Update (Jun 23, 2016): We have added female fertility infographic. Scroll down to view. It contains 6 tips that can help a women to conceive.
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Your pregnancy officially begins before you’ve even actually conceived! There are very few outward signs up to being 4 weeks pregnant, as this time is more about your body preparing.
When you are 1-2 weeks pregnant, which is immediately after your last menstrual period, there is no embryo yet. In these first two weeks, your uterus lining is preparing for a fertilized egg and you will ovulate towards the end. All of the work is up to your hormones, your uterus and your ovaries, so you can sit back and relax for now.
So why this is called the start of pregnancy when you aren’t actually pregnant? Well, it is very difficult for doctors to determine exactly when pregnancy begins or even the exact day of ovulation (an egg being released from your ovary), whereas your menstrual period is obvious. Also, it can take several days from intercourse before the sperm even meets the egg! So to give all pregnancies a more standard time course, the last day of your last menstrual period is classed as the start of your pregnancy.
When you are 3 weeks pregnant, the egg and sperm finally meet and the egg becomes fertilized. This is conception. Within days this egg will have divided into around 100 cells, and start its 6-day-long journey through your fallopian tubes into your uterus, ready to implant.
During pregnancy week 4, you may start to see the early signs of pregnancy. The bundle of cells will now implant into your uterus and split into two – one forming the embryo of your new son or daughter, and the other starting to form the placenta.
The implantation of the embryo may cause some light bleeding known as spotting. This is perfectly normal. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong, just that the burrowing of the embryo into your uterus has caused a bit of bleeding, or that your menstrual hormones haven’t quite settled down. This should only last a day or two and be much lighter than a period.
Your little embryo is no bigger than a poppy seed when you’re 4 weeks pregnant, but he or she will already be causing havoc with your hormones. About now is when some of you will start to feel mood swings, bloating, cramping and the like, whereas others won’t feel a thing. Either way, you probably won’t get a reliable result from a pregnancy test, as it usually takes an implanted embryo 6-12 days to release the hormone (hCG) that is detected by these tests. If you get a negative result, wait a week and try again.
Women Fertility Infographic
Tips and To Do’s
So now that you think you might be pregnant, you may also want to calculate your due date. This will be roughly 9 months after you conceive. It’s quite simple to calculate, just add 40 weeks to the date of your last menstrual period. However, this is just an estimate, as most babies rarely come on schedule. You can expect to give birth when you are anything between 38 – 42 weeks pregnant.
As soon as you suspect you are pregnant, or whilst you are trying to conceive, you should start taking prenatal vitamins such as folic acid and vitamin D. There are lots of other vitamins and minerals you should be getting, so it’s important to have a well-balanced diet. A trip to your GP whilst trying to conceive will give you all the information and latest advice available on this.
Also if you’re a smoker or like to drink alcohol or coffee, it’s a good idea to try and give this up, if only for the first twelve weeks. Alcohol and coffee should be fine in small amounts after this, when your baby is more developed, but smoking at any point in your pregnancy can affect your baby’s birth weight and health. If you need help quitting or more advice, I would suggest another trip to your GP/GYN or nurse.
Thank you for reading. Share your experience in the comment section below. Have a great day!