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Welcome to the Pregged pregnancy week-by-week series. Each week-by-week post is separated into three handy sections.
1. Mom – Section one covers the changes mom will experience and the things she may need to consider health-wise.
2. Baby – Section two looks at the development of the fetus and what’s going on with baby inside the womb.
3. Nutrition – Section three covers nutrition for each week of pregnancy so that you know what foods are important to include in your diet at each stage.
4 Weeks Pregnant – Mom
Finally we’re here! At week 4 you can discover if you’re pregnant.
About the time of your expected period is when the pregnancy hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is released into your blood stream. It shows up in the urine a few days later.
This is the hormone that home pregnancy tests are on the look out for and the one that is going to show a positive pregnancy test result.
So if you haven’t already, it’s time to buy a test or two.
HCG levels continue to rise in early pregnancy, doubling every 2-3 days. The HCG triggers the egg sac that was left behind in the ovary to start the production of progesterone.
This hormone is made until the placenta gets into full gear around 12-13 weeks and takes over as the new command station that nourishes and protects the baby in the womb.
The placenta can grow to weigh about a third of the baby’s final weight.
Along with the rise in your hormone levels, you may have started to experience some mild pregnancy symptoms.
You might notice breast changes, or fatigue, or bloating, or some of the myriad of other potential symptoms.
The size of the baby at this point is about as big as a kiwi seed.
Cells separate into three types to form different organs and tissues of the body.
Technically, your tiny embryo is called an embryo once the blastocyst implants into the wall of the uterus and creates the placenta and amniotic sac.
The placenta is starting to form and will become a plate-like structure that ends up looking like a thickened pancake that lays adjacent to the uterine lining.
Here, the blood vessels of the placenta intermingle with your blood and pick up oxygen and nutrients to take to the embryo via the umbilical cord.
The placenta makes the fluid for the amniotic sac until the kidneys takeover later.
This embryonic period lasts until 11 weeks of pregnancy when your little person becomes a fetus.
All the organs are forming, moving to the right general location, and some even begin to work – including the heart (although it’s too small to see it beating yet).
Progesterone, estrogen, and HCG are rapidly increasing. The HCG should double every two days to be considered a healthy pregnancy.
This is a significant time for the embryo as new organs are forming, making it essential to stay away from toxins, drugs, and alcohol at all costs.
Pregnancy Nutrition Week 4
You’re not no longer alone. You are now taking care of two lives – your own and your little one’s.
Focus on the nutrient-rich foods and healthy habits that will keep you and your baby thriving for the whole nine months.
Baby’s brain and neurological health is boosted by the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil tablets and many foods.
Language skills and vision are enhanced as well.
Flaxseed oil and walnuts are good sources of ALA, one of the three omega-3 fats. But fatty fish is the only reliable source of the two more important omega-3s, EPA and DHA.
Choose fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids but low in mercury, which can harm the nervous system of a fetus.
Varieties to avoid include shark, swordfish, mackerel, and tuna. If you’re just not ready to give up tuna, the canned light option is safer than white albacore.
Top picks for high-fat, low-mercury fish include wild Alaskan salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies. Fish oil supplements are also safe, and Omega 3’s are present in most prenatal vitamins.