1mm long and about the size of a poppy seed.
Here are some articles that might be helpful if you’re 4 weeks pregnant: