Welcome to Week Three of pregnancy – you’re officially pregnant and will be for 37 more weeks. We hope you enjoyed Week Two 🙂
It’s early days, but your body is rapidly changing 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 guest grows and develops, we’ll answer all your burning questions about baby size, progress, what’s happening inside your body and more.
Here’s what to expect this week.
At A Glance: Week Three Pregnancy
- The fertilised egg or zygote is heading for its new home, the uterus, via the fallopian tubes.
- It’s no longer a single cell but undergoing several rounds of mitosis, i.e. cell division.
- Implantation could occur this week or by week four.
- You’re probably not feeling pregnant or experiencing early symptoms.
- Our week three pregnancy tips: be patient, buy pregnancy tests and prioritise self-care.
Week Three Pregnancy Overview (You’re Pregnant but Don’t Know It)
There’s new life in your body to celebrate, but it might be soon to know. At the beginning of week three, home pregnancy kits might display false negatives – so don’t be disheartened if you see one. What’s happening within your fallopian tubes might tell a different story.
Your now-fertilised egg is being transported by the fallopian tubes to the uterus. This journey takes a couple of days to complete. Over this time, there are several developments at play already.
At the start of the trip, the fertilised ovum exists as a single-celled zygote but, toward the end, will grow into a hollow mass containing hundreds of cells. So, what’s happening?
Well, as the ovum is pushed toward the uterus, it undergoes mitosis or cell division. If you don’t know the term, it’s when cells divide and repeatedly redivide into identical cells. The zygote splits from one cell into two, two to four, and so on, until it’s a tiny collection of continuously dividing cells.
The life of the zygote is short-lived. It’s replaced by a morula, a solid ball containing 16 to 32 cells, on day three or four, thanks to mitosis. When it reaches the uterus, the morula becomes a blastocyst – a 200-plus hollow ball of cells comprising different cells.
At the uterus, the blastocyst might wait a day or two before attaching itself to the lining of the uterus, where it remains for the rest of the pregnancy. With the baby needing sustenance early on, part of the blastocyst, which eventually becomes the placenta, connects to the mother for nutrients. Over time, a fully-developed placenta will take on the role of sustaining your growing baby. The other part of the blastocyst develops into the embryo comprising three distinct cell layers that soon differentiate into organs and systems – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Implantation might happen by week three but is more likely to occur by week four. Skip one week ahead to learn more about implantation!
Baby Size And Latest Developments For Pregnancy Week Three
The fertilised egg goes through a lot of growth as it heads toward the uterus. It won’t be a little zygote for much longer. Along the way, the egg’s busy dividing and redividing into identical cells through mitosis. Eventually, it’ll develop into a 16-cell ball called a morula, a teeny-tiny, barely visible structure.
Once it enters the uterus, the morula transforms into a hollow blastocyst containing hundreds of cells. This blastocyst contains inner cells that become the embryo and outer cells, some of which create the placenta, your baby’s life source for its stay. This little blastocyst is now measurable but practically microscopic!
Body Changes for Week Three Pregnancy
What does it feel like when you’re three weeks pregnant? Can you feel the fertilised ovum moving through your fallopian tubes? The short answer’s no: you won’t notice any changes or know you’re pregnant for another week or two or three.
While everyone’s pregnancy is different, you’re unlikely to suffer any obvious symptoms this early. And that’s because for pregnancy symptoms to occur, your fertilised egg must be implanted into the uterus – which might not have happened yet. In addition, a surge of the pregnancy hormone, hCG, and other chemicals will activate pregnancy symptoms. You probably don’t have enough hCG to detect pregnancy in your urine or feel different.
If you’re already displaying early pregnancy symptoms, you might think it’s your period because the slight cramping and bloating are similar to PMS. Here are some signs you could be expecting.
1. A Missed Period
The most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period. And if your period is shorter than the average 28 days, you might suspect pregnancy if yours doesn’t appear by the end of week three. However, your period might only be delayed, not absent.
Pregnancy hormones tell your body to stop menstruating from the time you fall pregnant until a few weeks after giving birth.
2. Heightened Sense of Smell
If you’re picking up on all the different scents, hey presto, you could be pregnant! A heightened sense of smell is an early indicator of pregnancy. You can thank oestrogen and hCG for this pregnancy superpower! One downside to having the nose of a bloodhound is that it could heighten your morning sickness.
You might confuse spotting for a period or fear something’s wrong with your pregnancy, but light vaginal bleeding is normal. When the ovum attaches to your uterus, spotting or implantation bleeding can occur. Although spotting is more commonly a week four pregnancy symptom, it might also happen by the end of week three.
A temporary pregnancy symptom, spotting isn’t generally a sign of a problem, but it shouldn’t be painfully sore. Contact your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing horrible pain around your pelvis – this could point to a medical emergency like an ectopic pregnancy.
4. Sore (And Changing) Breasts
The soreness you might feel before a period pales compared to your tender, burgeoning pregnancy breasts. They’ll tingle, swell, ache, feel heavy and be extremely sensitive to the touch – so you might want to keep intimacy off the table. Soft maternity bras provide comfort and support to your achy breasts if the pain affects your waking life and quality of sleep.
Surging hormones of oestrogen, progesterone and prolactin are to blame for breast discomfort. These hormones increase the blood flow to your breast to prepare for breastfeeding while also causing changes to the breast tissue.
