Signs and symptoms of pregnancy as well as fetal development are important aspects of your pregnancy. You’ll find that and more in the following sections broken down week by week through child birth.
This week of pregnancy you start counting from your last menstrual period, but since most women are not aware of the exact day they conceived their baby, it makes sense. Many women can, however, remember the day their period started, so it makes a clear starting point for determining your baby’s due date. It can be a bit confusing to remember to begin counting from when your period starts and that in reality you don’t become pregnant until about 2 weeks later. For example, if your doctor or midwife says you are 12 weeks pregnant (from your LMP), then you conceived approximately 10 weeks ago.
Now is the time for you to have sexual intercourse without protection if you want to become pregnant. This is your optimum time to make love every day to help maximize your chances of conceiving. By the end of this week (or the beginning of next week), your egg is waiting in the fallopian tube for your partner’s millions of sperm to travel from your vagina to meet it. If you start “trying” at the beginning of this week, the sperm are already waiting for the egg in the fallopian tubes. An enzyme is released that allows only one sperm to penetrate the egg, and fertilization takes place.
During this week, your body will be getting ready to ovulate. You might possibly be experiencing some cramping towards the end of the week, signaling that you are ovulating. Your uterus is forming a blood rich lining that is called the endometrium. Estrogen hormone levels increase as a result the cervix starts to produce cervical mucus, which assists the sperm in swimming up to the fallopian tubes to meet your egg after ovulation (or to wait for your egg just prior to ovulation). By the end of this week, conception may have taken place, although you don’t have any pregnancy symptoms yet.
Fertilization occurs about the beginning of this week of pregnancy. This happens when one of the sperm penetrates the egg and the membranes of the sperm and egg unite thus indicating pregnancy. At that point, it is impossible for other sperm to enter. The fertilized egg divides until a solid ball of cells is formed. Next, it travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus, during a seven to ten day trip, where it eventually implants into the uterine lining and continues to grow and develop.
You’re not even aware that you’ve conceived, yet, since you haven’t even missed a period, although you might have noticed when you ovulated. At the end of this week, you might experience some spotting or light bleeding at the time of implantation.
By the end of this week of pregnancy, the fertilized egg is embedded more deeply in the lining of your uterus and the amniotic cavity, which will be filled with amniotic fluid, is starting to form. The early version of the placenta is forming and the very beginning of the connecting stalk- which will become the umbilical cord- has appeared. Until your placenta is fully functioning, the yolk sac, now present, will feed your baby. Different germ layers are developing and the vascular networks that contain maternal blood are being established.
At the end of this week, you’ll be expecting your period (or hoping not to get it). Taking a home pregnancy test at the end of this week might possibly confirm that you are pregnant.
You’re not ‘showing’ yet and you haven’t gained weight at this point, since your baby is so tiny. Your hormones are undergoing major changes, so mood swings are completely normal during this time and throughout your pregnancy.
By the end of this week of pregnancy, the earliest blood elements and vessels have formed in your baby and developing placenta. Circulation now begins and the heart is developing rapidly. The circulatory system becomes the first functioning organ system.
The central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), muscle and bone formation are beginning to take shape. During this time, your baby’s skeleton is also starting to form.
Your period is late and if you haven’t already taken a homepregnancy test, taking one now should confirm your pregnancy. It’s still too early for you to start ‘showing’, since there hasn’t been any big changes in the size of your abdomen.
You may start noticing some early symptoms of pregnancy during this week. Morning sickness (which can really occur at any time of the day or night), nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, breast changes- such as tenderness, tingling in the breasts or nipples- are all early signs. Fatigue or tiring easily is also common at this time.
This week of pregnancy your baby is about ¼ of an inch in length (always measured crown-to-rump) and triples in size this week! Your baby is now starting to show recognizable physical features and is completely enclosed in the amniotic sac.
Your baby’s brain is growing and developing distinct regions and his or her eyes and ears are beginning to form. Limb buds can also be seen at this point. Your baby’s heart is now beating, which can be seen on ultrasound.
Changes in You:
Your uterus is growing larger and some women (especially women who have had previous pregnancies) notice their clothes getting a bit tighter around the waist this week. But if this is your first pregnancy, your abdomen might not have changed much. You might have gained a few pounds by now, or even possibly lost weight if you’ve been nauseated & not eating well (or keeping food down well).
This week tends to bring on more nausea. Certain smells can make you queasy, so try to avoid foods or smells that seem to aggravate your nausea. Also, drink plenty of fluids and get an adequate amount of rest to help combat nausea. Another thing that really seems to help is avoid having your stomach completely empty or completely full, either can make nausea worse.