What's happening in week 4 of your pregnancy
It's still early days, many still won't know they are pregnant.
At a glance
- Your growing baby is not even 3mm long yet
- Their brain and central nervous system are beginning to take shape
- You might feel some pregnancy symptoms at 4 weeks
How big is my baby at 4 weeks?
Your growing baby is not even 3mm long yet and still not much bigger than an apple seed. Despite the tiny size there’s plenty going on as the embryo splits into three different sections!
In one section the brain and central nervous system are already beginning to take shape as their neural tubes develop. In the other two sections, the heart and circulatory system are already beginning to form and the lungs and intestines are in the very early stages of development.
How amazing is it that all this is going on totally undetectable to the outside world? (and maybe even you at this point).
Facts to know about your baby in week 4
Babies start to sleep from 4 weeks after conception
Your fertilised egg is about the size of an apple seed
An embryo's heart begins to beat just 3 weeks after conception
Before the first month of the first trimester, baby's hearing is forming
Read more on early pregnancy:
You at 4 weeks pregnant
You might feel some pregnancy symptoms at four weeks, but there is every chance you will put them down to your period being about to arrive. Your boobs might have that 'time of the month' feeling, and you might even have some spotting or light bleeding.
If you have taken a positive pregnancy test, you will need to follow it up with a visit to your GP as early as possible to get your booking appointment made with the midwife. During your first GP appointment, when you will tell you GP you're pregnant, you will be asked questions about yours and your family's pregnancy health history and given information on nutrition & wellbeing in pregnancy as well as what to expect with your ongoing antenatal care. They will then book you in for your booking appointment with your midwife which is usually around 10 weeks. Things are getting real now! Check out our newly pregnant page to find out what to expect during your first brush with maternity services.
Once you know you are pregnant, if you are a smoker you will probably be keen to ditch the cigarettes to protect your growing baby (not to mention your own health). Have a look at our diet and health in pregnancy pages for lots of info and support on this, and all aspects of health and diet.
You can also work out an approximate due date using our pregnancy due date calculator.
Facts to know about you in week 4
- Due date is calculated by counting from the first day of your last period
- As soon as you're are pregnant, your blood flow around your body increases
- Just days after conception, your breasts are already preparing for milk production
What to think about in week 4
If you are not registered with a GP or dentist in your area, now's the time to get this sorted. As soon as you've taken a positive pregnancy test, you need to visit your GP so you can get signed up with your local maternity services team. Looking after your teeth is really important in pregnancy too, as expectant mums can sometimes be more prone to problems like bleeding gums. Dental care is free when you are pregnant and remains so for 12 months after your baby is born, you're entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you're pregnant when you start your treatment. To get free NHS dental treatment, you must have:
- a MATB1 certificate issued by your midwife or GP
- a valid prescription maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
Even at this very early stage of pregnancy, there are some important things to be aware of. Implantation bleeding is something that can occur in the very early days and weeks of pregnancy. In fact, around one in every three of women can experience implantation bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy, read more in signs and symptoms below. It can be confused with having a period or a miscarriage can lead some women to believe they are not actually pregnant or have lost their baby.
When should I take a pregnancy test?
Pregnancy tests confirm your pregnancy by detecting the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) in your urine. This hormone will be present in your body around six days after fertilisation, and it takes about two weeks from conception for hCG to reach a level that will be picked up by a pregnancy test.
This usually occurs around the time your period is due, so this is an ideal time to pee on that stick! It’s important to remember that pregnancy testing at home may not always be 100% accurate though especially if you don’t follow the test instructions and test at the right time. If you do get a negative result, it’s sometimes worth doing another test a few days or week after your missed period to see if it comes back positive as the hCG levels increase.
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Signs and symptoms at 4 weeks pregnant
If around the 4 week mark of your pregnancy you notice a little bleeding, or a pink or brownish discharge, chances are it is implantation bleeding this occurs when a fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus in order to begin growing. It’s thought about one third of women experience implantation bleeding. The difficulty is that it happens at a similar time in your cycle to menstruation, so it’s often confused with having an early period. This very early sign of pregnancy is not usually a reason to be concerned; it is perfectly normal and no risk to the developing baby. However, if you are also experiencing lower abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness or vomiting you should see your doctor.
Having tender boobs early in your pregnancy is a common early symptom of pregnancy and happens as a result of a hormones surge to help support your growing baby. You’ll produce more oestrogen and progesterone – much like in the run up to your period. You may also notice early in your pregnancy blueish veins just below the skin's surface on your boobs. These are carrying nutrients and fluids from you to your baby. The best way to beat boob soreness during pregnancy is with a good, well-fitting bra.
Watch our video below on: Knowing you are pregnant