In weeks 4 to 5 of early pregnancy, the embryo grows and develops within the lining of your womb.

The outer cells reach out to form links with your blood supply. The inner cells form into 2, and then later into 3 layers.

Each of these layers will grow to be different parts of your baby's body:

  • the inner layer becomes the breathing and digestive systems, including the lungs, stomach, gut and bladder
  • the middle layer becomes the heart, blood vessels, muscles and bones
  • the outer layer becomes the brain and nervous system, the eye lenses, tooth enamel, skin and nails
  • In these early weeks of pregnancy, the embryo is attached to a tiny yolk sac that provides nourishment.

A few weeks later, the placenta will be fully formed and take over the transfer of nutrients to the embryo.

The embryo is surrounded by fluid inside the amniotic sac. It's the outer layer of this sac that develops into the placenta.

Cells from the placenta grow deep into the wall of the womb, establishing a rich blood supply. This ensures the baby receives all the oxygen and nutrients it needs.

Conception usually takes place about 2 weeks after your last period, around the time you release an egg (ovulate).

In the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, you probably won't notice any symptoms.

The first thing you may notice is that your period does not arrive, or you may have other signs and symptoms of pregnancy, such as breast tenderness.

You can confirm the pregnancy with a pregnancy test.

You can work out the date when your baby is due. This date may be changed when you have an ultrasound scan.


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