Your Pregnancy: Month 1
When does a pregnancy begin?
Good question! You might be surprised by the answer…
When you find out you’re pregnant, you’ll probably have a ton of questions about what to expect. Here’s everything you need to know about the first month of pregnancy, including:
- What to expect during weeks 1, 2, 3 and 4 of pregnancy
- Common symptoms during the first month of pregnancy
- Emotions during month one of pregnancy
- To-do list in the first four weeks of pregnancy
- Self-care during the first month of pregnancy
- Your partner during month one of pregnancy
Pregnancy 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 your 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 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, try to have intercourse every day (or every second day) in the six days leading up to ovulation. But don’t despair if it doesn’t work this month – healthy couples have a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant each cycle, so you may have to try a few times.
Pregnancy 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 approximately 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.
Common symptoms of Pregnancy:
While symptoms vary from woman to woman, you may experience:
- A missed period
- Light spotting (called implantation bleeding)
- PMS-like symptoms, such as tender breasts, bloating and mood swings
- A positive pregnancy test
Emotions during the first month of pregnancy
Don’t be surprised if your emotions are all over the place this month – finding out you’re pregnant can be thrilling and terrifying all at once! Plus, the pregnancy hormones that are flooding your body can make you extra emotional and exhausted. Talk to your partner, a close friend or your doctor about how you’re feeling and any concerns you might have.
What to do during the first month of pregnancy
Here are a few things you should aim to get done this month:
- Schedule a preconception visit with your doctor to discuss everything you need to know about having a healthy pregnancy
- Start taking a daily prenatal vitamin that includes 400 micrograms of folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects
- Quit alcohol and tobacco
- Confirm your pregnancy with a home pregnancy test
- Cut back on caffeine and avoid foods that can be unsafe for your baby
- Exercise regularly (but don’t overdo it!)
- Strengthen your pelvic floor with regular Kegel exercises
Self-care during the first month of pregnancy
Now is the time to put a solid self-care plan into place – you’ll need it in the next nine months and even more so when your baby arrives! If you’re feeling tired, rest as often as you can. Keep your stress levels in check by doing yoga, meditating, going for a walk or engaging in any other activity that relaxes you. Taking care of yourself isn’t self-indulgent – it’s an investment in your mental health and wellbeing.
Your partner during month one of pregnancy
During the first month, your partner has some homework too! If they smoke, now is the time for them to quit. A pregnant woman who is exposed to secondhand smoke has a 20 percent higher chance of giving birth to a baby with low birthweight than a woman who isn’t.
If you’re trying to conceive naturally, your partner should get tested for STIs, reduce their alcohol intake and eat a healthy diet to boost their fertility. They should also avoid overheating their testicles (such as by sitting in a hot tub or placing a laptop on their lap) to keep their sperm healthy.