So you have immediate plans to conceive and are about to enter your first week of pregnancy. Only 39 weeks to go! Don’t get confused; you’re not yet pregnant, but you’re close.
Although an exciting time, your journey ahead is challenging. Your body will soon rapidly change as the new life inside your belly transforms from a tiny ball of cells into a fully-fledged human.
Stick with us for week-by-week updates on your baby’s development and the physical changes you’re going through. As the new resident in your womb takes up more room by the minute, we’ll answer all your burning questions about baby size, progress, strange symptoms and more.
Without further ado, here’s what to expect when you’re one week pregnant.
At A Glance: Week One Pregnancy
- You’re on your period, but you could be pregnant soon! Any symptoms you have are related to PMS, not pregnancy. A period happens when the lining of the uterus sheds and dispels through the vagina as blood and endometrial tissue.
- Treat your body like a temple even if you’re not pregnant. Make necessary lifestyle changes – quit smoking, limit coffee, cut sushi, stay away from hot tubs, eat well and start taking prenatal vitamins!
- Your baby might not exist yet, but your ovaries will release a mature egg in a few days. Fun fact: eggs are the biggest cells in the body, roughly 0.1m in diameter and ten times bigger than sperm.
- There’s nothing to see yet – so there’s no reason for an ultrasound unless you’re dealing with conception issues and seeking professional help.
Week One Pregnancy Overview (You’re on Your Period)
The first week of pregnancy might leave you puzzled because you’re not, in fact, pregnant. Instead, you’re on your period and experiencing PMS symptoms.
Doctors will count your period as week one of being pregnant because there’s no easy way to calculate the exact moment you conceived. They’ll add forty weeks from the first day of your last period (last menstrual period or LMP) to determine your due date.
While this might seem random, the date of your last period is significant because it marks the start of your journey into pregnancy and growing a baby.
Over the coming weeks, the hormone oestrogen floods the body, triggering the growth and thickening of the uterus lining. This prepares the uterus for the possible implantation of a fertilised egg. If a pregnancy does not happen, the uterine lining breaks down, resulting in your period. Over the next two to seven days, blood and tissue will pass through the small opening of your cervix and exit the vagina. While all this is happening, the ovary follicles are working hard, preparing for next month’s ovulation. Follicles are fluid-filled sacs in one of your two ovaries that contain eggs.
Your uterus will start plumping up again in about a week or so. Soon, a follicle ruptures, releasing a fully-ripened egg into your fallopian tubes, ready for fertilisation, so be prepared.
Body Changes For Week One Pregnancy
Menstruations, periods, Aunt Flow, or whatever you call them, are commonly experienced by menstruating people. We measure a period or menstrual cycle from the first day of a woman’s period to the day before her next period. The standard length is 28 days, but the time varies between females. It’s not unusual to experience a shorter or longer cycle. There’s no need to worry if you have your period every 21 or 35 days; your cycle is still considered regular or average.
This period will be the same as your previous time of the month. It’s an uncomfortable time characterised by bleeding, abdominal pain, mood swings, and bloating.
Here are the symptoms and experience women go through.
1. Menstrual Bleeding
As previously mentioned, a period results from your body shedding its uterine lining. Menstrual bleeding is a universal symptom that all menstruating people go through. The average person loses one to five teaspoons of blood throughout her period.
You may or may not get cramps that might be mild in intensity to highly painful. The cause of cramps is your uterus contracting to release its lining.
3. Mood Swings
Why might someone experience a roller coaster of emotions before their period? Two words: hormone fluctuations. At different times of the month, your oestrogen levels ebb and flow. It drops just before menstruation starts, then gradually increases after your period ends, and peaks on day 14. These hormone peaks and valleys can make you feel various emotions, ranging from anger and irritability to sadness and anxiety.
These reduced oestrogen levels might also affect serotonin, an important chemical in the brain that makes you feel good, which could explain depression or a low mood.
Hormone surges also cause bloating before and during your period.
Period headaches are also linked to hormones. They might start a few days before your menstrual cycle starts and last throughout your period. Although unpleasant, headaches can be remedied with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Week One Pregnancy Tips: Getting Your Body Baby-ready
If you plan to fall pregnant, you’re probably not feeling your best self right now – you feel sore, your boobs are tender, you’re bloated, and your emotions are everywhere.
