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4 WEEKS, 6 DAYS

246 days to go...

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ultrasound of human embryo at 4 weeks 6 days

Your baby today

The upper part of the embryo is shown. There is still a wide opening along the back of the embryo that will gradually close over the next few days. The head and lower spine portions are the last to close.

The placenta-the structure that will become your unborn baby's lifeline-is forming.

Your pregnancy test result may be the only sign that you're pregnant, but there are many fascinating changes taking place inside you. The basic structures that will form the placenta (see You are 10 Weeks Exactly) are now in place. The outer layer of cells that originally entered the lining of the uterus are now coated with projections of placental tissue. It is the outer cells that are in direct contact with small lakes of your blood. The inner placental projections or fronds are termed "villi." Some villi anchor the pregnancy to your tissues and, from these, smaller free-floating villi arise. Later, more branches will appear and ultimately resemble the branching pattern of a fern leaf. The villi are still immature and have not established a blood supply of their own. It will be several weeks before the placenta is mature enough to supply all the oxygen and nutrients that your developing baby needs.

Time To Think About

Seeing your Doctor

If you've had a positive pregnancy test, call your doctor's office to schedule your first prenatal visit, which will be between 8 and 12 weeks. The receptionist will likely ask the date of your last menstrual period to properly time the appointment.

Ask A... Mom

I really wanted a baby, but now that I have a positive pregnancy test result, I'm suddenly not so sure. Is this normal?

I felt exactly the same at first and after talking to friends discovered that lots of them had mixed feelings, especially at the beginning. I found a good way to overcome this was to focus on the reasons why I wanted the baby. I wrote these down. Then I tried to figure out what I was really worrying about. Was it the thought of giving up some freedom? Financial worries? Concerns that I wouldn't be a good parent? This helped me get things in perspective and realize I really did want the baby.

pregnant woman talking with her mom

If you have any doubts while you're pregnant, try talking to a close female relative – perhaps your mom – or a friend. You're likely to find they, at times, had similar doubts, but went on to enjoy their pregnancy and being a mother.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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