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4 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms And All You Need To Know

4 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms And All You Need To Know

For many women, they don’t experience pregnancy symptoms until a few weeks after conception starts. It’s common to notice pregnancy symptoms at 4 weeks when the body starts taking on noticeable physical and mental changes. Additionally, cells start to divide in the baby’s body that will later make up the child’s brain, spinal cord, and other body parts.

Knowing the most common pregnancy symptoms at 4 weeks could be key to experiencing a happy and healthy pregnancy. And more importantly, any mother would want to know how well their baby is developing because major changes start to occur in the baby’s life at just a few weeks.

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So, let’s take a look at some major changes for mom and baby during 4 weeks gestation as well as some tips for making sure your pregnancy progresses with ease.

1. What to Know about the Baby at 4 Weeks

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    4 weeks into your pregnancy, your little tyke truly is a little tyke. A common size for an embryo (or a blastocyst at this point in the pregnancy) is about 3mm long. If you need a better visual, your baby is about the size of a mustard or poppy seed or smaller. During this period, many things are developing for the baby. First, cells are starting to separate into 3 different parts. These 3 parts will eventually become these major body parts:

    • Brain, spinal cord, and back
    • Circulatory system
    • Lungs, stomach, and urinary system

    As far as the baby, he or she is now growing in your plush amniotic sac which will be their “house” for the next several months. Your placenta is also developing at this time along the uterine walls. The placenta will send vitamins, nutrients, and oxygen to the baby in the amniotic sac via the umbilical cord.

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    2. How Your Body Is Changing and Common Pregnancy Symptoms at 4 Weeks

    Pregnancy symptoms at 4 weeks are non-existent for some mothers but hit like a ton of bricks for others. At 4 weeks, one of the most common symptoms is the lack of a period or a very spotty one. If the latter, this is likely due to the embryo detaching from the uterine lining. Hence, why you may see light spotting as opposed to typical menstrual blood flow.

    Physically, you may experience a wave of fatigue. What is usually a normal 8 hours of sleep turns into 13. While there are conflicting medical reasons to pregnancy fatigue, many blame it on higher than usual levels of progesterone.

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    Fluctuating hormonal levels could also mean larger, tender breasts, too. Sky-rocketing estrogen and progesterone levels are preparing your breasts for milk production so swollen boobs are to be expected.

    Lastly, you may find yourself snapping at everyone! Moodiness is also one of the most common expected pregnancy symptoms at 4 weeks. The heightened levels of hormones mean the neurotransmitters in your brain are reacting differently to certain stimuli.

    3. Tips to Consider When You’re 4 Weeks Pregnant

    Pregnant woman in the process of washing a batch of assorted produce prior to the preparation of a salad

      Outside from the many physical changes you and your baby are experiencing at 4 weeks, there are several tips you can take advantage of to ensure this phase progresses smoothly.

      • Ditch the bad habits NOW! Because of the very crucial developments taking place with your baby, it’s vital that you cease with your unsavory habits now. Smoking and drinking are the first things to cross off your list. Carbon monoxide and alcohol could severely damage the baby’s neurological development, so shelve the Virginia Slims and Bourbon immediately! If you enjoy strenuous workouts, ease up a little. Consider a brisk walk to a hyperactive run. Trade your weight lifting classes for yoga or aerobics. Your body is catering to a delicate being so now is definitely the time to start taking it easy.
      • Take your vitamins seriously. At 4 weeks, you and your baby will need many nutrients to ensure a healthy pregnancy for the next several months. Start taking in more folic acid to prevent neurologic birth defects. Up your calcium game to strengthen your baby’s bones as well as yours. Foods with iron are a great way to ensure your baby gets plenty of extra oxygen through the bloodstream. Lastly, consider taking iodine supplements. Iodine is helpful to prevent severe mental and physical deformities, as well as preventing miscarriages and stillbirths. An easy way to get all of these vitamins and more is through prenatal supplements. Your OBGYN can provide them or you can get them over-the-counter.
      • Ease up on the junk food. Everyone enjoys a nice burger and fries occasionally, but now is the time to leave McDonald’s and Burger King in the fry cooker. Reduce the burgers and upgrade to more lean meats like white chicken and fish at 4 weeks. And you’ll want to maintain a healthier diet throughout your pregnancy. Lean meats, leafy greens, and fruits will provide an abundant amount of crucial nutrients, including the ones listed above. Junk food often comes loaded with sodium, sugar, fat (not the good kind!) and other foulness that could wreak havoc on your heart health. And what affects your body will affect your baby.
      • Get a due date. While some medical professionals advise against visiting the OBGYN at 4 weeks (some say to make a first appointment at 8 weeks), it may be a good idea to get an approximate due date at 4 weeks. This will come in handy when considering other major events in your life. Are you buying a house? If so, you know to have something large enough for you and your growing family come the baby’s birthday. Knowing the baby’s introduction date will provide you the time frame to start financially planning for your new addition. Many parents take this time to consider 529 education accounts for their children, life insurance policies, and other financial safety nets. Additionally, become familiar with the pregnancy leave policy at work. Knowing how much time you have for leave will provide you the peace of mind in planning for your little one’s arrival.