But in a matter of days, you’ll enter ovulation, a time of your cycle when you’re most fertile. Around the two-week point is when ovulation normally occurs – although the exact timing might be a little earlier or later. If you plan to conceive, now’s when you should start prepping your body to house a baby.
Here are a few things you can do.
1. Make Necessary Lifestyle Changes
Many parents-to-be start caring for themselves as a reaction to their pregnancy news. You might not be with a child yet, but you should take proactive steps toward caring for your baby before it’s even here.
Stop drinking, smoking, and curb your coffee intake to 200 mg daily (you’ll survive, we promise).
Sushi is also forbidden while pregnant because raw fish is unsafe for the growing baby, but you can enjoy cooked sushi in moderation. Here’s a laundry list of bad and (surprisingly) unhealthy habits you might want to give up.
Saunas and hot tubes are also strict no-nos for when you fall pregnant. Overheating and hot sauna or bath temperatures are linked to birth defects in young foetuses.
2. Take Those Prenatal Vitamins
Start taking prenatal vitamins if you’re trying for a baby. Prenatal vitamins differ from standard ones because they contain the recommended levels of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients you need for pregnancy.
These supplements not only support a baby’s healthy development but safeguard the mother against a range of health conditions.
The ingredients and dosage might vary, but all prenatal vitamins should contain these important nutrients, among others.
One of the B vitamins, folic acid, is found organically in leafy greens and is essential during pregnancy. During the first trimester, you’ll require folic acid supplements to help protect the development of your unborn baby’s brain and spinal cord and reduce birth defects like spinal bifida.
Your body needs iron to make haemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues.
When pregnant, your blood volume increases, so you must increase your iron consumption.
Iron deficiency anaemia occurs when you don’t have enough iron to make oxygen-carrying haemoglobin.
Calcium is vital for developing healthy bones and healthy vascular and muscle function.
Your baby will draw calcium from your bones if your diet lacks calcium, making you more susceptible to developing osteoporosis later.
3. Follow a Nutritious Diet
Pregnancy vitamins mustn’t substitute a wholesome diet with pregnancy vitamins; they should be complemented by food.
A diet comprising legumes, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean fruit, daily servings of dairy, healthy snacks and good fats provides several nutrients when you’re with a child.
4. Book a Preconception Check-up
If you want to make a baby, book an appointment with an OBGYN. This checkup ensures you’re ready for pregnancy.
Your medical history and any potential health risks that may affect your pregnancy or future child’s health, including genetic and hereditary disorders, will also be discussed, reviewed or treated.
Ideally, the OBGYN you choose for a pre-pregnancy checkup should be the same professional providing antenatal care during your pregnancy.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Some studies have revealed that sleep deprivation is connected to fertility issues. Those seven or eight hours of shut-eye helps to stimulate the production of baby-making hormones like oestrogen, leptin, and follicle-stimulating hormones, which are essential to achieve pregnancy.
6. Track Your Period
You might have a rough idea about when your period starts, but do you know the exact timing of ovulation or the dates of your fertile window? Learning your cycle improves your chances of becoming pregnant. If you don’t already, you might want to start using a period tracker.
Baby Size and Latest Developments For Week One Pregnancy
Although you might dream what your baby might look like, they’re but a twinkle in your eye! We understand you’re not in the mood now, but get ready for baby-making soon. This time next month might be a different story! Skip to next month to learn about your baby’s heartbeat, which might be detected by week five or six.
Roughly 11 to 20 eggs are stewing in the ovary follicles. Only one egg, called the dominant, is released into the fallopian tubes, where it waits to be fertilised. Soon your baby will be a ball of dividing cells called a zygote, but we’re skipping ahead!
Is It Time for an Ultrasound for Pregnancy Week One?
Practitioners only schedule a six weeks ultrasound at the earliest when there’s something to see and perhaps hear, so patience, young padawan! However, having a fertility scan might be a good idea if you can’t conceive. A fertility ultrasound examines the uterus, fallopian tubes, endometrium and ovaries for abnormalities that might negatively affect fertility. The fertility specialist will also measure the thickness of your uterine lining and look at the follicles to see if they’re growing correctly
Fun Facts For Pregnancy Week One
- Although it might seem hard to believe, your egg, at roughly 0.1m in diameter, is the largest cell in the body. It’s approximately 10 000 times larger than the smallest cell, the sperm.
- The egg that makes it to the fallopian tubes is known as the dominant egg, so called because it has a stronger blood supply and produces more oestrogen.