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4 Weeks Pregnant


Image: Fetal Development At 4 Weeks

In Week Four you’ll most probably be unaware that you’re expecting, as you won’t be experiencing morning sickness or cravings. But if you’ve been planning for conception and monitoring your basal temperature in the mornings, you’ll notice that your body heat stays elevated beyond your ovulating period. This will be the first physical sign of your pregnancy.

By now your little zygote has made its way to your womb and is getting ready to imbed itself in the lining of the uterus. This is known as implantation. As this zygote, or blastocyst, is implanting itself, a hormone called chorionic gonadotrophin is released which will stop your period and show up in your urine indicating pregnancy – hooray!

Meanwhile, your remarkable body is already producing Early Pregnancy Factor protein (EPF), which will stop your system from rejecting your little implanted zygote. Some women experience a little bit of spotting at this time. This is known as implantation bleeding and it’s not unhealthy. However if you experience other, heavier bleeding it is best to consult a doctor or midwife.

Remember to spend as much time as possible relaxing as a couple at this time. Often the pressure of trying to conceive can take its toll, so you may want to treat yourself to a meal out, or even a weekend away. If you already know you’re pregnant, it’s the perfect way to celebrate!

Can I eat out when I’m pregnant?
Yes that should be fine, but you need to be mindful of where you go and what you eat. Bear in mind that the cheaper the restaurant, the lower the hygiene and food standards are likely to be.

Plus there are some foods in pregnancy that you should avoid altogether, such as undercooked eggs, unpasteurised cheese, raw meat and paté. These sorts of foods carry higher risk of infection. Enjoy your food but it’s probably best to stick to friends’ recommendations or places you know.

Is it safe for me to take hot baths in pregnancy?
We’ve all heard the rumours about hot baths during pregnancy and if you’re like most women, you’re probably wondering: are they just old wives’ tales?

Unfortunately for those mums-to-be who like to relax in the steam, there is actually some truth in this advice. While the de-stressing, pain-relieving effects of hot soaks are well-known, animal studies have indicated that big increases in body temperature (such as those induced by a hot bath) could cause offspring birth defects.

This is especially the case during the early months of pregnancy. Associated birth defects may be those that affect the brain and spine and are known as Neural Tube Defects (NTD) – for example spina bifida.

Hot baths during pregnancy may also induce faintness or nausea, because the heat can lower your blood pressure too much. Low blood pressure can affect blood flow to your baby, which is risky at any stage of pregnancy.

If you really want to have a bath, test the temperature by dipping your elbow into the water. This part of the body is more sensitive to temperature than most of the rest. It shouldn’t be the sort of temperature that makes you sweat or reddens your skin and you shouldn’t have to get in slowly or bit by bit.

Saunas and hot tubs are more unsafe because they maintain a constant high temperature – avoid them altogether during pregnancy.