It may sound surprising, but you’re not yet pregnant during week one of pregnancy.
Pregnancy is measured on a 40-week calendar, and day one begins on the first day of your last menstrual cycle. You become pregnant near the end of week two or the beginning of week three, depending on when your body ovulates. Ovulation marks your body’s fertile period.
Your ovulation cycle determines the exact date on which you conceive. Ovulation usually occurs between 13 to 20 days after the first day of your period, depending on the length of your cycle.
When you ovulate, one of your ovaries releases an egg that travels into your fallopian tube. To conceive, sperm must also travel to the fallopian tube and meet the egg at the optimal time. This timing can be difficult to determine without careful observation.
There are several methods you can use to help predict when you ovulate. If you look for ovulation’s signs and signals, you can predict a window for fertility. This will help you determine when you should have intercourse.
Track your period
You may have heard that a typical menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. Many women, however, don’t have 28-day cycles, and some women’s cycles vary from month to month.
Track your period for several months to help you to determine a pattern for your cycle. To do this, simply mark the first day of your period once a month. You can even try a fertility app, which will help you calculate your ovulation window based on your average cycle.
Measure your basal body temperature
Your body’s basal temperature will change when you ovulate. You’re most likely to become pregnant two or three days before your temperature rises.
You’ll need a special thermometer to measure your basal body temperature. To determine when your basal body temperature changes, record your temperature each day and watch for a pattern to develop.
You must take your temperature at the same time each morning, usually when you wake up. Because you’ll need to time intercourse before the temperature increase, you’ll need to track it for a few months to find a pattern.
Find a great selection of basal thermometers here.
Observe your vaginal discharge
When ovulating, your vaginal discharge will change in texture and consistency.
Your discharge will become clear and slippery, like raw egg whites, as your body prepares to ovulate. After ovulation, the discharge becomes cloudy and thick, and then will disappear altogether.
Use an ovulation test
Another way to determine when you’re ovulating is to use an ovulation test kit. These tests use your urine to measure whether certain hormones are present in your body, which can predict ovulation.
You can purchase these tests over the counter or online. Follow the instructions provided with the test to ensure that you get accurate results.
Once you’re aware of your ovulation patterns using any of these methods, you must plan to have intercourse during your peak fertile time. This is usually a day before ovulation, so the sperm have time to travel to the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg.
Have regular sex in the days leading up to ovulation. This will increase the chance of sperm connecting with the egg.
To prepare for conception, you can engage in a number of healthy behaviors to prime your body. Consider taking prenatal vitamins daily for the year before you try to get pregnant. They’ll help supplement your diet with folic acid and other nutrients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for women. This amount of folic acid daily before conception and during early pregnancy reduce can help reduce their baby’s risk of a serious neural tube birth defect.
In addition to vitamins, there are other ways you can prepare your body for conception and pregnancy:
- manage your weight
- eat a well-balanced diet
- get regular exercise
- reduce stress
- drink less alcohol and caffeine
Being aware of these aspects of your health will not only benefit you as you try to conceive, but will also prepare you to take care of your body when you become pregnant.
WEIGHT GAIN DURING PREGNANCYIf you’re planning to get pregnant, it’s important to start at a healthy weight. You can determine if you’re at a healthy weight by calculating your body mass index (BMI).
A healthy BMI is generally between 18.5 and 24.9. Speak with your doctor about setting weight goals before, during, and after your pregnancy.
Some early symptoms you might notice by week 2 that indicate you’re pregnant include:
These early stages of pregnancy are just the first of many steps in your journey toward parenthood. It will take some time after conception for your body to show signs of pregnancy.
A missed period is usually the first noticeable sign of pregnancy. After missing a period, a pregnancy test can confirm whether you were able to conceive. Pregnancy tests measure the presence of the hormone hCG in your body.
Tracking your ovulation and taking care of your body leading up to your fertile period will increase the chances of conception near the end of week two. You may not get pregnant the first few times you try, but 80 to 90 couples out of 100 conceive within the first year of trying.
If you’re having trouble conceiving or are concerned about an aspect of getting pregnant, contact your doctor to discuss a medical evaluation for possible infertility.
DID YOU KNOW?Obesity can cause infertility in women. It can also make fertility treatments less effective. Losing only 5 to 10 percent of your weight can improve your fertility, according to a 2007 study.
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