4 Weeks Pregnant
- July 6, 2021
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello pregnant mamas and dadas-to-be! Such a blast being pregnant with my sixth baby alongside you. Welcome to Week 4! During this week, most women find out that a little creature has taken up residence in their uterus. Take a moment to celebrate — seriously, you deserve it! Whether you’ve been trying to conceive for months or even years or this news was entirely unexpected, commemorate this moment! Once again, congratulations!
4 Weeks Pregnant: Recurring Symptoms
4 Weeks Pregnant: Common Symptoms
You may be wondering how you could possibly be this tired already! I completely understand; after all, you literally just found out that you are pregnant. Fatigue in early pregnancy is a common symptom in the first trimester as your body tries to adapt to the raging hormones and new life that is growing within your body. I find myself desperately craving sleep at around 4 p.m. and then again right after dinner. Try to get as much rest as you can — I’ve been opting for short naps to get me through the day. There’s light at the end of the tunnel: this first trimester pregnancy fatigue generally subsides by the second trimester, at which point you’ll feel more energetic.
Increased Heart Rate
Soon after conception, your body increases the amount of blood it circulates so as to provide enough oxygen and nutrients to you and your baby. By delivery, you will have up to 50% more blood. To accommodate the increased blood supply, your heart rate will increase by as much as 15 beats per minute in the first trimester alone. Be aware of this when you work out and try not to overdo it. I’ve been continuing to exercise, though given the first trimester pregnancy exhaustion factor I certainly feel the need for rest, too, at different points of the day.
This week, your little blastocyte (how cute) will burrow into the lining of your uterus, where it will stay for the rest of your pregnancy. During the process of burrowing, a blood vessel may be disturbed, so you may experience some spotting and cramping. This is totally normal. It’s also normal if you don’t spot. However, you should alert your doctor if the bleeding increases in volume to a level similar to your period.
“But I don’t feel pregnant!” I know I’ve thought this to myself several times already! It is totally normal if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms yet. After all, it is still very early in your pregnancy. I really have no symptoms of pregnancy this week other than the first trimester fatigue I feel during the late afternoon and early evening. Just remember that having no symptoms in early pregnancy doesn’t mean your pregnancy isn’t real. Take advantage of the symptom-free days while you can.
Does even the slightest odor make you feel nauseous? You may notice at around this stage that your sense of smell during pregnancy has become a lot more sensitive, causing you to turn your nose at scents you used to love. Women who have a heightened sensitivity to smells during early pregnancy also tend to experience nausea and morning sickness. The two symptoms come hand-in-hand, so I’ve been lucky to avoid both. The good news is that both symptoms normally die down by the second trimester. For now, try to stay away from scents that bring about nausea, even if that means changing the brand of shampoo you use. Goodbye pepperoni; I will miss you.
Maybe you missed your period yet are still having PMS-like symptoms? Some of the earliest signs of pregnancy include mood swings, cramping, and bloating. So while you may be gearing up in anticipation of another period, something much more exciting may be at work. It is also normal if you do not feel these symptoms — I didn’t.
Stages of Fetal Development: Baby Growth & Size at 4 Weeks
At week 4, your baby weighs less than .04 ounces and is approximately .04 inches long, about the size of a poppyseed. Early in week 4, you may experience some spotting. I did and during my first pregnancy, this absolutely freaked me out. However, I’ve learned since then that spotting can actually be a good thing: implantation bleeding occurs when your little embryo burrows into the lining of your uterus.
Development of Amniotic Sac and Placenta
Later in the week, your baby’s amniotic sac and placenta begin to develop. In fact, the cells of the embryo will divide in two: half of the cells will be devoted to the formation of the placenta, while the other half will form your baby. At this point, I began to experience extreme fatigue, and you definitely may as well. All of your energy is being devoted to the formation of the placenta — you’re growing a whole new organ — which helps sustain your baby’s life throughout your pregnancy.
