The first two weeks of a pregnancy happen before the baby is even conceived. A woman’s menstrual cycle plays an important role in her ability to conceive a baby and maintain a pregnancy. Understanding the role a woman’s menstrual cycle plays in pregnancy is valuable in understanding how to conceive a baby.
The First Week of Pregnancy
The first official week of pregnancy actually begins on the first day of your last menstrual period. This may seem strange since you are obviously not pregnant yet, but your menstrual period plays an essential role in pregnancy and conception. When your health care provider figures out your due date, he or she will look back to the first day of your last period. If you have irregular cycles, this may not be accurate and an ultrasound may need to be used to determine an accurate due date.
How Does your Body Prepare for Pregnancy?
A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have. They are stored in her ovaries inside follicles that mature one at a time each month. As one follicle matures, it releases estrogen, which thickens the lining of the uterus. During every cycle, a woman’s body prepares for the possibility of pregnancy. The hormone changes that often cause PMS are necessary for maintaining a pregnancy if it occurs.
When Does Ovulation Happen?
Ovulation occurs about two weeks after the start of your menstrual period when one of the mature follicles releases an egg. Some women experience mild pain during ovulation, while many others do not notice it at all. Ovulation is necessary to conceive a baby. Some women have trouble conceiving because they do not ovulate on a regular basis. Hormone changes cause a woman’s vaginal fluid to become thick and stretchy around the time of ovulation. This can be useful in determining when ovulation is likely to occur for a woman who is trying to conceive.
When Does Fertilization Occur?
The released egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. Fertilization occurs if sperm is present in the fallopian tubes. A fertilized egg will travel down the fallopian tubes until it implants in the uterus during the third week of pregnancy.
Early Symptoms of Pregnancy
Most women will experience no symptoms of pregnancy during the first two weeks. A missed period is not apparent until the fourth week of pregnancy, and most pregnancy tests will not give a positive result until after a missed period. Some women do experience implantation bleeding during the second or third week of pregnancy, depending on when the fertilized egg implants. Implantation bleeding is very mild spotting that occurs during implantation, much too early to be confused with the start of a period.