Welcome to Week 3
Your Baby: How Old Is Your Baby
When conception takes place, it occurs midway in your menstrual cycle. This is about 2 weeks after your last period. When you calculate your due date, that 2 weeks is counted in the calculation. This means that your estimated due date will span 40 weeks (dating back to your last period), instead of the 38 weeks since conception.
Your Body: The ABCs of Conception
Some women have no idea they've conceived at this early date. Others can tell the exact moment it happened. Either way, conception is a magical moment for a couple, and for the woman her body will grow and change in unexpected ways.
Here's what you need to know about conception:
- Ovulation usually happens mid-cycle (on day 14 of a 28-day cycle),
- During ovulation an egg is released from the ovary and travels to a nearby Fallopian tube.
- If a man's sperm makes its way to the same spot in the Fallopian tube within the next 12 to 24 hours, it may fertilize that egg.
- Pregnancy only occurs when the fertilized ovum, called a zygote, travels down the Fallopian tube and attaches to the wall of the uterus.
Here's the catch: The average egg lives only 24 hours. The average sperm lives for 72 hours. So they have to connect in the first few hours after sex if you're going to conceive.
The moral of the story: If your goal is to get pregnant, aim to make love at least every other day during the middle of your cycle (days 10 to 18).
On That Note: Getting Graphic
The Female Reproductive System Tour shows just how far a woman's egg and a man's sperm have to travel before they connect to conceive a baby.
It might be a few more weeks until you miss a period -- or notice other signs of pregnancy -- and suspect that you're pregnant. So have a home pregnancy test on hand, but hold off using it until you miss your next period. Waiting will help ensure that you get the right results. If the test is negative, but you don't get your period, try taking the test again in a few days. Sometimes, the first test is too early to pick up the first traces of pregnancy hormone in your urine.
You may have heard that it's wise to take prenatal vitamins when you're pregnant. It's even wiser to begin taking them several months prior to getting pregnant, as the folic acid in prenatal vitamins is very important to prevent certain birth defects.
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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