Bump Update: Week 4
By now, you may have already gotten a positive pregnancy test since your body is now producing enough HCG to show up on most home urine tests. If the test comes back negative, but you feel like you might be pregnant, wait another week before taking another test. By five weeks, a home pregnancy test is fairly accurate.
Once you find out you're pregnant, it's good to make an appointment with your chosen midwife or OBGYN. Most providers wait until about nine weeks for the first appointment, although high-risk pregnancies may call for an earlier appointment. Early and consistent prenatal care is one of the best things you can do for yourself and baby during this important time, so shop around and find a provider you feel good about.
If you've just discovered you're pregnant, congratulations! You're now in your fourth week of pregnancy, and just beginning one of the most important stages in development. Although it's early on in your pregnancy, there's a whole lot going on deep inside your uterus.
Early pregnancy symptoms include sore nipples and nausea, but most women experience the former before morning sickness sets in. Remember to take your prenatal vitamin each day so as to provide your body with essential nutrients, including folic acid which greatly lowers baby's chances of developing neural tube defects.
You may also start to feel some fatigue as your body is doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work that may or may not produce symptoms yet. Talk to your provider about any symptoms that concern you, and feel free to ask them any questions you may have.
For now, stay calm and enjoy this special news with your spouse as you wrap your head around a baby growing in your belly. In the meantime, be sure to eat well, get enough sleep, and keep taking your prenatal vitamin. Congratulations, mommy!
The big developments this week are the primitive placenta or yolk sac, and, of course, your sweet, little baby! Weeks 4-10 mark what's called the "embryonic stage," which is when baby is most vulnerable to outside interference via medications. If you are already taking prescription or over-the-counter meds, ask your provider whether it's safe to continue using them. It's usually best to continue your anti-depressants, or other such medications, until you've consulted with your provider about the best choice going forward.
During week four, the yolk sac pushes deeper into the lining of your uterus to make way for the developing placenta and blood flow. In addition, the yolk sac is also responsible for making baby's red blood cells, meaning it brings in nutrients until the placenta is fully formed and ready to take over the task.
The other part of your baby is the embryo itself, made up of two layers: the epiblast and hypoblast. All of your baby's organs and body develop from this one little piece, and it starts to show a "primitive streak" where the cells are migrating inward.
Last but not least, we have the amniotic sac. Although this is fairly new, it protects the embryo and yolk sac, and will continue to house and grow with your baby as it develops. Thankfully, baby has plenty of space inside the amniotic sac still, leaving a cavity between embryo and the amniotic sac's wall.
Spend some special time with your spouse to fully appreciate the news that you are expecting a child together. Cherish this time, and cherish the secret, before you have to tell other people and hear their advice and (sometimes undesirable) reactions.