1 Week Pregnant
The starting point
1 week pregnant:
eggEggOne egg is typically released during ovulation in each cycle, and this month's egg is almost ready to leave the follicle and enter the fallopian tube.
What's happening with you:
It may seem strange, but your first week of pregnancy actually counts from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). In turn, you're technically not pregnant right now, but this is the point from which you'll track your pregnancy. Why? Well, it's just plain easier for most women to pinpoint the start of their LMP than to determine when exactly they ovulated. Tracking from your LMP gives you your gestational age, and you can expect to experience 40 weeks of pregnancy; if your due date is calculated from the point of ovulation, you'll be tracking your fertilization age for a total of 38 weeks.
So, at this point your body is going through the same process it goes through every month and you're feeling your regular menstrual symptoms. If you're trying to get pregnant, the next few weeks will be important, and there are a few things you can focus on to improve your chances of conception.
Charting your cycle with an ovulation calendar is a good way to get started, but this can be easier said than done. The average cycle is 28 days, beginning on the first day of your period and with ovulation occurring around day 14, but many women have cycles that fall shorter or longer by a few days or more. The bottom line is that everybody is different and ovulation can be difficult to pin down, making it tricky to take advantage of your most fertile time and challenging to figure out your fertilization age simply by counting days.
What's happening with your baby:
Your baby is only a thought right now, a little possibility that's counting on a series of variables falling into place to make it a reality. Your egg is maturing in your ovary and the lining of your uterus is thickening to support an embryo; if that egg is fertilized when it's released in about two weeks, it will implant in the lining and pregnancy will begin! While baby doesn't exist yet, this is an important time to turn your attention to your body as ovulation approaches and mentally prepare for pregnancy.
Things to do this week:
The most important thing you can do in this pre-pregnancy stage is to make sure your health is on track. Good general health at the very start can have a huge effect on the rest of your pregnancy: you'll be better able to handle the emotional and physical stress, your baby has a better chance of developing well and you may even have an easier labor and delivery. Basically, preparing for pregnancy is your best path to a less painful and more fulfilling pregnancy experience.
What exactly is good general health? Well, ideal body weight plays a big role, as complications for both mother and child are far greater for underweight and overweight moms-to-be. Consider diet and exercise as equal partners in your weight maintenance and overall health, and cut out anything that threatens your fertility and your prenatal well-being. Sure, most women agree that alcohol, drugs and cigarettes should be the first to go, but did you know that regular multi-vitamins and seemingly harmless herbal supplements like St. John's wort and Echinacea can work against you, too? This is the time to switch to prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements so your body is in great form for conception and pregnancy.
If you're planning to conceive, a visit to your health professional is in order. This is the perfect time to discuss your current medications with your doctor and how they might affect your pregnancy, but also to determine which vaccinations and tests you need to get right now. Be sure to have your immunity to rubella and the chicken pox checked, and book any needed X-rays as soon as possible.
A known health issue is one thing, but any medical condition that has gone unnoticed can be especially threatening to your pregnancy. In turn, you'll want to get some basic blood tests as part of your pre-pregnancy physical exam to ensure that all your vitamins, minerals and nutrients are in a healthy range before you conceive. Other things to sort out with your doctor include your blood type and the blood type of the father, the state of your gums (periodontal disease can lead to low birth weight), any problems you experienced in previous pregnancies and medical histories on both sides.
Tips for your partner:
Remember that you are in this together, even though it may seem a bit one-sided right now. Sure, you won't be carrying your child for the next nine months, but you can bet that, biologically and psychologically speaking, you'll be playing a starring role. This preparatory time can be tough -- giving up long-time habits and certain comforts for the good of the baby is rarely a walk in the park, and if mom-to-be is trying her best to kick unhealthy habits, you should give it a shot, too. Start out the pregnancy with mutual respect and understanding, and your relationship will only grow stronger when you meet the excitement and challenges that lay ahead.
This week's FAQs:
When will I notice my first pregnancy symptoms?
This is a particularly subjective area for a couple of reasons. First, some of the earliest signs of pregnancy closely resemble PMS symptoms, which can make it nearly impossible to judge whether or not you've conceived. Secondly, because hormones will affect women differently, you could notice changes within a couple of weeks or you may go for months without any physical indication. Basically, early pregnancy symptoms are clues, and sometimes these clues are particularly subtle.
While week 1 of pregnancy won't bring any unusual symptoms, a few things to look for in the first few weeks following conception are signs of morning sickness, frequent urination and tender breasts. Pregnancy cravings and changes in skin appearance tend to show up later in the first trimester, as do the unmistakable pregnancy symptoms like a growing uterus.
Is there anything I can do now to avoid a miscarriage?
For most mothers-to-be, a miscarriage is the worst thing that could happen in their pregnancy, and unfortunately, many women will blame themselves or their partner for the tragedy. In most cases, miscarriage is a mysterious event with no identifiable cause and the last thing you should do is hold yourself responsible if it happens to you.
That being said, there are a few general health factors that have been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage. Smoking, drinking alcohol, bacterial infection, some chronic maternal health conditions and hormonal imbalance can increase your chances of losing the pregnancy, but these risks can often be controlled or overcome with lifestyle changes or medical treatment. Pregnancy safety rests on maintaining healthy eating habits, cutting out unhealthy habits and addressing any illness or medical concern with your doctor right away.
What you eat before you even get pregnant can determine whether or not you will experience severe morning sickness. Recent studies point to saturated fat as the stomach-turning culprit -- lots of red meat and full-fat dairy in the year leading up to your pregnancy can have a profound impact on your pregnancy symptoms, even if you change your habits once you discover that you're pregnant. Tweak your eating habits as soon as possible to keep your saturated fat intake below 15 grams a day, and you'll likely minimize the unpleasant queasiness that hits many women in their first trimester.