The first two weeks of pregnancy are the beginning of the first trimester.
A long and exciting journey is ahead of you with many changes, concerns, worries, and discomforts, but most importantly – an enormous amount of joy!!!
Week 1-2: How is your baby doing now
There is no baby or even an embryo yet. However, the released egg and the active sperm are trying hard to get together.
Week 1-2: How is your Baby looks like on an Obstetrical Ultrasound:
The is no way an ultrasound (even transvaginal) will pick up the pregnancy at this stage.
Week 1-2: Your Body changes:
Your menstrual cycle is a very complex system of different hormones’ influence on your whole body, but more importantly – on your ovaries and uterus. Every new cycle is a potential beginning of new pregnancy.
The first step is to produce an egg that will be ready to meet the sperm. This happens with the help of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in maturing some follicles. Then, on day 5 of the cycle a new hormone – Lutenizing Hormone (LH) – kicks in to help. Each follicle has an egg inside and every month one of those (sometimes – two or three) becomes dominant (destined for ovulation).
The next important hormone is Estrogen. It increases the thickness of the endometrium (internal uterine lining) to prepare it for the implantation and also – stimulating the production of high concentrations of LH. This LH spike stimulates the egg to burst from the dominant follicle through the ovarian wall.
At this moment, the ovulation has occurred and the egg is ready for the move to the uterus via the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube has constantly moving fimbria at the end, grabbing the egg and pushing it into the tube.
Your uterus prepares for the fertilized egg every month at the second stage of your cycle (called the luteal or secretory phase). At this time, the egg starts to travel down the fallopian tube. During this journey, the follicle transforms into the corpus luteum, releasing two hormones: progesterone and a bit of estrogen.
Progesterone can be understood from its root words “pro” and “gestation”, meaning supporting pregnancy. The role of progesterone is to thicken the internal lining of the uterus (endometrium) for the egg to be able to implant. That lining now has a lot of small blood vessels that supply the necessary nutrients and oxygen for the growing embryo. If your egg becomes fertilized by your partner’s sperm – your body will start to produce another hormone – the hallmark hormone of pregnancy – bHCG (human gonadotropin).
This hormone maintains the corpus luteum. This is very important until about 10 weeks of pregnancy. Then the placenta can take over the production of the progesterone.
So, let’s say you had your ovulation during your last cycle and you successfully have conceived!
One sperm has made the long, difficult journey and won the race! It got through the outer layer of your egg, making it a zygote. Your zygote quickly builds a protective layer around itself to prevent the other sperm from getting in.
Within a few hours, that little symbiosis of yours and your partner’s sex cells start to divide. It will become two, then four, then eight cells. In a few days – over a hundred cells, that will all be the foundation for the embryo and placenta.
As the dividing continues – it transforms into a blastocyst that will soon start to travel inside the fallopian tube toward the uterus. This will take around 6 days.
Even though it will take a few months until you fin out if you are having a boy or a girl – the decision has already been made!
Your egg contains 46 chromosomes, as well as your partner’s sperm. In the moment of fertilization half of the chromosomes from your egg are joined with half from your partner’s sperm. So, the fertilized egg still contains 46 chromosomes. The only difference is that the mother is ALWAYS providing the X chromosomes, and the father can provide an X or Y chromosome. If two X chromosomes meet during the fertilization, then the XX zygote will be a female. If your X chromosome will meet your partner’s Y one – then the XY zygote will be a male.
Just some interesting facts:
- Every male is inheriting the X chromosome from their mothers.
- X chromosome contains over 900 genes.
- X chromosome is over three times larger than the Y chromosome.
- Y chromosome contains about 55 genes.
- Every woman has two X chromosomes in each cell, but one of them is always inactive.
- Every woman was born with a certain amount of the eggs in the two ovaries, while every man is producing new sperm every time
If you are over 40 years old, you are usually producing an increased amount of the hormone that is responsible for the follicular production – FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). This can increase your chance of having multiple eggs release during ovulation, resulting in multiple pregnancy.
- In healthy 20-30 year olds, the chance to get pregnant in each cycle is about 30% (or around 1 in 3 times), so do not worry if this has not happened yet!
- Excessive heat slows down sperm production, so try to advise your partner to stop using heating pads, electric blankets or heated seats, as well as avoiding laptop use close to the testes (yes, despite it being called a laptop).
- Smoking (including second hand exposure!) increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy (implantation outside of the usual location in the uterine lining), abnormal implantation of placenta, abruption of placenta, premature rupture of membranes and preterm labour.
- Special positions during intercourse do not increase the chances for conceiving – this is a myth.
Week 1-2: Tips to you
- Take your prenatal vitamins or at least 0.4 mg of Folic Acid daily if you are of fertile age (you never know when you can get pregnant and it is advisable to start Folic Acid supplementation at least 6 months before conceiving. This amount of Folic Acid significantly reduces the baby’s risk of neural tube defects (by about 60-70%). If you have a family history of neural tube defects or your previous pregnancies were complicated by this developmental disability – you should significantly increase the dose of the Folic Acid to 5 mg a day.
- Try to calculate your due date. It is hard to know the exact day of your ovulation, but you might know the exact first day of your last period. It can definitely be confusing, but we are here to help with that! Try using the following formula: add 7 days to the first day of your last menstrual period, then subtract 3 months. But remember – your BABY will be the one who decides when it’s time for that miraculous first meeting.
- Start to change all of your unhealthy behaviours: eat mostly nutritious and healthy foods, stop drinking alcohol and smoking (including second hand smoking exposure), and do regular exercising!
- When engaging in intercourse, try to stay away from run-of-the-mill lubricants, as they can affect the viability and effectiveness of sperm. Use Pre-seed Fertility Plus or Conceive Plus Fertility Lubricants, if needed.
- Try to avoid oral sex just before vaginal penetration as your saliva can decrease sperm motility.
- Review your list of medications, if you take any, with your care provider. Do not forget to mention all your vitamins and other supplements (over-the-counter counts too!). Also make sure to talk about your and your partner’s family histories.