We discuss what you can expect during this new and exciting time in your life…
Conception has most likely taken place at 3 weeks pregnant and your body is going through many changes as it prepares for the next nine months.
Home pregnancy test
You might be wondering if it is too soon to take a home pregnancy test. You may suspect that you are already pregnant and even have started to display some early pregnancy symptoms. If you suspect that you are pregnant you can either consult your doctor to get a blood test, which of course is the most accurate method, or you can opt for a home pregnancy test. You can take a home pregnancy test the first day of your missed period. It is always important however to confirm the result with your doctor as home pregnancy tests are not always accurate.
Your baby at 3 weeks
It is most likely possible that conception has taken place at this stage so chances are you are probably expecting. If this is the case, the newly fertilized egg is now making its journey from the fallopian tube to the uterus, a 6 day process, where it will implant itself on the uterine wall where it will live for the next 9 months.
The amniotic fluid that will protect and cushion your baby is also now beginning to form. The part of your baby that will later form the placenta is already starting to produce hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin), which essentially lets your ovaries know to stop producing eggs while you are pregnant, as well as to increase production of estrogen and progesterone.
Since the placenta will not be completely formed for another week, your baby is receiving its nutrients and oxygen and passing waste through a very primitive circulation system that consists of microscopic tunnels which connect your baby to your blood vessels on your uterine wall.
Your baby, or blastocyst at this stage, is in the early stages of development and significant organs such as the brain, heart and gastrointestinal tracts are beginning to from as well as the spinal cord. The embryo is about the size of the head of a pin and approximately.048 mm in length.
Your body at 3 weeks pregnant
You may start to experience some of the during this time such as morning sickness, elevated body basal temperature, fatigue and breast tenderness. It is possible you will experience a prickling and tingling sensation in your breasts as well as some mild soreness.
You might not have pregnancy cravings at this early stage, but certain foods that you usually enjoy can suddenly make you nauseous, as well as certain smells. Your body is going to become more sensitive to certain things now that you are pregnant.
You may start to feel tired and weepy as your pregnancy hormones are starting to kick in and you may be fighting fatigue throughout the day. Try to get as much rest as possible and make sure you are getting enough sleep at night.
Due to implantation, or the blastocyst attaching itself to your uterine wall, you may be experiencing mild abdominal cramping and spotting. It usually only lasts for a few days to two weeks in some cases. The spotting should be fairly mild and have a pink or brownish tint. If you have heavy bleeding, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Other early pregnancy symptoms
Some of the other early pregnancy symptoms you may be experiencing include frequent urination, mild to moderate nausea, bloating, gas, constipation, congestion, headaches, leg cramps and vaginal discharge. Some women may notice a metallic taste in their mouth and others may experience some extremely vivid dreams during early stages of pregnancy.
You should be consuming about 300 additional calories a day as well as 3 grams of protein. Avoid seafood that is high in mercury, raw or processed meats such as lunch meat, unpasteurised foods and soft cheeses. Be eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean meats that have been thoroughly cooked.
You should also be eating plenty of calcium from sources such as plain yogurt, cabbage, white beans, almonds and bok choy. Avoid smoking, caffeine, recreational drugs and alcohol as these are not healthy for either you or your baby during pregnancy and can cause miscarriage, pregnancy complications and/or birth defects. Discuss any medical conditions and prescription medications with your physician.
While trying to conceive, you should discuss adding folic acid to your diet with your prenatal doctor. Folic acid will help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The recommended dosage is 400 mcg a day, but you need to discuss any other medications you are taking with your doctor as well as any history or chronic illness as this may affect your dosage. You should also continue taking prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your physician.
Exercise is important during pregnancy so you should discuss what types of exercises are beneficial for you with your physician. You should stick to light to moderate aerobic activities such as walking and swimming. You will want to avoid any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting.
Pregnancy complications can be experienced at any stage of pregnancy, so it crucial that you know the warning signs and alert your physician immediately if you start to experience any of the following symptoms:
- excessive bleeding or vaginal leakage
- severe or unusual stomach pain or backaches
- severe headaches
- early contractions
- impaired or blurred vision
- severe dizziness or vertigo
- painful or burning urination
- high fever
- excessive vomiting or diarrhea
- sudden decrease in the baby’s movements
- inability to tolerate food or liquid
- severe swelling in hands, face or feet
You should do everything you can to ensure the health of both you and your unborn child. Consult your doctor with any questions or concerns and follow any and all advice they have given you. Keep all of your regular appointments and always inform your physician of any problems or issues.