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      Published on September 10, 2020

      How to Be a Better Parent: 11 Things to Remember

      How to Be a Better Parent: 11 Things to Remember

      Two of the most challenging jobs in the world are raising a human being and being the best parent possible for them. Raising a child without implementing specific rules is not enough, however. The job has to be done in such a way that when you’re “done,” you’ve already created a loving, responsible, self-sufficient, kind-hearted, thoughtful, empathic, and respectful persona. Hence, it is ideal to lower the bar a little and start learning how to be a better parent.

      Don’t get me wrong; mistakes will be made along the way. You won’t be perfect, regardless of how hard you try.

      And no matter how great a job you do, your child may have issues beyond your control. Remember, they will be born with a will of their own that may conflict with yours. Nevertheless, carrying out the following tips will provide you with the best chance to create a fantastic human being of whom you can be proud.

      1. Listen

      I knew a couple who had a daughter. She was smart, sweet, and as cute as a button, but her parents were old school. They believed the adage that a child should be seen and not heard. She might as well have been a doll in a curio cabinet. Unfortunately, this little girl had a lot of exciting ideas and things to say. I knew this because she would share them with me on the occasions that we were alone.

      Children are interesting, funny, and curious, and they look upon you — their parent — as a hero. They have a wealth of knowledge and a great perspective on life. Listening to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can offer. They will feel valued and grow up knowing that they matter.

      It’s not always easy to listen. Sometimes, children will carry on without saying anything profound. But if they believe you’re listening, they will feel important and provide you with amazing nuggets of information.

      Note: Make a real and honest effort when you are listening to your children. Don’t listen while multitasking and muttering, “Hmm, that’s nice, dear!”

      Sadly, I’ve seen lots of parents on their phones, their heads buried in Facebook or Instagram feed, while their child tries unsuccessfully to get their attention. In his book, The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck, M. D., wrote, “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time. True listening, total concentration on the other, is always a manifestation of love.”

      2. Provide Unconditional Love

      I knew a mother who loved her son so much, but her love came at a high price. When he behaved as she expected him to — getting recognition for being a star athlete or academic achievements — she showered him with love. In truth, she bragged and put up framed newspaper articles of her son’s accomplishments.

      That same boy, though, went through a rough patch when he was a senior, becoming unruly and hostile. Down came the framed article, and up came the silent treatment.

      Providing unconditional love creates a secure bond and a healthy person. Knowing you have your parent’s love no matter what makes a fantastic anchor for the child. They know they can mess up and still be loved. They know they can come to you with their worst offenses, and while you might get upset, your love will remain intact.

      3. Teach by Example

      Children watch and listen to you very closely. You may think that they’re not paying attention, that they’re in the other room, playing with their Legos, but they are listening.

      If you want to teach your child, lead by example.

      For instance, if you want them to eat healthy foods, eat healthy foods. If you don’t want them to pick up bad habits, like smoking, don’t smoke. If you don’t want them to be violent, be peaceful. If you wish to raise a trustworthy child, keep your word.[1]

      If you want to teach your child how to communicate, speak kindly and listen with an open heart. Whatever you want your child to learn, be willing to do it yourself. You are the best teacher for the job!

