4 weeks pregnant – First month of pregnancy
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I was only a week late for my period, but I had known straight away that something was not quite right with my insides. I didn’t experience any of the normal PMS symptoms (except for the mood swings), and I wasn’t bloated like I normally am in the run up to my period. Was I stressed? Did I have my dates wrong? Were my husband and I careful?
I confided in hubby, who insisted that we wait a few more days before I bought a pregnancy test kit, as we had experienced multiple scares before, and the result was always the same – a late welcome from Aunt Flo and Cousin Red. However, this time, something inside had told me not to wait any longer because I felt different. That night, I sucked in my stomach as I stared at myself in the mirror and reassured my reflection that there was no way I was pregnant. I couldn’t sleep that night…
I had never been so shocked in my entire life when I glanced at the results of the first pregnancy test with one eye open and it was a big fat positive! I almost fell over the toilet when I tested myself the second time and the Clearblue Pregnancy Test told me that I was 2-3 weeks pregnant (or 4-5 weeks based on my period cycle).
My husband and I looked at each other, stunned. When it had finally sunk in, after a moment or two, our facial paralysis slowly softened to smiles. After all this freaking out – or lack thereof – our reactions were one of joy! I never, ever thought that I would experience elation upon finding out about my pregnancy. However, this ginormous,
I had started temping at an international legal consultancy firm and was earning my keep that way. I really wanted this job to last until December, otherwise, I would have to go on the job hunt again and I wasn’t a particularly desirable candidate, so finding a job would prove even more difficult than normal. Why did I quit my PERMANENT full-time job in February…?
As I had found out so early on that I was pregnant, waiting a further two months for medical confirmation from the doctor was going to prove difficult, as I was already growing impatient. So, I downloaded the iPregnancy app for the iPhone, which had predicted that I was due on 10 December 2010. I had swiped through forthcoming weeks and got to as far as 20 weeks before I had to put the iPhone down. I was now massively overwhelmed, yet I couldn’t pinpoint exactly how I was feeling.
We phoned our parents to tell them the news. I could hear my mum squealing with glee in the background that she was going to become a grandmother, while my dad had suddenly lost the use of his voice. But, it hadn’t really sunk in for me yet. And, in the back of my mind, I was worried that telling our families was putting a hex on the pregnancy a little bit. I was only four weeks pregnant, so literally anything can happen from now, right? Should I be thinking about the possibility of miscarriage?
A little word of advice – take each week one step at a time. If your pregnancy was unplanned, like mine, you’ll either freak out at the way your body will change or you’ll become increasingly excited at what’s in store for you from now on, but become overwhelmed with all this new information to process. I just freaked out…
A fun fact – Your baby is a ball of cells (an embryo) – about the size of an apple pip!
The science part
Your baby at 4 weeks
- The embryo is now the size of a poppy seed.
- The embryo is starting to develop and grow within the lining of your womb.
- The outer cells link up to your blood supply
- The inner cells divide into two, and then later, three layers
|Inner Layer (Endoderm)||Breathing and digestive systems (lung, stomach, gut, and bladder)|
|Middle Layer (Mesoderm)||Heart, blood vessels, muscles, and bones|
|Outer Layer (Ectoderm)||Brain and nervous system, the eye lenses, tooth enamel, skin, and nails.|
- The embryo receives nourishment from a tiny yolk sac, which, in a few weeks later, will form into the placenta.
- Your baby will be less than 3cm long.
Your pregnancy signs and symptoms
- If you haven’t done so already, take a home pregnancy test to confirm that you are pregnant.
- Your pregnancy is calculated from the date of your last period.
- Your body will change, but you may not notice any symptoms yet.
- You may experience tender breasts and slight bleeding.
- You will need to book an appointment with your GP if you haven’t done so already, so that doctors can perform a brief check-up, including taking a urine sample to check for any urinary tract infections.
- Your doctor should explain about antenatal care, lifestyle and nutritional advice.
- You should start taking folic acid daily to protect the baby from spinal cord defects like Spina Bifida. You can take supplements like Vitabiotics Pregnacare which contain the right amount of folic acid for you to take every day.
Your next steps
- Once you receive a positive pregnancy test, call your doctor or midwife to set up your first prenatal appointment
- Start eating whole foods and avoid smoking and alcohol
- If you haven’t done so already, start taking a prenatal vitamin
- Exercise is a great way to ease you into pregnancy and keep both you and the baby healthy. You should be able to do the
actvitiesyou did before, but speak to your doctor about any vigorous exercises to see if changes to your routine are necessary.
Note: These are just general ideas of how you and your baby are getting on. Don’t forget that every baby develops differently. If you are concerned about your baby’s development, please consult your doctor or midwife.
*Illustrations by Charlotte Watkins.
If you have any questions about her work, please contact Charlotte via her website, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn*
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