Early Embryonic Development
In other news, because humans are triploblastic, your baby will be developing into three distinct layers: the endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. The endoderm will transform into the organs of the digestive system along with the bladder and pancreas. The mesoderm will develop into your baby’s heart, bones, muscles, and blood vessels. And the ectoderm will form the ever-important brain, nervous system, and spine. Your little one sure is a smart one.
Fun Fact About Pregnancy
Giraffes deliver their young standing up — talk about a trust fall!
My Pregnancy Belly Progression
Check out my 1-month pregnant belly. I’m not seeing much of a bump at all yet, but of course, that’s to be expected. Everyone’s baby bumps are unique, so don’t worry if you feel bigger or smaller than you might’ve expected.
When Should I Buy Maternity Clothing?
Whether you’re dreading growing out of your favorite pair of jeans or you can’t wait to go on a pregnancy shopping spree, you may be wondering when you should start buying maternity clothing. If you can wait this long, it is best to wait until the second trimester before you buy anything. Early in the second trimester of my prior pregnancies, I purchased some of the maternity basics I knew I would need. I plan to follow the same maternity clothing strategy with this pregnancy and to buy more later as needed. For the time being, I am relying largely on my go-to favorite attire, yoga clothes. If this is your first pregnancy, consider reaching out to friends and family and borrowing some of their old maternity clothing to save some money. Nursing dresses, maternity workout clothes, and maternity work clothes are a great place to start. Below are some tips to help get you started on your maternity clothing shopping journey!
Your Pregnancy at 4 Weeks: Prenatal Appointments
Week by Week Pregnancy Food Guide: Healthy Foods for You & Baby
Just taking a prenatal vitamin supplement every day simply won’t be enough to support you and your baby. A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential to providing proper sustenance, but it is also a huge undertaking. To help you along, each week I’ll detail one of my favorite healthy recipes. These recipes have helped me stick to a healthy diet. I’ll also tell you why certain ingredients in the recipes are so beneficial for your body.
During your pregnancy, avoid: alcohol (sorry, mama!), cold cuts, lunch meats, soft, unpasteurized cheeses, seafood high in mercury and raw fish. Check out Week 5 for more information on what not to eat during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, aim for a diet containing foods rich in calcium, complex carbohydrates, choline, iodine, zinc, protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, healthy types of fat, omega 3 fatty acids, and folate. To do so, try to consistently eat the following foods:
- avocados (monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin K, potassium, copper, Vitamin E and Vitamin C)
- berries (water, healthy carbs, Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants)
- broccoli (fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium)
- dairy products (in particular, milk and yoghurt — especially Greek yoghurt and yoghurt containing probiotic bacteria)(calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc)
- dark leafy greens (kale and spinach) (fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium)
- dried fruit (fiber, potassium, Vitamin K, iron and plant compounds)
- eggs (choline)
- fish liver oil (omega 3 fatty acids)
- legumes (lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts)(fiber, iron, folate and calcium)
- lean meat (protein, iron, choline, and other B vitamins)
- seafood that is low in mercury (especially salmon)(omega 3 fatty acids)
- sweet potatoes (Vitamin A)
- whole grains (fiber, vitamins, and plant compounds)
Quick, Healthy Snack
Healthy Banana Oat Muffins: Mix together 4 large ripe bananas (mashed), 3 cups of oats, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and any mix-ins you desire (fruit, chocolate chips, etc.). Place into muffin pan and bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees. (the Lazy Dish)
Why Sesame Seeds? Sesame seeds are very small seeds that contain lots of oils and fiber. Sesame seeds have been linked to lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of developing heart disease. In addition, sesame seeds can help keep your bones strong and healthy as well as reducing inflammation.
How Many Months Is 4 Weeks?
Although doctors don’t measure pregnancy in terms of months, since your pregnancy will be measured by the date of your last period, 4 weeks means that you are around 1 month pregnant.
Week 4 Pregnancy Checklist
- What to Expect & What to Expect When You’re Expecting – 5th Edition (2016)
- The Bump
- Baby List
- The Mama Natural Week to Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth (2017)
- Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy – Second Edition (2018)
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists