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6 Telltale Signs Of Pregnancy At 4 Weeks

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Signs Of Pregnancy At Four Weeks

At 4 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is just about 1.98 millimeters. At this stage, a home pregnancy test may or may not show positive depending on the level of hCG hormone in your blood. Many symptoms at this stage are similar to those of an oncoming period, like breast tenderness and cramps, and might include lower-back aches and headaches.

If you are trying to get pregnant, you probably have a home pregnancy test on standby and are waiting for the first missed day of your period to take it. While you may think that you are just newly stepping into pregnancy at 2 weeks, for clinical purposes, you are 4 weeks pregnant.

Yes, as far as your OB-GYN is concerned, the pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last normal period. However, the development of the fetus does not begin until conception, which for most women is about 2 weeks after their period. This standard protocol is followed because it can be very difficult to know exactly when conception actually occurred.1

Don’t expect to feel anything yet as your baby is very tiny. Measuring at just about 1.98 millimeters, the fetus will be no bigger than a poppy seed at this stage.2

Will A Pregnancy Test Be Positive At 4 Weeks?

The first sign of being 4 weeks pregnant is a missed period, obviously. A pregnancy test at this stage can largely be successful in confirming whether you are pregnant or not.

The history of home pregnancy test kits parallels the development of laboratory tests for urinary human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is the hormone that elevates in your body during pregnancy. The accuracy of home pregnancy test kits is claimed to be 97–99 percent by the manufacturers.3

  • If a test is not positive, you may not have high enough levels of HCG as yet; so you can try again after a week or two.
  • A faint second line on a pregnancy test also suggests that though you are pregnant, the hormone is not enough to be detected by the test. Usually, HCG will peak by the 11th day after conception in most normal pregnancies.4

For best results, you should use the first urine of the day as it has higher HCG concentration.5

What Are The Signs Of Pregnancy At This Stage?

Here are some signs of pregnancy at 4 weeks that may urge you to take a pregnancy test or schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN.

1. Breast Tenderness

For most women, breast tenderness will feel similar to the kind you experience just before your periods. So you may feel your periods are en route.

This is just the beginning, and the tenderness will increase in the coming weeks and also lead to an increase in breast size as well as darkening of the nipples and areola.6

2. Lower Backache And Cramps

These symptoms may again be similar to those you go through before your period. During pregnancy, your blood volume goes up and is directed to your uterus. This may cause lower back aches and cramps.

3. Bloating

It won’t be very visible, but some women may start experiencing bloating in early pregnancy at 4 weeks. The reasons for this include changes in water absorption, mechanical factors, dietary factors, reduced physical activity, and particularly hormonal effects on gastrointestinal motility.7

4. Morning Sickness

Well, this one is a misnomer since morning sickness can strike at any time of the day. Officially known as nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), it is experienced by most pregnant women at 4 weeks of pregnancy and beyond.

Morning sickness is the result of the rising levels of HCG during pregnancy. Many believe that this increase leads to stimulated estrogen production, which increases nausea and vomiting. It starts when you are around 4–5 weeks pregnant and usually peaks at around 9 weeks.8

5. Slight Bleeding

Bleeding in early pregnancy may not always signal a miscarriage. Light bleeding and spotting is common at this stage. So do not panic, as a study reports that most women who notice vaginal bleeding go on to have successful pregnancies.

Though rare, sometimes, when the fertilized egg attaches to the walls of the uterus, it can cause a bit of vaginal bleeding known as implantation bleeding. You will most definitely not mistake it for your period.9

6. Headaches

All those surges of hormones not only make you nauseous but are also the reason behind your headaches. You may not necessarily experience them at 4 weeks; it may happen during the coming few weeks of pregnancy.10

Headaches generally improve with rising estrogen levels and worsen with falling levels. Therefore, they are more commonly experienced in the early weeks.11

References   [ + ]

1. Pregnancy Week 1 & 2, American Pregnancy Association
2. Pregnancy Week 4, American Pregnancy Association
3. Bastian, Lori A., Kavita Nanda, Vic Hasselblad, and David L. Simel. “Diagnostic efficiency of home pregnancy test kits: a meta-analysis.” Archives of family medicine 7, no. 5 (1998): 465.
4. Lenton, Elizabeth A., Linda M. Neal, and Rafida Sulaiman. “Plasma concentrations of human chorionic gonadotropin from the time of implantation until the second week of pregnancy.” Fertility and sterility 37, no. 6 (1982): 773-778.
5, 9. Harville, E. W., A. J. Wilcox, D. D. Baird, and C. R. Weinberg. “Vaginal bleeding in very early pregnancy.” Human Reproduction 18, no. 9 (2003): 1944-1947.
6. Meyer, Lesley C., Janet L. Peacock, J. Martin Bland, and H. Ross Anderson. “Symptoms and health problems in pregnancy: their association with social factors, smoking, alcohol, caffeine and attitude to pregnancy.” Paediatric and perinatal epidemiology 8, no. 2 (1994): 145-155.
7. Keller, Jutta, Dorothea Frederking, and Peter Layer. “The spectrum and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders during pregnancy.” Nature clinical practice Gastroenterology & hepatology 5, no. 8 (2008): 430-443.
8. Niebyl, Jennifer R. “Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.” New England Journal of Medicine 363, no. 16 (2010): 1544-1550.
10. What are some common signs of pregnancy? NIH
11. Marcus, Dawn A., Lisa Scharff, and Dennis Turk. “Longitudinal prospective study of headache during pregnancy and postpartum.” Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 39, no. 9 (1999): 625-632.