You’ve just found out you’re pregnant.
Whether you were planning a pregnancy or it was an unexpected surprise, you probably now have lots of questions.
It’s such an exciting time and your brain is probably going into overdrive about what you need to know, what you need to do, and where to start.
This article is aimed at guiding you through what happens in the first weeks of pregnancy.
#1: How can I tell if I am pregnant after 1 week?
Assessing when the first week of pregnancy actually is can be a little confusing. Technically, by the time you miss your period and pee on that little stick, you’re around 3-4 weeks pregnant.
The first day of your last period is what your healthcare provider uses to determine your due date, which is about 4o weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period.
This is standard for most healthcare providers, as in most cases it’s really hard to determine exactly when ovulation and implantation occur.
It’s best to wait until you have missed your period before taking a pregnancy test.
You can either get a pregnancy test kit from your chemist or visit your doctor, who will take a sample of blood.
Some newer tests can detect this hormone in the urine as early as three weeks but, to prevent false positive pregnancy test results, the best time to do a test is after your period is due.
Our article When To Take A Pregnancy Test- For The Best Results explains this even further.
#2: First few weeks of pregnancy symptoms
I say possibly, because not all women feel early pregnancy symptoms. Some women might not notice any signs at all.
If you’ve been tracking your menstrual cycle you might know exactly when to pinpoint ovulation (when your egg is released), when conception occurred, and when you can expect symptoms of pregnancy to kick in.
By the way, have you seen this amazing video The Miracle Of Conception – A Spectacular Video yet?
If you’re very aware of your body you might even be able to tell you’ve ovulated during your cycle by the cramping that can occur.
Some women even feel implantation of the fertilized egg as a crampy feeling.
Our article Cramps At 4 DPO – Could It Be Implantation? is a great read.
The first trimester is considered as the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.
The second trimester is from week 13 to week 24, and the third trimester is counted from the 24th week to 40 weeks.
Each trimester brings along with it different stages and symptoms and varies among women.
We have a great article Pregnancy Week By Week – The First Trimester that breaks down each week in much more detail.
#3: Early signs of pregnancy
Some women don’t even feel symptoms, so if you don’t, there’s no need to worry. Take things day by day and trust your body to know what it’s meant to do to support your growing baby.
Many women experience some early signs of pregnancy in the first trimester, from a few to possibly many.
Some of the most common early signs of pregnancy are:
- Raised temperature
- Implantation cramping
- Sore or tender breasts
- Mood swings
- Morning sickness
- Increase in vaginal discharge
- Darkening of the nipples
- Weight gain
Your baby is growing and busily developing organs, which your body is working hard to support.
Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period is a great read to find out more about these early signs of pregnancy.
#4: What happens to your body in the first few weeks of pregnancy?
We’ve talked about weeks one to three, let’s now talk about week 4!
By week 4 of the first trimester, there might be much more obvious changes going on for you.
First, you might notice your breasts are becoming tender to touch, and growing in size. The circle around your nipple is growing larger and darker.
You might notice you’re gaining weight. In some cases, though, pregnant mothers might initially lose weight.
Your normal vaginal discharge might become a little heavier than usual, and increases even more as the pregnancy progresses.
You might notice a small firm lump in your bloated lower abdomen; this is the uterus in which your embryo is growing.
These symptoms are common at 4 weeks pregnant and often settle as the pregnancy gets into the second and third trimester.
Continue checking your baby’s development with our pregnancy week by week pages and join our mailing list.
#5: What do you feel in the first few weeks of pregnancy?
For some, the first trimester can be such an amazing time, as your body takes on its new role and supports its new occupant.
Many expecting mothers find the news exciting and the anticipation they can feel is fantastic.
For others, it can be a really hard time, as their bodies struggle to cope with the rising hormone levels and physical transformations.
It might also be a shock, especially if unexpected, and it’s normal to go through many different emotions. So don’t worry if you aren’t jumping with joy the way everyone might expect you to.
The most important thing is to be gentle with yourself. This is a very vulnerable time in your life. Talk to your partner and to a health professional if you are struggling emotionally.
#6: Signs your pregnancy is going well in the first trimester
One way to help you feel more at ease with what’s going on is to know that if you’re struggling with things such as nausea, headaches, or fatigue, it’s a great sign your hormones are rising in preparation for your baby.
You can take reassurance from the fact these signs are normal for the first trimester of pregnancy, and your body is doing exactly what it needs to be doing.
That’s not to say a woman who isn’t experiencing these feelings is at risk, or that there is anything wrong.
#7: What should I do in the first few weeks of pregnancy?
If you have just found out you are in early pregnancy, there are several things you will need to do.
The first thing you might want to do is tell the world. This is a very personal decision and only you will know how you want to share your wonderful news.
Many expecting parents hold off from telling the world until the end of the first trimester, or 12 weeks. They might choose to tell only very close friends and family, until they get through those crucial early weeks.
Read 4 Reasons Not To Wait Until 12 Weeks To Announce Pregnancy if you’re unsure what to do.
If you have only taken a home pregnancy test, it’s important to visit your doctor and confirm the pregnancy with a blood test and ultrasound.
An early ultrasound dating scan is the most accurate way to find out the possible due date for your baby. And that is probably one of the first things you might want to know.
Your doctor can also give you advice about how to take care of yourself in the best way possible, and suggest vital supplements, such as folic acid, to protect your baby.
#8: What are the risk factors in the early weeks of pregnancy?
The first trimester is when your baby is developing major organs so it’s quite a crucial time to take care.
The early weeks of pregnancy are when your baby is most at risk of harm from external factors.
One study looks at how stress can affect fetal development.
Other factors such as alcohol, smoking, and drugs are discussed in this report from the National Institute of Health.
The report also discusses other health-related factors that can affect the development of your baby. They are worth knowing about, especially if you are planning to get pregnant, as these factors can be reduced or even deleted.
If you weren’t planning on being pregnant, or following all pre-pregnancy advice or rules already, now is the best time to start looking after yourself as well as possible.
Discuss the medical advice you’re given, with your healthcare provider, and make sure the things you need to know to reduce risks to your baby are explained fully.
#9: Lifestyle changes in the first few weeks of pregnancy
Many women today plan their pregnancies well and truly before they actually conceive.
This can be really helpful for the optimal health and wellbeing of the mother during the pre-conception time. We now know improving health before conception, with supplements such as folate (the natural form of folic acid), can improve fetal wellbeing.
Sometimes pregnancy isn’t always planned, though, so it’s possible you might not have been taking the best care of yourself before you found out you were pregnant.
Many women also realize they drank alcohol before knowing they were pregnant.
That’s ok though. Don’t panic!
It’s not too late to make changes to your lifestyle straight away and keep them going for the next 40 weeks.
Read our article What To Avoid During The First Trimester for other things you need to know.
It’s a great time to check in with your doctor to discuss any regular medication you might be taking for any medical conditions, and how your pregnancy might affect that.
If you are struggling to make the necessary changes that are needed for the optimal health of you and your baby, please reach out for support from your medical advisers, family, or friends.