Your guide to the first week of pregnancy:
So the first two weeks of your baby’s ‘life’ are spent as an unripened egg inside one of your ovaries and a sperm inside your partner’s testicles. But there’s plenty going on, as your body prepares itself for the beginning of your next monthly cycle.
The lining of your womb (uterus), which is called the endometrium, has been shed (in the form of your last period) alongside last month’s unfertilised egg. Now your womb begins to prepare once again. Your body releases oestrogen, which encourages the endometrium to thicken so a fertilised egg can implant into it.
Your body also produces follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which triggers about 15 of the eggs inside one of your ovaries to begin growing. Each egg is inside a sac called a follicle.
The sperm is produced in your partner’s testicles, where it takes around 10 weeks to mature. It is then stored in the epididymis, which runs across the top of each testicle, ready for ejaculation.
‘To do’ this week
Make sure you’re taking folic acid supplements. This B vitamin reduces the risk of your baby being born with a neural tube defect (NTD), such as spina bifida or anencephaly – abnormal development of the brain and skull. Ideally you should take it before conception so your body has high reserves of it when the neural and spine development of your baby occurs in the first few weeks. But it should definitely be taken throughout the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid is also found in citrus juices, dark, leafy veg, peas, beans and cereals which have been fortified with it.