According to the books and Google, you’re in the first week of pregnancy.
Except… surprise! You’re not actually pregnant yet.
In fact, the first day of your menstrual cycle is considered week 1. That’s right, you’re not actually pregnant during weeks 1 and 2.
Week 1 of pregnancy begins on the first day of your last menstrual period.
Although you’re not pregnant yet, week 1 is still considered part of the nine months, or approximately 40 weeks, of pregnancy.
This means you still have around two weeks or more before you can bust open those packets of home pregnancy tests. Or see your healthcare provider for a blood test to find out if you’re actually pregnant.
Why am I considered 1 week pregnant?
Although the typical length of the menstrual cycle is 28 days, some women can have longer or shorter cycles.
Ovulation usually happens mid-cycle but can vary by a few days.
These cycle variations can make calculating conception dates a bit tricky.
That’s why health care providers use the first day of your last period rather than conception dates. Your cycle gives your maternity care provider a solid date to calculate an estimated due date.
The average human pregnancy lasts between 37 and 42 weeks from your last period. This means your due date, which is estimated at 40 weeks, is really just a ‘guesstimate’.
If you’d like to work out your baby’s approximate due date, try BellyBelly’s due date calculator, one of our handy pregnancy tools.
How can I tell if I’m pregnant after 1 week?
Because you’re at the start of your menstrual period, you won’t feel early signs of pregnancy for at least 2-3 weeks.
It’s possible to experience PMS symptoms that are similar to early pregnancy symptoms. But remember, these symptoms aren’t related to pregnancy; they are most likely related to menstruation.
You won’t know whether your attempts to get pregnant have been successful until two weeks after you ovulate, or around the time you miss your next period.
If you’re planning on conceiving or trying to conceive a baby, make sure you’ve read BellyBelly’s article Pre-Conception Checklist – How To Prepare For Pregnancy.
Getting pregnant – whether it’s planned or unplanned – is a life-changing experience.
It can be a rollercoaster of decisions and emotions.
People react very differently to the idea of having a baby and becoming parents. You might worry about finances and your career, or wonder whether you’re even ready to be a parent.
Sometimes it’s quite a challenge to deal with all the different feelings of having a baby.
You can talk to a trusted friend, family member or healthcare provider, or try journaling. This can help you process all your thoughts and feelings.
What happens in the first week of pregnancy?
Although we know there isn’t a pregnancy during weeks 1 and 2, let’s look at what’s happening to your body when you’re 1 week pregnant.
Menstrual phase of the uterus
When you’re considered 1 week pregnant, you’re in the menstrual phase of your cycle.
Menstruation begins because of a drop in progesterone levels, which occurs when a fertilized egg doesn’t implant into the uterine lining.
If a fertilized egg doesn’t implant, your uterus sheds blood and tissue from the uterine lining, or endometrium. This is the bleeding we call a ‘period’.
Once your period finishes, progesterone, and estrogen levels rise again. This causes the endometrium to thicken, in preparation for the potential implantation of a fertilized egg.
Follicular phase of the ovary
When you’re considered 1 week pregnant, another phase is also occurring in the ovaries. This is called the follicular phase, and it happens at the same time as the menstrual phase.
The follicular phase lasts from day 1 of your period until you ovulate.
This is when follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is released from the pituitary gland in your brain.
FSH then stimulates your ovary to start growing 6-12 follicles.
The follicles contain small, immature eggs, or ova, which begin to mature, in preparation for release of the egg.
As the eggs mature, the follicles produce estrogen to signal the pituitary gland to produce luteinizing hormone (LH).
Luteinizing hormone is then released. It causes the most mature egg to be released and ovulation occurs.
It’s sort of a race between the eggs!
Following the egg’s release, the sperm then has approximately 24 hours to make its way to the egg to fertilize it.
We’ll say more about ovulation when we talk about the second week of pregnancy.
1 week pregnant – symptoms
Since you haven’t conceived a pregnancy quite yet, there are no pregnancy symptoms during week 1.
You won’t experience any early signs of pregnancy until 4-5 weeks after the start of your last period or around the time of your missed period.
During week 1 you might have signs similar to those of early pregnancy, such as breast tenderness, food cravings, and mood swings.
But remember, these are related to your period rather than pregnancy.
If you’re planning on getting pregnant, pregnancy signs are on the horizon; they’re just not happening yet.
1 week pregnant belly
While you’re technically not pregnant yet, your 1-week pregnant belly is shedding the uterine lining from last month’s cycle and preparing for a potential pregnancy.
Some women find they have bloating and discomfort at this time.
1 week pregnant hCG levels
As there’s no fertilized egg implanted yet, there won’t be any detectable levels of hCG in your urine. So there’s no point to taking a pregnancy test at 1 week pregnant.
If you’ve been trying to conceive and you’re keeping track of your basal body temperature, you might notice the chart stays elevated past the date of your expected period.
This would be the earliest time to take a home pregnancy test, if you want to.
1 week pregnant – your baby
At 1 week pregnant, your future baby is still a small, single-celled egg, hiding in one of the many follicles in one of your ovaries.
This egg is called an ovum and is only just visible to the naked eye. It’s completely unaware of what’s about to occur.
Next week, after the egg, has been released from the follicle, and if it’s fertilized by a sperm, conception occurs.
It will then make its way down your fallopian tube, before settling into the endometrium of your uterus. About 40 weeks after that, your baby will be born.
If you are trying to conceive a baby, this is a great time to start preparing your body for a potential pregnancy by adding nutritious foods and supplements to your diet.
Supplements you can start taking every day are multivitamins, 400 micrograms of folic acid (in the form of folate), and omega 3 fatty acids.
Folate is a very important supplement to take when you are trying to get pregnant.
It can reduce the risks to your baby of serious birth defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
A good prenatal vitamin should contain folate and should be taken as soon as you start trying to conceive a baby.
You can read more about folic acid and folate and how it can benefit you and your baby in Folate – Why It’s So Important Before And During Pregnancy.
It’s also very common for women to be deficient in vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin for reproductive health in women. Your body and your baby would benefit greatly from at least 2000iu of this vitamin each day.
A regular exercise routine is also very beneficial to your health, your body, and your baby while you are trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy.
If you’re planning a pregnancy, this might be a good time to begin a new routine.
A nutritious diet, supplements, and exercise are also excellent for mental health. Planning a pregnancy can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.
These things can nourish your body well enough to bring relaxation and peace of mind to what can be an anxious time in a woman’s life.
When you provide proper health information and family health history, you are helping your doctor or midwife to make additional recommendations for your body and your baby.
1 week pregnant – for men
Listen up, men! If you and your partner are trying to conceive, you can help increase the chances of conception in the next week or two.
Cutting back on caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and unhealthy processed foods (sugars and grain products) can have a positive impact on your health and fertility.
Here are some other ‘things you should know’ that can give you a boost right now.
- Stress can interfere with sperm production. Get plenty of sleep and try relaxation techniques like massage or acupressure to help relieve stress. Reducing your caffeine intake can help give your adrenals a break.
- Studies have shown men who eat soy foods could have a lower sperm concentration than men who don’t eat soy foods. Avoid soy!
- Another study published in Fertility and Sterility showed your mobile phone might also affect your fertility. They found men who used a hands-free device with a cell phone and kept their phone close to their testicles had impaired sperm quality.
- Tight-fitting underwear or environments where overheating can occur – for example, a hot spa – can also have a negative impact on sperm production.
- Although not necessary to guarantee conception, female orgasm can certainly improve the chances of a fertilized ovum implanting successfully.
- Maintaining intimacy and connection while planning to conceive, and during pregnancy, is very important.