Pregnancy is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period. Even though your little one has yet to be conceived in week 1, you’re in the time window that is part of the 9 months of pregnancy. This gives doctors a date to work out an estimated due date. Conception usually occurs about 14 days after the start of your period, and pregnancy gestation is usually about 40 weeks. The average pregnancy lasts between 37 and 42 weeks.
Once your period finishes, the inner lining of your uterus (endometrium) begins to thicken in preparation for the implantation of a fertilised egg. If implantation does not take place, your progesterone levels fall, and your body gets rid of the thickened layer and the unfertilised egg. This is the bleeding we call a period.
If you have regular period cycles, a missed period is an indication of a possible pregnancy. After implantation is complete, a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is released. Known as the pregnancy hormone, hCG helps nourish the pregnancy and tells your ovaries to stop releasing eggs. Pregnancy tests are most accurate about a week after a missed period, when hCG levels are high enough to detect.
Your pregnancy at week 1
When you are at week 1 of pregnancy, your little one is still a single-cell egg in your ovaries. The egg is called an ovum and is only just visible to the naked eye. In the next week, if it’s fertilised, it will make its way down to your fallopian tubes, before settling into your uterus for around 9 months. This lining is where the fertilised egg will implant itself after conception, and is ready to start growing.
While there’s no foetus to be measured at week 1 of your pregnancy, your body is preparing itself for pregnancy and you can start working towards a healthy pregnancy by implementing healthy lifestyle habits. Your egg and the father’s sperm are already gearing up for pregnancy. Conception happens when the egg and sperm unite in one of the fallopian tubes to form a one-celled entity called a zygote, which contains 46 chromosomes (23 from the mother and 23 from the father). These chromosomes will determine the genetic make-up of the foetus, and ultimately all physical characteristics of your little one. The sex of the foetus is determined at fertilisation. If the egg receives an X chromosome from the sperm cell, your little one will be a girl. Y chromosome means that your little one will be a boy.
Common pregnancy symptoms
During the first trimester, your body undergoes many changes. These changes can result in pregnancy symptoms. However, there are no pregnancy symptoms during week 1. You won’t experience any early signs of pregnancy until a few weeks after conception. Pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and mood swings are in the cards for most women – but they won’t happen just yet. For now, make sure to take a good quality prenatal vitamin, pregnancy milk and folic acid to prevent neural tube defects.
Even before pregnancy symptoms present itself, here are some things you can do:
• Start taking prenatal vitamins
• Start taking pregnancy milk, like Frisomum Gold®
• Track your menstrual cycle
• Get plenty of sleep
• Start exercising, with advise from your doctor
• Eat healthier foods
• If you smoke, do quit
• Reduce your caffeine intake
• Find out about your and your partner’s family health history, and have a discussion with your doctor