Your pregnancy: month 1
When does a pregnancy begin?
Good question! You might be surprised by the answer…
Weeks 1 and 2
Congratulations aren’t in order yet! Believe it or not, you aren’t actually pregnant in Week 1. Because it can be difficult to know exactly when a baby was conceived, pregnancy is said to start on the first day of the mom-to-be’s last period.
When you start your period, your uterus sheds its lining and a new cycle begins. Your eggs wait patiently inside the follicles in your ovaries for your hormones to work their magic and help your follicles mature. Once they’re ready, the dominant follicle (there’s only one each month) releases an egg in a process known as ovulation. This generally occurs halfway through your menstrual cycle or around day 14 of your cycle if it lasts the average 28 days.
Once the egg has been released, it makes its way down the fallopian tube. If it meets a sperm along the way and they combine, fertilization occurs. To increase your chances of becoming pregnant, have intercourse as often as possible in the six days leading up to ovulation. But don’t despair if it didn’t work this month – women have a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant each cycle so you may have to try a few times.
Weeks 3 and 4
Your baby is the size of: a poppy seed
Your fertilized egg is now dividing into more cells as it travels down your fallopian tube toward your uterus. When it gets there, it will float around for two to three days before implanting in the wall of your uterus about six days after it was fertilized. That’s where it will stay and grow for the next nine months. Soon after implanting, it splits into two parts – embryo and placenta – and the amniotic sac forms around your little embryo.
• Missed period
• Light spotting (called implantation bleeding)
• PMS-like symptoms: tender breasts, bloating and mood swings
• Positive pregnancy test
(these symptoms are a general guide only – every woman will experience her own combination of symptoms throughout pregnancy.)
Tip of the month: If you haven’t already, start taking a prenatal vitamin that includes 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Now is also a good time to reduce your intake of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. And don’t forget to schedule a preconception visit with your doctor to discuss everything you need to know about having a healthy pregnancy.