WHEN DID I GET PREGNANT
The first day of your last menstrual period (the day you start to bleed) is used to calculate your estimated delivery date, so keep that in mind when you visit your doctor or nurse to confirm your pregnancy. This will also be your last cycle in the course of your pregnancy. For women with irregular cycles, an ultrasound might be more accurate when it comes to accurately dating your pregnancy.
The average duration of a pregnancy is 266 days. When you add in the 14 days from period to conception, the total count comes to 280 days from your last period.
Up to 20% of pregnancies when scanned in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy will show a discrepancy between the due date calculated by using your last period and the actual measurements of the baby.
WEEK ONE & TWO
During your last period, the lining of your uterus (womb) is shed, as it did not receive a fertilized egg during your last menstrual cycle. When the bleeding finishes, your body starts the process again of getting ready in case an egg is fertilized this cycle. Under the influence of the hormone follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), 5-15 immature eggs start to develop in the ovary. These immature eggs produce estrogens that cause the endometrium (tissue lining of the uterus) to build up again. They stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete another hormone, luteinizing hormone, that induces ovulation. The fallopian tube also prepares to receive the egg.
At the end of the second week, under the influence of luteinizing hormone (LH) around day 12-14, one egg (and sometimes two) are released from the ovary (known as ovulation). The end of the fallopian tube gathers the egg and small hair like projections (cilia) transport it to the womb. The cells that surrounded the developing egg in the ovary remain in the ovary and form a group of cells called the corpus lutein. These cells secrete progesterone, which help prepare the uterine mucosa (lining) to receive a fertilized egg.
TIPS & TO DOS
- Increase your folic acid consumption to atleast 400 micrograms daily. It helps develop your baby’s brain and spinal code.
- Check with your doctor before you take any ayurvedic, prescribed or OTC medicines.
Your smoking habit requires the much needed break – the puffs are definitely not going to help you conceive
- Prenatal diet – this is a good time to get your meal plan and meal timings in order
- Reduce your caffeine intake – no more ‘catch you for coffee’ meetings for a while.The National Infertility Association notes that caffeine can hinder fertility
- Relax – yoga, meditation,read – you need to reduce your stress levels
- While most people believe that specific sexual positions increase their conception chance – they don’t, so simply enjoy it!
- Keep a check on your ovulation – you’re cervical mucous becomes thin,gooey and slippery when you are most fertile.
Week three starts with ovulation.The next 24 hours are important, as both sperm and the released egg can survive for around this length of time in the body. Sperm rapidly move from the vagina to the uterus and then into the tubes. Of the 200-300 million sperm that enter the vagina, only 300-500 actually survive the journey and make it to the tubes. Only one sperm is needed for fertilization. As soon as the sperm and egg combine, the egg starts to divide rapidly.
The fertilized egg is now made up of two sets of chromosomes (DNA that contain all the information needed to make a baby) – one set from the mother and one from the father.
The sex of the baby is also determined at fertilization. Sperm either carry X-chromosomes or Y-chromosomes. The egg always has an X chromosome. If the egg is fertilized with an X chromosome, a female embryo will be produced. If the egg is fertilized with a Y chromosome, a male embryo is produced.
Fertilization occurs in the fallopian tube. If the fertilized egg does not migrate into the uterus but instead stays in the tube or moves in the opposite direction, an ectopic pregnancy may develop. This occurs where a fertilized egg grows and develops outside the uterus, most commonly in the tube. The fertilized egg (embryo) takes around 3-4 days to reach the uterus.
During this time, it undergoes many changes, growing rapidly from a 2 cell stage at day 2 (zygote), to a morula (16 cells) at day 3.
By the time it enters the uterine cavity, it will have become a blastocyst and it is at this stage towards the end of the third week that it begins to implant in the uterine mucosa. At the same time, part of the blastocyst, the trophoblast starts to secrete HCH (human chorionic gonadotropin). This hormone is the one used to detect your pregnancy. It also prevents the corpus luteum in your ovary from disappearing, which in turn helps maintain the pregnancy until the placenta can take over, usually around the 4th month.
TIPS & TO DOS
- Increase your protein intake – helps spur new tissues for your baby
- Combine iron-rich foods with Vitamin C – helps increase your blood volume
- Increase your calcium intake – low-fat dairy or calcium-fortified cereals.
- Increased basal body temperature: The estrogen lowers your BBT and Progesterone increases your BBT – the surge in your Progesterone during ovulation increases your basal body temperature
Clear Cervical Mucous -Your cervical mucous is extra-thin,stretchy and whitish
Lower-Abdominal Achiness -You might experience cramping on one side of your lower abdominal area.This pain, which is thought to come from an ovary releasing an egg, is known as mittelschmerz (from the German word meaning “middle pain”).
You still are probably not aware of your pregnancy and your period will be due at the end of this week.In the meantime, your uterus has already started to change and is gearing up to support the fertilized egg that has arrived.The progesterone produced by the corpus luteum stimulated the endometrium to enter a secretory or progestational phase.The endometrium has glands and arteries, which become coiled and form three distinct layers.It is between the openings of these glands that the fertilized eggs will implant and then embed.
At this stage the baby is called a blastocyst.During this week it continues to grow and becomes two parts.One part will form the placenta (trophoblastic) and the other the embryo (baby).The blastocyst continues to bury into the wall of the uterus, where it starts to interconnect with your own blood circulation.This allows the hormones secreted by the placenta type cells to be detected in your blood, often as early as the beginning of the 3rd week although not reliably until the end of the 4th week.
At this stage the embryo is still tiny, about a millimeter in length.By the end of the 4th week, the area in the uterus where the embryo has implanted has completely healed over.Commonly, bleeding may occur at the time.The trophoblastic cells develop large spaces that allow contact with your blood.During this process, increased blood supply in these spaces may result in bleeding.This is known as implantation bleeding and may be light and just result in spotting or as heavy as a regular period.This implantation bleeding is also responsible for a lot of confusion over the expected delivery date!
- At the end of this week, you may experience no symptoms at all yet or early pregnancy symptoms which can be similar to PMS.
- Tender breasts, feeling bloated and mood swings are all common at this stage and are due to the surges of estrogen and progesterone.
- Implantation bleeding may occur at this time and may be light and just result in spotting or as heavy as a regular period.This implantation bleeding is also responsible for a lot of confusion over the expected delivery date!
Information Credit: Whattoexpect.com