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Week 4 of Pregnancy: Symptoms And Tips

Even when you're already at the 4th week of your pregnancy journey, you might not see nor feel that many symptoms yet. Learn more about them as we give you a guide here.

Being 4 weeks pregnant means you are in the first trimester and about to complete one month of pregnancy. At this point, you probably don't look pregnant yet. Most first-time mums don't show any indications of pregnancy until at least week 12. However, if you've had babies before, you may start showing sooner as the muscles in your womb and belly may already have been stretched from your previous pregnancy.

Here are some symptoms you may experience when you're 4 weeks pregnant:

  • Missed menstrual cycle
  • Bloating and feeling of being bloated
  • Unusually fatigued or exhausted
  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Heightened sense of smell and hypersensitivity
  • Mild cramping (abdominal pain) and vaginal spotting

Note: The presence of blood could mean implantation bleeding, where implantation of the embryo has taken place. Please see your doctor if you get bleeding during pregnancy to get a proper medical diagnosis.

During the first trimester, some pregnant women might not feel any symptoms at all. But in the coming weeks, they are likely to experience the following:

  • Morning sickness, nausea or even cluster headache
  • New likes and dislikes (food aversions)
  • Frequent urination or 'overactive' bladder
  • Constipation and problems with digestion
  • Emotional changes such as anxiety and mood swings

If you think you could be pregnant but haven't noticed any of the usual signs and symptoms of pregnancy, do keep in mind that there is still a possibility that you might be. Every pregnancy is different and some women sail through their pregnancy without adverse effects - some even enjoy more radiant skin and luscious head of hair. Regardless, be sure to seek medical advice from your healthcare provider and schedule an appointment for testing.

Your Body at 4 Weeks

Though your child is the size of a poppy seed now, your body is going to work hard and you will experience many hormonal changes over the next eight months. The blastocyst (fertilized egg) has travelled down your fallopian tube to reach your uterus. The egg cell, surrounded by an amniotic sac filled with fluids, implants to the uterus epithelium cells, and begins to form the embryo and placenta - a temporary endocrine organ. While even men produce some human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) (0.02~0.8 IU/L) in their liver and pituitary gland, a pregnant woman produces way more in their placenta (20,000~200,000 IU/L). This is also why hCG count in urine is used in pregnancy tests. The hCG hormone is responsible for stimulating the corpus luteum, which in turn produces progesterone to maintain the pregnancy.

Your Life at 4 Weeks Pregnant

Whatever your syndrome, it's important to prioritise time for yourself. Here's a guide to help you manage your symptoms when you're 4 weeks pregnant:

1. "Me" Time

You've just learned about life-altering information - you're going to be a mother. You may not be ready to share the news yet, but do spend some time reflecting on how you feel. Write down what you're experiencing, or pen a letter to your future self. Share it with your partner or a friend over a long walk, or a quiet meal at home. Express your concerns and discuss your pregnancy symptoms. If this is your first time, parenting might feel like a faraway concept. Take it one step at a time.

2. Child-free Series Binge Watch

You may start imagining the 9 months to come and how things will be once your child arrives. It's still early. If you find your mind is going 300 miles per hour, slow down and distract yourself with some laughs from your favourite movies or TV series. Try to get plenty of rest and relaxation.

3. Feed Your Appetite

Most pregnant women will experience nausea and vomiting as some of the pregnancy symptoms. It usually doesn't start in the first few weeks. So, take this opportunity to satisfy your cravings and dine at your favourite restaurants, wearing your favourite clothes (as your clothing choice will start to narrow soon). That said, it is also a good time to cut down on the consumption of vices such as alcohol and smoking, which contains toxins that will adversely affect the embryo's health and development even at this stage.

4. Top Up on Vitamins and Nutrients

Nutrition is important even before childbirth. Though you don't have to become a medical expert overnight, it helps to learn what your body needs at this point. Folic acid plays a key role in foetal blood formation and is crucial for the normal development of the neural tube, and can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine. The CDC recommends 400mg of folic acid intake every day. Getting enough Vitamin D is also essential for good health throughout your pregnancy.

While there are no 100% proven guidelines on how to eliminate morning sickness, don't stress over it. Eating small and having frequent meals help to relieve nausea. Nibble on crackers that are rich in carbohydrates. Fibre found in nuts and seeds also helps with digestion. Be sure to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration and eat foods that are rich in nutrients, minerals, and protein such as lean meat, cereal, dairy products, fresh and natural foods (fruits and vegetables).

The signs of pregnancy can differ from woman to woman. It is a good time to start building your support group for the motherhood journey ahead. When in doubt, please call on your relevant medical professional for advice.

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