In the 4th week of pregnancy, the baby is a tiny little ball of cells. Read on to discover the signs of pregnancy that may now occur and why you should really look after yourself at this stage.
The little ball of cells, known as a blastocyst, buries itself deeper into the uterus. The yolk sac, amniotic sac and placenta develop. The baby is supplied with oxygen and nutrients through the placenta, which also removes the metabolic residues.
The baby is still microscopically small – about the size of a poppy seed.
The pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is produced. This ensures that the mucous membrane remains nicely intact, and no further menstrual bleeding is possible.
External influences such as infections, drugs, excessive stress, alcohol or nicotine can disrupt the pregnancy or harm the embryo. This can cause an early miscarriage. The bleeding can be like a heavy period, so some women never even realise they had been pregnant.
If all goes well, the miracle of life continues in its wonderful way. The cells of the blastocyst are already starting to specialise. However, an ultrasound will still only show the amniotic cavity as a shadow.
Even though you might still be feeling "quite normal", you have entered a very delicate phase of your pregnancy. You need to take especially good care of yourself: protect yourself against infection with good hygiene, avoid unnecessary stress, make sure you get enough sleep and eat healthily.
You need to be very careful when preparing food and when eating to avoid catching listeria or toxoplasmosis. Make sure you heat food until piping hot and wash everything thoroughly. Avoid unpasteurised milk products and raw meat, raw fish and cured meats.
The elevated progesterone level causes a slight temperature rise, the milk glands harden and more fluid collects in the tissue – many women recognise this as signs that their period is imminent.
Painful breasts and very sensitive nipples are the first signs of pregnancy for some women. Severe fatigue and a frequent urge to urinate are other indicators of successful implantation.
If you record your cycle by monitoring your temperature, you might notice that the temperature peak lasts longer than normal. If it exceeds 18 days, you can usually assume that you are pregnant.
Even early tests can now indicate a pregnancy – these measure the HCG concentration in your urine. This is particularly high in the mornings, so you should ideally do a test as soon as you get up. If the test is negative, however, this does not necessarily mean that it hasn't worked. The quality of the tests and your hormone production can fluctuate, so there is only one thing for it: you will have to be patient!
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