Now, this may sound surprising but in your first week of pregnancy, you are yet to be pregnant. In the first week of your pregnancy, you are not pregnant and instead, you would have your usual menstrual period. The baby will be conceived in either the second or the third week of pregnancy.
The 40-week pregnancy journey begins not from the date of conception but rather from day 1 of the last menstrual period (LMP). Pregnancy is measured in this way because it is almost impossible to accurately estimate the actual date of conception. Even if you accurately know your ovulation date it will still be very difficult to ascertain the exact moment of conception.
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Thus most of the health care providers will begin measuring your first trimester from the first day of your LMP.
Body of (to-be) mother at week 1
When you will get to know that you are in the first month of pregnancy, it will mean that you have already had your period (for a while) in week 1. So week 1 is the first week of your usual menstrual cycle wherein you will have your period.
The common symptoms of menstruation include acne, abdominal pain or cramps, breast soreness, weight gain, constipation or diarrhea, depression, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, mood swings, cravings, and changes in libido.
Secretion of Follicle Stimulating Hormone
Among the plethora of hormones that organizes a typical ovulation cycle, FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) is the first one to be secreted. FSH helps to stimulate the follicles and enables them to mature. Each month by day 7 of the follicular phase, one egg (each follicle contains 1 or 2 eggs) becomes dominant and then waits to get fertilized during ovulation.
Production of Estrogen
Another hormone known as Estrogen is also produced when the follicles are maturing. Estrogen encourages the uterus lining to thicken. Once the required level of estrogen is reached, the production of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) increases. This surge will start the “ovulation” when the dominant egg ruptures through an ovarian wall and waits to meet sperm for fertilization.
Don’t worry if you have forgotten the date of your last period. Your doctor may perform an ultrasound to be certain of your gestation age.
Maximizing the Chances of Conception
Even though you are yet to be pregnant, you can maximize the chances of conception by:
Tracking your fertility
The dominant egg must be fertilized within 12 to 24 hours of release. Sperms can remain active for more than seven days inside the female body. Thus, having sex before ovulation may help conceive as the sperm will wait for the egg to mature.
- After the end of your period or possible week 1:
- start charting the menstrual cycle,
- check cervical mucus as during the most fertile phase it tends to become thin, stretchy, transparent or pale white and also increases in volume,
- monitor basal body temperature as it plummets to its lowest point right before ovulation and then immediately increases,
- buy ovulation strips to measure the body’s hormone levels.
Taking prenatal vitamins
Taking Folic acid daily, from at least 1 month preceding the pregnancy, will prepare the body for conception and research shows that it reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects, premature labor, and gestational diabetes.
Drinking enough water
A healthy lifestyle will increase the chances of conception. Week 1 would be a good time to give up on alcohol, sugary drinks, and limiting yourself to a maximum of two cups of coffee. Hydrating with at least 8 to 11 glasses of water would be highly beneficial.
Prepare for pregnancy by consuming fresh foods and following a diet with lean proteins, rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fat. During week 1, cravings for junk food may be high but try to avoid unhealthy food and foods with high Trans fat.
Exercising every day, as per the guidelines, will not only keep you but also the future baby healthy. During week 1, try to find an exercise routine that you will be able to follow throughout your pregnancy.
Giving up smoking
You must kick your smoking habit and refrain from other drugs. Smoking and drugs will expose the unborn baby to harmful chemicals and increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDs) and other pregnancy complications such as premature delivery and abnormal implantation.
Getting enough sleep
Women with irregular sleeping patterns and who get insufficient sleep find it more difficult to get pregnant.
Trying to relax and reducing stress
Research shows that women with lower levels of stress-related enzymes tend to have the highest chances of getting pregnant. Scheduling a preconception checkup will immensely help you to prepare for conception. You will also learn from your doctor about the hazards that may affect fertility and put the health of your baby at risk.
- Myth-busting: Specific sexual position does not increase the chances of conception. Most of the positions can lead to a successful pregnancy, so you may safely pick the enjoyable one. You can however help sperm motility by having your partner on top and by slightly hoisting your hips. Refrain from oral before intercourse as saliva affects the motility of sperm.
Week 1 baby bump
During week 1 and the next few weeks, there won’t be any baby bump. As you will be menstruating in week 1, you may feel bloated but don’t mistake it for the pregnant belly as you are not yet pregnant in week 1.
Your baby and size of your baby at week 1
There is no baby yet and after completion of your menstruation in week 1, the body will start to prepare itself for pregnancy. After week 1, a dominant egg will mature and the uterine line will become thick where the fertilized egg will be attaching itself after conception and start to grow. The fertilized egg will develop over the gestation period and will grow to be your baby.
- Interesting fact: Did you know that human eggs are also the largest cell of the human body? A human egg is almost as tiny as a speckle of pepper.
Signs of Pregnancy
The first sign of pregnancy, for most people, comes much later week 1. The very first sign can likely be a menstrual cycle you missed. Home Pregnancy tests can be used to find out if you are pregnant. However, visit your doctor for a checkup as those tests may be faulty sometimes. Women generally start to feel physically different after they miss their period.
Ultrasound at 1 week pregnant
People generally don’t get an ultrasound at week 1. In case you have missed your pre-conception check-up or if you have been trying to get pregnant for a while, your doctor may prescribe ultrasounds. Your doctor may use an ultrasound report to check for fibroids or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), check the thickness of uterine lining, or diagnose any other abnormalities.
What to expect next?
If you have followed the essential steps during week 1 and taken good care of your body and mind, you will have a better chance of getting pregnant by week 2 or week 3 depending on your cycle. Women start to experience the subtle early signs of pregnancy after around 2 weeks of conception.
Some common signs include bloating, cramping, feeling more tired, nausea with or without vomiting, tender breast, missing period, changes in food habits, and light spotting which isn’t period but is known as implantation bleeding.
You are yet to conceive in week 1 but there are plenty of things for you to do which will ensure that the week of your period successfully becomes week 1 of your pregnancy.
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Mother of Two children. I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for Good parenting. I understand child development and know how to develop activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.