How your baby’s growing
A momentous meeting has taken place inside you – a single sperm has broken through the tough outer membrane of your egg and fertilized it. Several days later, the fertilized egg arrived in the uterus and started burrowing into the lining. A baby is in the making!
Your little one is just a tiny ball (called a blastocyst), consisting of several hundred cells that are multiplying madly. The part of it that will develop into the placenta has started producing the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which tells your ovaries to stop releasing eggs and triggers increased production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones keep your uterus from shedding its lining – and its tiny passenger – and stimulate the growth of the placenta.
Meanwhile, amniotic fluid is beginning to collect around the ball of cells in the cavity that will become the amniotic sac. This fluid will cushion your baby in the weeks and months ahead.
Right now, your little blastocyst is receiving oxygen and nutrients (and discarding waste) through a primitive circulation system made up of microscopic tunnels that connect your developing baby to the blood vessels in your uterine wall. The placenta won’t be developed enough to take over this task until the end of next week.
How your life’s changing
Around the end of this week, you may be able to see a positive result on a home pregnancy test. If the result is negative, don’t assume you’re not pregnant – you may have just tested too early. (Tests are more likely to give an accurate result if you wait a few days to a week after you miss your period.) Wait a few days, and if you still haven’t gotten your period, test again. If another week or more goes by and you still haven’t gotten your period or a positive result, make an appointment to see your doctor or midwife.
Learn about: Early pregnancy symptoms
Some women feel pregnant even before the test turns positive. The earliest signs include:
- Tender, swollen breasts Many women say the tenderness they feel is an exaggerated version of how their breasts feel before a period.
- Fatigue Feeling tired all of a sudden? No, make that exhausted. Increased levels of the hormone progesterone and the extra effort required to start making a baby can make you feel as if you’ve run a marathon when all you’ve done is put in a day at work.
- Frequent urination Shortly after you become pregnant, you may find yourself hurrying to the bathroom with alarming frequency.
- Heightened sense of smell Many newly pregnant women find they’re overwhelmed by gag-inducing smells early in pregnancy. This may be a side effect of rapidly increasing levels of estrogen in your system.
- Food aversions Food turnoffs are even more common than cravings during pregnancy. You may suddenly find that certain foods you used to enjoy are now completely repulsive to you.
- Nausea or vomiting Morning sickness usually doesn’t start for a few weeks, but some women feel queasy earlier.
- Your basal body temperature stays high If you’ve been charting your temperature and it stays elevated for 18 days in a row, you’re probably pregnant.
- Bleeding or spotting Some women notice a small amount of red spotting or pink or reddish brown staining around the time they should get their period. (If you have pain along with spotting or bleeding, call your healthcare provider immediately because this can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.)
Activity: Buy a box of pregnancy tests
Have a box of home pregnancy tests ready in case you don’t get your period next week. Most home tests can accurately detect pregnancy a few days to a week after your period is normally due – two weeks after you ovulate. For best results, test first thing in the morning, when your urine is most concentrated.