As the pregnancy advances, you’ll notice other changes, like veiny breasts – caused by the increased blood flow – and darker areolas, an effect of pregnancy hormones.
If you’re worried your boobs will be sore all pregnancy long, don’t – the pain eases up by the end of the first trimester but will return later as your boobs prepare to make food for your little one.
It’s not impossible to feel morning sickness this early on. As it were, morning sickness is a misleading term because you might experience the symptoms at all times of the day. Pregnancy nausea and vomiting are caused by a combination of factors, mainly increasing volumes of hormones but also fluctuating blood pressure and changes in carbohydrate metabolism.
Morning sickness hits women differently. You might feel slight queasiness, be hugging the toilet bowl or not at all nauseous (half to two-thirds of pregnant women will experience morning sickness at some level). The most severe form of morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, can be so bad and unrelenting that you might need to be hospitalised.
6. Unusual Tiredness or Fatigue
Feeling unusually tired is normal as your body changes and adapts to the new life growing inside you. It may affect you for a large part of your pregnancy.
Week Three Pregnancy Tips: Take Tests, Hydrate and Eat Well
Now that you have a baby on board, it’s more important than ever to change your lifestyle and free yourself of bad habits, but that’s not all you should be doing. Read below for our top pregnancy tidbits for week three.
1. Buy Some Home Pregnancy Kits
Stock up on home pregnancy kits. They’re easy to use and generally accurate once you’ve missed your period. But be mindful of testing too soon; while some brands claim they can detect pregnancy very early, your test could return negative even if you display symptoms. A negative result might occur because the level of the pregnancy hormone, hCG, might be too low for the test to detect.
2. Take a Blood Test
You can visit your doctor to verify a pregnancy. A blood test can detect hCG sooner than a urine-based pregnancy test.
3. Patience Is Key
After unprotected sex, you might feel the urge to pee on a stick frequently. But it might be too soon to check.
Interestingly, the level of hCG doubles every two days from conception until week eight of pregnancy. You might trace a detectable amount from the end of week three or later. Once you start testing, continue every day until you obtain a positive reading or start your period.
4. Eat Well
Maintaining a healthy diet is vitally important throughout your pregnancy. Load up on vegetables and fruit, consume less fat and sugar, and eat meals high in calcium and iron to support the extra blood in your body.
If you don’t feel well or can’t keep food down, consume beverages and food that are easy on the stomach, like ginger tea, broth and bananas.
Newly pregnant women might wonder whether the notion of “eating for two” rings true. While it’s true that your baby counts on you for nutrition, eating double the amount that you usually consume can cause complications.
Pregnant women’s dietary needs differ, so confirm your recommended calorie intake with your healthcare provider.
5. Drink Water
Are you guilty of drinking gallons of coffee and little else? Now you’re pregnant, drink more water and less caffeine! Water is necessary at all life stages but essential for expectant mothers. You’ll need more water than the average person for digestion, to remove toxins, produce extra blood, and form the amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby, which they need to survive.
The World Health Organisation recommends up to two litres of water daily for non-pregnant people and more than two litres for pregnant mothers-to-be. Breastfeeding women should drink approximately three litres.
If you’re unsure you drink enough, follow these steps to prevent dehydration.
- Drink water first thing in the morning. While you might reach for a coffee to wake you up, coffee is a diuretic, a substance that increases how often you urinate, which may lead to dehydration. Although it’s safe to drink coffee in moderation while pregnant, start your day with a glass of water – it’s a natural cleanser and can help you feel more alert.
- Drink water after you’ve gone to the toilet to replenish your lost fluids.
- Don’t let yourself get thirsty – if you’re on the go, have a water bottle handy or set yourself reminders to drink – there are apps for that. Or, you may even wish to buy a SMART water bottle which will light up and inform you when you are falling behind on your fluids!
6. Prioritise Self-care
Conceiving can be stressful. And waiting for those two lines to appear on a pregnancy test can also be nail-biting, so take care of your mental health during this time! Yoga, meditation, regular physical activity and rest can help you relax and feel centred during an exciting but uncertain time.
Is It Time For An Ultrasound During Pregnancy Week Three?
If you get a positive pregnancy result, can you book an ultrasound? By week three, it’s still too early for a scan. We’ve already mentioned that week six is probably the earliest time to see your baby, but on average, the first scan takes place from week eight.
Fun Facts For Pregnancy Week Three
- Are you a cat owner? Felines, especially outdoor adventurers, can catch an infection called toxoplasmosis, which comes out through poop and spreads through a filthy litter box. While the risk of catching it is small, protect your unborn child by having someone else take over the smelly task (we’re sure you don’t mind!)
- Your heart grows when you’re pregnant. We’re not talking about your love for your growing little bundle. No, your heart enlarges because it’s working overtime to pump blood and provide oxygen to you and your baby. It’s normal, but immediately contact your doctor if you’re experiencing troubling symptoms.
Week Three Pregnancy Checklist
- Stockpile pregnancy test kits.
- Be patient – don’t test too early.
- Eat pregnancy-friendly foods.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Prioritise your mental health.
- Invest in a maternity bra – your boobs will thank you!
- Check out our article on what to expect during Week Four of pregnancy!