In the first week
Each time you have a period, your body is preparing itself for a potential pregnancy. A lot of complex hormonal changes are going on in your body in readiness to support fertilization, if it happens, in around two weeks’ time. Therefore, we count the first day of a woman's period as a starting point for the countdown towards the expected date when the baby is due. Although it may seem to not make sense, including the first 2 weeks is standard practice.
Mark on a calendar the day and date you started bleeding and for how long your period lasts. If you can, keep a record for a couple of months so you know the length of your menstrual cycles. For most women this is around 28 days, though a few days either side of this is still considered within a normal range. Becoming familiar with your body's rhythms and cycles will help you to plan for conception and the time you are most likely to get pregnant.
When will I ovulate?
Conception: how and when does it happen?
There is a small window of time around when an egg (ova) can survive after it has been released from the ovary. It takes around 12-24 hours for the egg to migrate from the ovary and down the fallopian tube. This is where fertilization of an egg with a sperm usually happens. Sperm can generally survive for longer than an egg can, but only the hardiest and most mobile of the sperm can find their way up through the cervix and uterus to the fallopian tube.
Lots of books and web sites refer to the last normal menstrual period or LNMP. This is because some women will have light bleeding at the time when the fertilized egg burrows into the lining of their uterus. It's important that this light bleeding isn’t confused with a period, which is why the word "normal" is used to clarify.
Being 1 week pregnant: what you can do
If you want to conceive, stop using contraception. If you have been using a hormone-based contraceptive such as the birth control pill, it may take some time for your body to readjust to its normal cycles.
Start taking prenatal vitamins which include folic acid. The recommended dose in early pregnancy is 400 mcg/day and if possible, start taking this a couple of months before you get pregnant. Low folic acid intake has been linked with a higher incidence of neural tube defects in babies.
Try to stay healthy and active. Aim to exercise each day and eat sensibly.
Have a medical check-up to make sure you are in the best possible shape to conceive. Being overweight, smoking, taking drugs, or generally having an unhealthy lifestyle can all interfere with, or delay, conception.
Make sure your immunizations are up to date. Check with your provider about what immunizations you need to ensure you and your baby will be protected.
Try not to take medication unless it has been prescribed for you. Some medications can be harmful to the baby, especially in the early weeks of their develo
Hint for the week
Go to week 2 to find out what happens next!
For more information see Pregnancy Week by Week.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.