Week 4 Early pregnancy

Even this early in your pregnancy, your body is undergoing significant physical changes.

Your heart and circulatory system

During the first weeks of pregnancy, your body begins producing more blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to your baby. The increase is greatest in the first 12 weeks, when pregnancy makes enormous demands on your circulation. By the end of your pregnancy, your blood volume will have increased by 30 percent to 50 percent. Increasing your fluid intake at this stage of your pregnancy can help your body adjust to this change.

To accommodate this increased blood flow, your heart is starting to pump harder and faster. Your pulse may quicken by as much as 15 beats a minute.

These dramatic changes in your body may already give you symptoms of pregnancy. For example, you may be so tired that you're ready for bed right after the evening meal. Or you may want to nap more often. Try to rest when you feel fatigued.

Your breasts

One of the first physical changes of pregnancy is a change in the way your breasts feel. They may feel tender, tingly or sore, or they may feel fuller and heavier. You may think that your breasts and nipples are already starting to enlarge. That may be the case, even this early in your pregnancy.

Stimulated by increased production of estrogen and progesterone, your breasts will enlarge throughout your pregnancy as the milk-producing glands inside them grow in size. You may also notice that the rings of brown or reddish-brown skin around your nipples (areolas) are starting to enlarge and darken. This is the result of increased blood circulation and growth of pigmented cells. It may be a permanent change to your body.

Your uterus

At four weeks into your pregnancy, your uterus is also beginning to change. Its lining is thickening, and the blood vessels in the lining are starting to enlarge to nourish your growing baby.

Your cervix

Your cervix, the opening in your uterus through which your baby will emerge, is beginning to soften and change color. Your health care provider may look for this change during your first examination as confirmation of your pregnancy.

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