Believe it or not, your pregnancy journey begins now, even though you’re not actually pregnant yet. That’s because most practitioners start timing pregnancy based on the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP).
In weeks 1 and 2 of pregnancy, your body is gearing up for ovulation and preparing for fertilization, which will happen in week 3.
Your Baby at Weeks 1 and 2
At a Glance
1 to 2 weeks pregnant is how many months?
If you’re 1 and 2 weeks pregnant, you're in month 1 of your pregnancy. Only 8 months to go! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
Gearing up to ovulate
No, there’s no baby or embryo in sight. At least not yet — just an anxious egg and a whole bunch of eager sperm at their respective starting gates.
But in weeks 1 and 2 of pregnancy — the week of and immediately following your last menstrual period — your body is working hard to gear up for the event that paves the way for baby: the big O, or ovulation.
Right now, your uterus has begun preparing for the arrival of a fertilized egg, though you won't know for sure if that egg has successfully matched up with sperm until next month.
Calculating your due date
How can you call this your first week of pregnancy if you're not even pregnant? It’s extremely hard for your practitioner to pinpoint the precise moment pregnancy begins (when sperm meets egg).
While there’s no mistaking the start of your period, the exact day of ovulation can be hard to nail down. What’s more, sperm from your partner can hang out in your body for several days before your egg comes out to greet it. Likewise, your egg can be kept waiting for up to 24 hours for late sperm to make their appearance.
So in order to give all pregnancies some standard timing, most practitioners use the first day of your last menstrual period as the starting line of your 40-week pregnancy. Still confused? Think of it as a head start — you're clocking in roughly two weeks of pregnancy before you even conceive!
Your Body at Weeks 1 and 2
Your last menstrual period
You've just gotten your last period, at least for a while: The lining of your uterus is shedding, taking with it last month's unfertilized egg. But that's not all that's happening. A new cycle is beginning, one that is the starting point for your pregnancy.
Your menstrual cycle is orchestrated by a symphony of hormones working in concert with one another. The first to kick in is FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) which — you guessed it — stimulates the follicles to mature, some faster than others.
A second hormone, lutenizing hormone (LH), increases around day 5 and also works with FSH to stimulate the follicles. Each follicle contains an egg, and each month only one follicle becomes the dominant one, destined for ovulation.
As the follicles mature, they produce another hormone, estrogen, which does two things. First, it encourages the lining of the uterus to begin thickening again. Second, once a high enough level of estrogen is reached, it will trigger a spike in the production of LH.
That surge of LH causes the egg from the most mature follicle to burst through the ovarian wall (a process you probably know best as ovulation, which generally occurs about 24 to 36 hours after the LH surge) to meet Mr. Right — the lucky sperm that will turn that eager egg into a baby-in-the-making and make your body's prep work worth all the effort.
Believe it or not, the countdown to delivery day begins now, during the period before fertilization — even though egg and sperm haven't even been in the same room (or womb!).
And if you don't get pregnant this time around, don't stress: The average, healthy couple in their 20s and early 30s have about a 25 to 30 percent chance of getting pregnant with each cycle.
In the meantime, while your uterus is preparing for its new tenant, be a good landlord. Think of these two weeks of waiting as a final walk-through before baby takes over the keys. You may not technically be pregnant yet, but it isn't too early to act like you are. Start taking your prenatal vitamin, give up alcohol and smoking and embark on a healthy prenatal diet and exercise routine.
Turn down the heat to boost fertility
Trying to make a baby? Turn off that electric blanket and keep each other warm the good, old-fashioned way. Studies show that prolonged, excessive heat — like the kind produced by electric blankets, heating pads, heated seats and even laptops that are placed on a man's lap — can adversely affect those temperamental testes by slowing down sperm production (and you want sperm aplenty right now!). Plus, all that snuggling you'll have to do to stay warm will generate the kind of heat that can actually make babies.
More ways to increase your odds of scoring a fertilized egg: Try refraining from oral sex before the main event, since saliva can have a negative impact on sperm activity and motility … and you want them alive and kicking. Ditto for most lubricants, so lay off the Astroglide while you're trying to conceive.
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 1 and 2
Tips for You This Week
There's no doubt that your body works overtime when you're expecting — so help give it the extra nutrients it needs to baby-build by getting 400 to 600 micrograms of folic acid daily from all sources, including your prenatal vitamin and folate-rich foods.
Research has shown that taking folic acid beginning when you’re trying to get pregnant and continuing daily throughout pregnancy not only helps you conceive but has important health benefits for expecting women and their babies.
Folic acid (and its natural form, folate) can help reduce the risk of birth defects including congenital heart and neural tube defects in your baby, and has even been shown to lower your chances of gestational diabetes, preterm labor and miscarriage.
If you’re taking a prescription, OTC or herbal med, ask your doctor ASAP about whether it’s safe to continue it during pregnancy.
Herbal preparations are not tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not required to undergo clinical trials. Translation: Their safety, or lack thereof, is unknown.
Even herbs that you've heard could be helpful during pregnancy may be harmful at some point during the next nine months. So always get the green light from your practitioner before taking any medication or herbal supplement of any kind.
You could be weeks away from taking a pregnancy test, but Mother Nature may give you a heads-up in the form of early pregnancy symptoms.
Some, like a heightened sense of smell and tender breasts, can show up before you even miss your period, while others, like spotting and urinary frequency, happen a week or two after conception.
Haven't noticed any new symptoms? Plenty of women won't feel any until at least a few weeks or more into their pregnancies — and some lucky few won't notice any at all!
You're already imagining the moment when those magical double lines, plus signs or “yes” answers appear on your home pregnancy test. But before you get to that point, you'll have to navigate the drugstore aisles to choose the one you like best.
One question you might have: Are cheap pregnancy tests any different from expensive ones? Not really. All home pregnancy tests work the same way — by measuring the levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG — and are up to 99 percent accurate if you follow the instructions.
Some pricier tests might be more sensitive to hCG than others, or work a little faster. But rest assured, whether you choose a $5 or $25 test, your results will be equally accurate.
Your hormones will be to blame for pretty much every pregnancy symptom you'll experience for the next nine months or so — which is why it makes sense to familiarize yourself with some of the major pregnancy players.
Stuffy nose? Credit all that extra estrogen, which is helping the uterus grow and baby's organs form. Facial fuzz sprouting? Thank prolactin, which helps enlarge your breasts and kickstarts lactation.
Achy back and joints? That would be the handiwork of the hormone relaxin, which (true to its name), helps loosen the muscles, joints and ligaments in your body to prepare for labor.
Early pregnancy signs — like bloating, fatigue and tender breasts — are remarkably similar to PMS symptoms and can appear the week before your last period arrives.
Other symptoms, like a consistently creamy vaginal discharge or an elevated basal body temperature (BBT), are usually signs of pregnancy, but can be tricky to detect.
One symptom that only appears during pregnancy: a change in your areola's color or size (they'll look darker or wider).
Be an ovulation detective. At peak fertility — which, depending on how long your menstrual cycle lasts, is 11 to 21 days from the first day of your last period — your cervical mucus increases and becomes thinner, gooey and slippery.
To figure out when you're ovulating, you can use an at-home test called an ovulation predictor kit, which works by measuring the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine.
Other signs of ovulation to watch out for include slightly lower basal body temperature (that then rises again), light spotting, cramps in your lower abdomen and an increased sex drive.
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