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      4. Spend Time Together Often

      Life is full of work, errands, get-togethers, appointments, etc. It’s easy to get lost in all the hustle and bustle and not leave enough time for your children. I know busy parents who set their children down on the couch to watch TV or play with an iPad while they’re working.

      Occasionally, that isn’t a bad thing. But regularly, it can create a gap between you and your child.

      You can avoid being an absentee parent by spending time with your children every day. Talk to them about anything; ask about their day. If you can, allow them to help you with household chores. E.g., cleaning, folding laundry or stacking dishes in the dishwasher.

      They’ll feel good when they know you need them, and you can use this as a family bonding opportunity.

      5. Follow Through

      Follow through creates trust in your child. They will believe that what you say you’re going to do will genuinely be done.

      Children are very perceptive. Let me reiterate: they are always watching and listening.

      For instance, I was on a walk one afternoon with my granddaughter and her parents. The little girl was asked if she wanted to ride the stroller, and she replied, “No, I want to walk.”

      My daughter-in-law responded, “Okay, but if you get tired, I’m not carrying you! Understood?”

      After about 15 minutes, my granddaughter complained that her legs hurt. She started whining and complaining. When my daughter-in-law picked her up, she commented, “I thought you said you weren’t going to pick me up?”

      My daughter-in-law did not follow through, and her daughter knew it. She was only four years old.

      You see, when parents say things and end up not doing them, they become empty threats — words without any back-up.

      Following through is critical in raising a responsible adult. You need to be kind, clear, and concise.

      The child has to know that you mean business. If you tell them they’re not having a sleepover unless their homework is done, then the homework better be done. If it’s not, there will be no sleepover.

      It doesn’t matter if you had plans with your friends or a date with your husband. Just make sure that whatever the consequences are for your kids’ bad behavior, you can back it up with action.

      6. Focus on Positive Qualities

      There is an old American proverb that says, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease/oil.” It is used to communicate the notion that the most clamorous problems are the ones that will more than likely get noticed.

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      If your child is well-behaved and minding their own business, you might be tempted to let them be. On the other hand, if they are acting out and making a raucous, they may get a lot of attention.

      This sends the message that the kids have to misbehave before you focus on them. Bad attention, after all, is better than no attention.

      Positive attention is paramount. If you only pay attention to your child’s negative behavior while ignoring their positive qualities, you are robbing them the chance of being their best selves.

      Simply notice all the things you love about your kids and minimize the criticisms. That’s especially essential when you have children between the ages 0 and 5. Since they are impressionable, whatever you say often will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

      Here are more ideas on how to think positively despite the circumstance: Turn to the Bright Side: 10 Ways to Encourage Post-Incident Positive Thinking

      7. Apologize When Necessary

      We all make mistakes. There are some parents, however, who don’t apologize no matter how many mistakes they make with their children. They incorrectly assume that apologizing is a sign of weakness.

      Well, nothing could be farther from the truth. As we have learned before,[2]

      “Apologizing to your child is a sign of respect for the overall relationship you have with him.”

      Making mistakes is human. I guarantee you that your child will not think less of you. If you fail to apologize, you miss out on a teachable moment about the importance of taking responsibility. After all, you want your child to apologize when they do something wrong.

      If the kids lie, lash out at another child, or break something of value, you want them to own up to it and apologize for what’s happened. It is during these moments that you teach your child that an apology is the right course of action. If you don’t do the same thing, what exactly are you teaching them?

      You may find it difficult to apologize because you feel superior or fear losing your authority. In truth, your child will see you as a human, and they may feel closer to you than ever.

      Show your kid that no one is perfect, that you all make mistakes in life. Apologies can correct so many wrongs. Just a few simple words can cure the worst transgressions.

      A word for the wise: put your ego aside. Say you’re sorry and move on. If you can do that, you will be building a strong relationship — one based on love and respect — with your children.

      8. Allow Kids to Be Who They Want to Be

      My maternal grandfather, Pánfilo D. Camacho, was a lawyer and author in Havana, Cuba.[3] He expected my uncle, Jorge Camacho, to follow in his footsteps.[4] My uncle, however, wanted to be an artist and fulfill his dreams in Paris, France.

