Pregnancy Tracker: Week 1 & 2

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 1 & 2


WEEK 1 and 2

When you think you might be pregnant, or are hoping to be pregnant, you just want to soak up as much information and advice as possible. You want to know all about the changes that your body will be going through and everything about the growth and development of your baby. Any new real or imagined sign can get you excited, and it is challenging to avoid mis-interpreting symptoms. You want to know if how you are feeling is normal, and you want to know how your baby is progressing in development and size.

This may sound confusing, but in the first two weeks or so of pregnancy, you are not actually pregnant.

Your expected date of delivery is calculated from the first day of your last period, so during the first two weeks you may not even suspect a pregnancy as you will be having your menstrual period. On about day 14, depending on how long your menstrual cycle is, you can expect to ovulate, and within 24 hours of ovulation, unprotected sex can result in the sperm fertilising the egg. Interestingly, your baby’s sex is determined at the very moment of fertilization! About 6 days after fertilisation, the egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus, and although you don’t know it, you are pregnant!! Once the egg is implanted, it begins to grow and the placenta forms. The placenta grows in the uterus and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.

If you are planning on getting pregnant, it is wise to start to prepare your body as early as possible as your baby’s health depends a lot on your health.

It is a known fact that certain substances are bad for your unborn baby.

  • Tobacco products

Smoking is a big no-no during pregnancy. Every cigarette you smoke contains over 4 000 chemicals, including carbon monoxide. Smoking can restrict the oxygen supply to your baby, resulting in the baby’s heart having to work harder than normal. Stopping smoking will benefit your baby immediately by reducing risk during pregnancy and birth. Your baby will be more likely to go to full term and have a normal birthweight. Babies of smokers average about 200g less birthweight than babies of non-smokers.

  • Alcohol

As experts are unsure how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether. Alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta and straight to the baby. A baby is unable to process alcohol well as their liver is one of the last organs to develop. The risks to a baby are numerous, and include the increased incidence of miscarriage, premature birth and low birthweight, as well as all the symptoms of FASD (foetal alcohol spectrum disorder).

  • Medication and drugs

Check with your health care provider before taking any OTC drugs, as well as prescription medication. It is also a good idea to get advice on whether to take folic acid supplements and what the dose should be.

Eating a healthy diet will ensure you and your baby get sufficient vitamins and minerals, and taking part in regular, gentle exercise will not only keep you in tip-top physical condition but also offers psychological benefits.

So what are the early signs and symptoms of a pregnancy?

Usually the first sign of pregnancy is when your period does not arrive on due date, but the only reliable way of confirming a pregnancy is by taking a home pregnancy test or a blood test and having the pregnancy verified by a doctor.

However, some very early pregnancy symptoms may show up even before you miss a period and as early as a few days after conception.

What should you be alert to?

Knowing your body better than anyone else you may notice the following:

  • Your breasts feel more tender and swollen than usual. Perhaps you are one of the women who normally experience breast tenderness before a period as part of PMS. The difference is that during pregnancy, the tenderness will probably not go away, at least not during the first trimester. This is one of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy and experienced by many women, so take comfort in knowing that you are not the only one experiencing this discomfort. Knowing that your breasts are getting ready to provide food for your baby should be satisfying to you. Understanding that the reason for the increased breast tenderness is caused by the spike in oestrogen and progesterone levels, which causes increased blood flow to the breasts, could also be a comfort. Purchasing a good supportive bra right from the early days will help to alleviate the discomfort.
  • Sensitivity to smell can be experienced in early pregnancy. What would normally be mild odours now appear to be strong and offensive and can even cause feelings of nausea.
  • Cervical changes may occur, which could also include a mucus discharge.
  • Mild cramping or twinges of pain or backache can be felt around the time of ovulation.
  • An increase in sex drive can sometimes be noticed in the very early days of pregnancy.
  • A slight elevation in basal body temperature can be observed if you are in the habit of monitoring your early morning temperature.

Some early symptoms can make themselves known within days of conception, while other signs may appear from a week or so later. It is important to remember that different people experience symptoms at different times. Some mums-to-be may not notice signs of pregnancy for a few weeks; some women may suffer from plenty of debilitating side effects, and some lucky individuals may cruise through the entire pregnancy without any ill effects at all.

It is also worth noting that your due date is merely a projection. Most pregnancies last between 38 and 42 weeks and only a small number of women actually give birth on the scheduled due date.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey!

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