Your Body at 1-8 Weeks
For many women the first sign that they are pregnant is a missed period, although women who have an irregular menstrual cycle may only decide to do a pregnancy test when they get other symptoms, for example, tiredness, tender breasts or a need to pass urine more frequently. Some women just instinctively feel 'different' and know that they are pregnant, particularly if they have been pregnant before.
The beginning of your pregnancy is dated from the first day of your last period. Therefore, when you are 4 weeks pregnant, this is actually only 2 weeks after the conception of your baby.
How you may feel
You may have very mixed emotions when you discover that you are pregnant. Even if you have planned to have a baby, the reality of being pregnant may be overwhelming. Like many women, you may wonder if you are mistaken and insist on repeating the test. However, it is extremely rare for a test to give a false positive result.
The knowledge that you are pregnant can make you feel very special, and many women want to shout the news to everyone. Others prefer to wait until after they are 12 weeks pregnant, when there is less risk of a miscarriage. You will probably have started to feel very tired - not helped by the frequent need to pass urine during the night - and you may well be suffering from nausea or vomiting. Feeling continually sick is almost as bad as being sick, but there are steps you can take to help the symptoms (see page 90). Try to see these as positive signs of pregnancy and not an illness, because attitude can have a huge effect on the way you feel during your pregnancy.
Your changing body
Your body may feel different but it will not look very different, so others will not be able to tell that you are pregnant. Early symptoms of pregnancy can be very similar to the signs that you get when your period is due, for example, your lower abdomen and pelvis may feel congested. You may even get a small amount of breakthrough bleeding (an implantation bleed) 6-10 days after conception, when the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus. It is not surprising that you feel tired because, although you will have no obvious bump at this stage, your body is working very hard as the embryo rapidly develops and grows. Your cervix will be softer and your uterus will swell as it stretches to make room for the embryo. You may notice the area around your nipples (areola) becoming darker and the tiny glands around the nipples becoming more prominent.
Signs of pregnancy
- Missed period
- Tender breasts
- Frequent urination
- Nausea or vomiting
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Pelvic congestion
- Positive pregnancy test
Headaches are very common especially when you are tired. Constipation is common because the muscles of your intestine are relaxing, making it sluggish.
What you should be eating
Start taking folic acid supplements (0.4 mg daily) if you have not done so already. Folic acid is known to reduce the risk of your baby having spina bifida, other neural tube defects and cleft palate.
Jobs to do
Make an appointment to see the midwife at around 8 weeks of pregnancy.
Your weight gain: None.
Fundal height: Your body shape will not have changed, although by 7 weeks your uterus will be the size of a small tangerine and will be squashed against your bladder.