      At the time, my grandfather did not see art as a “real job” or something that could provide security. Despite knowing how his father felt, my uncle met with him and explained that his goals. Thankfully, my grandfather thought about it and gave his only son his blessing. He also helped with all the necessary expenses to get my uncle to Paris and study with the best of the best.

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      My uncle became a very celebrated artist in France. Jorge Camacho’s amazing surrealist art is still sold today.

      This scenario could have played out quite differently if my grandfather dug in his heels. He could have forced my uncle to become a lawyer just like him.

      Fortunately, he realized that allowing my uncle to be who he wanted to be was the right thing to do. And it was. My uncle was grateful and made a name for himself. My grandfather was proud, and their relationship grew strong.

      Allow your child to be who they want to be, not who you think they should be. After all, it is their life — their journey. You’re just there to watch and provide guidance whenever necessary.

      9. Grow Along With Your Children

      Children grow and evolve, just like us. It’s important to grow with them and adjust the way you discipline and talk to them.

      For example, if your 4-year-old misbehaves by bending the truth or whining, you may ignore their antics and stay calm with regards to the lying. This is common for this age group.

      If you’re dealing with an 8-year-old, your child understands the difference between right and wrong and looks to you for guidance.[5]

      Meanwhile, teens need to be addressed in another way. That is a difficult and challenging age group — one that deserves great care and attention. You cannot talk to your 16-year-old as if they were still 9!

      10. Validate Their Feelings

      While growing up, lots of things that generate a multitude of feelings happen. As a parent, you want to take the time to validate your child’s feelings. Don’t be dismissive and act like their feelings are not important.

      The other day, my 8.5-year-old granddaughter came over. I could see that she’d been crying. When I asked if she was, she looked at me with sad eyes. My granddaughter informed me that she missed her best friend whom she hadn’t seen for almost six months since the community quarantine began.

      I didn’t say, “Don’t worry about it; you’ll see her someday! Now, run along.” Nope. I looked her in the eye and said, “It must be so tough not to see your best friend for such a long time.”

      My granddaughter’s eyes welled up with tears as she nodded. I validated her feelings, and she felt heard. As it turned out, her little friend was allowed to visit the next day. She came over to my house again, but this time, she exclaimed, “This is the happiest day of my quarantine!”

      If you do not validate your child’s feelings, they will think that their feelings are unimportant and learn not to share them at all. You don’t want that, of course.

      You want to have your finger on the pulse of their emotions. You need to make sure they come to you in the future when heavier things come down the pipe.

      Here’s an example of WHAT NOT TO SAY: Your teenage daughter comes to you and utters, “Richard broke up with me. I’m devastated!” Then, you reply, “Don’t worry about it! There is plenty of fish in the sea — probably even better ones. You’re too young anyway.” You might as well have stabbed her in the heart.

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      Instead of doing that, try saying, “That is heartbreaking. You must really be hurting. If you want to talk, I’m here to listen.”

      Listen and communicate with compassion.

      11. Ask Open-Ended Questions

      Whenever I used to pick up my 16-year-old grandson from school, I’d make the mistake of asking, “How was school today?”

      You can probably guess the answer. It was always the same, “Good!” Just one lonely word.

      So, I decided on another approach: asking open-ended questions. The next time I picked him up, I asked, “So, what was the best part of your day?”

      It was impossible for my grandson to just reply, “Good.” He was forced to stop and think about some incidents that already happened. It doesn’t matter what they tell you; the key is to get them to talk. That’s how you learn what’s going on in their lives.

      This not only works with children but also with adults. For example, when you ask someone, “Do you like your job?”, they may answer yes or no. But if you say, “What do you like or dislike about your job?”, you’ll get a lot of information.

      Open-ended questions are the key to getting more information than you’ll know what to do with!

      Final Thoughts

      Being a good and responsible parent can be one of the most rewarding tasks in the world. It is not effortless, however. It takes a lot of work and patience.

      Implementing the above-mentioned 11 suggestions won’t guarantee a perfect family, but you will have a solid base to build and grow upon.

      Your child is a reflection of you. What do you wish them to reflect?

      Learn how to be a better parent and help produce a legacy of outstanding humans.

      More on Improving Your Parenting Skills

      Featured photo credit: Gabe Pierce via unsplash.com

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