In this new blog series we’ll be taking you week-by-week through each stage of pregnancy, from conception to birth.
Read below for the first instalment on getting pregnant:
The first day of your period will be the date that everything began!
The average menstrual cycle below may help to explain the timeline from your last period to your positive pregnancy test, but not everyone has a 28-day cycle:
Day 1: First day of your period
Day 7 – 15: Intercourse
Day 14: Ovulation
Day 14-15: Fertilisation
Day 21: Implantation (with possible bleeding)
Day 28: Period due, positive pregnancy test, and 4 weeks pregnant
You can see from the above that if you have a delayed ovulation by even a few days it will delay everything, including your period. Ovulation itself can be delayed by many things; illness, stress, anxiety, so a late period may just be down to that.
To confuse things further, sperm can last for up to seven days in the womb, easily waiting up to a week in your fallopian tube for the egg. So the day that you had sex may not be the date you conceived; it’s all to do with when your body released your egg, and the egg will usually only live for 24-36 hours.
How & When to Track Your Cycle
Using ovulation sticks or cervical mucus will help you to pinpoint when you may be due to ovulate and therefore when are the best times to have sex. You’re usually advised to start tracking ovulation around 7 – 10 days following the first day of your period.
With what we know about sperm and their journey; it’s the best swimmers that reach the egg, and of those elite few, only one will make it through the egg to fertilise it.
It therefore stands to reason that you don’t want to give any advantage to those sperm that aren’t in that elite bracket.
For many couples who are trying to conceive, the notion that they need to help sperm on their way by lying flat after sex can be overwhelming. However, there are infertility specialists who theorise that avoiding any assistance to the sperm (so standing soon after sex) will only allow the healthiest of sperm to fertilise the egg.
The Journey – 1 second pregnant!
Once your egg has been fertilised it then has to travel through your fallopian tube, into your womb, and burrow into the lining of your womb, or ‘implant’, and this stage usually takes around seven days from fertilisation.
The rule of thumb is that ovulation occurs around two weeks after the first day of your last period, and fertilisation around 24-36 hours after ovulation. As with everything in nature, very few of us follow the textbooks and some of us may well release our egg days before or after day 14.
How Do I Know If I'm Pregnant - The 2 Week Wait
For most couples this is a combination of the most exciting time and the most worrying. Every possible symptom is analysed, but here is a list of the most common:
- Inordinate tiredness
- Possible implantation bleeding (a few days before your period would be due and extremely light). We’ve discussed how to tell the difference between implantation and a light period in an article for Mother & Baby.
- Feeling ‘full’
- Tingling or sore breasts
- Heightened sense of smell
- Pica (desire for strange tastes and foods)
When to Test
Most home pregnancy tests are extremely sensitive and can be used up to four days before your period is due.
If you have a negative test, keep testing every few days until you either have a positive test or your period arrives.
If you’ve had a positive test, congratulations! You can now make arrangements to contact your GP to get booked in for your maternity care.
4 - 8 weeks of pregnancy is the next instalment in this blogs series.