It’s the first week of your pregnancy. You might not know it yet, but if you do, that is just beautiful! It is the beginning of a countdown to the beautiful moment that would be bringing new life into the world. In some thirty-some weeks, you would be holding a bundle or bundles of joy in your arms!
So, what’s the first week of pregnancy like? Well, don’t be alarmed but technically, you are not yet pregnant at all. And what comes next might take you by surprise — you would have your menstrual period.
Doctors typically carry out pregnancy measurements using a 40-week calendar and it starts to count on the first day of the cycle that marked your getting pregnant. Therefore, your first official day of pregnancy would be regarded as the day that flagged off your most recent menstrual cycle — in other words, before you actually became pregnant.
Your Baby’s Development
At this point in time, you are only preparing for your baby to be conceived. You can only become pregnant when an egg is released from your ovary and this typically occurs sometime between the end of week two and the beginning of week 3.
The egg release is known as ovulation and the interpretation is that you’re fertile and prepared to conceive. For now, you only just got your last period for quite a while to come.
The lining of your uterus is shedding and with it and taking with it unfertilized from the previous month. In addition to this, your new cycle is beginning — the cycle that would mark the beginning of your pregnancy.
A number of hormones are in charge of conducting the various activities that take place during your menstrual cycle. The first is the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) which, of course, stimulates the follicles to mature. As a side note, follicles do not mature at the same rate, some are faster than others.
The next hormone to come into the picture is the luteinizing hormone (LH). It experiences a gradual spike around day 5 and works in conjunction with the follicle stimulating hormone for follicle stimulation. Every follicle has an egg inside of it and only one follicle can become dominant per month. It is this dominant one that proceeds to ovulation. During the process of follicle maturation, another hormone, estrogen, is produced and this hormone carries out two main functions. First, it encourages the uterine lining to begin to thicken once again.
Next, when a significantly high level of estrogen has been achieved, it triggers an increase in the amount of luteinizing hormone that is produced. This spike in the level of LH brings about ovulation — the process where the egg from the most mature follicle bursts through the ovarian wall. This usually occurs about 24-36 hours after the initial spike in LH level.
Once it is through the ovarian wall, the egg would then be fertilized by the sperm, then the actual development of your baby would begin.
However, your countdown begins even before fertilization takes place — before the egg and sperm come in contact. Also, your uterus begins to prepare to house the zygote.
Your first week of pregnancy is identical to the first week of your menstrual cycle — this is because they are exactly the same. Therefore, you would be getting the same symptoms that accompany your period every month. Of course, you would shed blood and tissue from the lining of your uterus and experience everything that comes with that.
Periods could be the only downside to an otherwise perfect month, however, it is just something that your body has to do in order to create the perfect internal conditions for pregnancy.
Some of the most common period symptoms include acne, abdominal bloating, fatigue, headaches, libido change, joint and muscle pain, stomach pain or cramps, depression, alcohol intolerance.
Others include weight gain as a result of fluid retention, tender breasts, anxiety and mood swings, food cravings and increased appetite as well as a change in bowel habit — from constipation to diarrhea.
Measures To Begin To Observe
1. Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Starting a regular intake of prenatal vitamins is something that is highly recommended by doctors when you’re trying to get pregnant or when you’re pregnant. Experts are of the opinion that folic acid probably ranks as the most valuable prenatal substance for pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins are very essential in preventing a serious problem known as neural tube birth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), starting from at least a month before you plan on getting pregnant, you should consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
If folic acid isn’t part of your diet just yet, week 1 is not too late to start, just remain consistent. Folic acid isn’t the only new inclusion that should be in your diet, other important ones include calcium, vitamin D, and iron.
2. Drink Lots Of Water
Week 1 of your pregnancy is a good time to start to outline and practice healthy lifestyle choices that you would observe throughout the entire period of your pregnancy.
Taking in a lot of fluids is one of such habits that you would need to deliberately inculcate, and not just any fluid — specifically water. Giving up alcohol could be pretty tough, however, it is essential in order to guarantee the health of your developing baby.
In addition, week 1 is a good time to turn your back on sugary drinks. They could be bad for your baby’s health and even yours as well.
Constantly hydrate — consume the recommended 8-11 glasses of water every day instead of substituting with soda or wine. If you’re preparing to get pregnant, you can also start to cultivate the habit of taking in lots of water. This way, it is routine for you when you become pregnant.
3. Eat Healthily
When you’re pregnant, you’re inadvertently feeding two people. However, week 1 is not the time to begin to consume more food.
As your pregnancy progresses, you would, of course, need to increase your calorie intake — increasing it by up to 100 to 300 calories without necessarily doubling the amount of food that you would be consuming.
Eating healthy before and during your pregnancy is just as important for your baby’s health as it is for you.
Eating for pregnancy involves consuming lots of fresh and nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins as well as lots of fiber. Now is not the time to set up shop at McDonald’s!
During your first week of pregnancy, you may experience food cravings that are consistent with being on your period. Therefore, to clamp down on these urges and avoid eating unhealthy food, you should replace eating with some other physical activity such as going for a walk.
4. Drop Those Bad Habits!
Right about now, the last thing that you should be caught doing is smoking or taking drugs. These acts could have a very dangerous effect on your baby. Smokers generally have a harder time getting pregnant as compared with nonsmokers and they also experience a higher rate of miscarriages.
Smoking while pregnant expose your unborn baby to a horde of toxins. This would go on to increase your risk of giving birth prematurely or your baby being born with low birth weight. In addition, smoking significantly increases the risk of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome. This is why it is a total no-no!
Also, if you’ve someone in your house that smokes, have them smoke outside and far away from you so that you do not take in secondhand smoke.
If you are having difficulty quitting, then you should immediately get help. It really isn’t worth risking the life of your precious pregnancy for a cigarette stick.
5. Exercise Regularly
The last thing that you want to do when you’re on your period is exercise. It’s a lot easier to laze around and just eat.
However, research has indicated that many people have observed that period symptoms such as cramps may actually leave faster with exercise.
Working out every day and striving to meet up with the recommended exercises would keep you healthy and allow your pregnancy to develop wonderfully. Week 1 is a great time to start following the recommended exercise guidelines that would see you all through the period of your pregnancy.
Remaining active boosts both your physical and mental health and would make it a lot easier for you to go through the labor process.
Essential Purchases For Pregnancy Week One
For pregnancy week one, you should invest in buying good food. It’s time to pause the consumption of junk food. Your refrigerator and pantry should contain healthy proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of fluid. All your purchases would be aimed at securing your good health and in turn, that of the baby.
It is important for you to observe all the guidelines regarding pregnancy week 1 especially since it is practically impossible to confirm it. This way, you would remain on the safe side.