1 Week Pregnant
- July 6, 2021
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello mamas and papas-to-be! Welcome to my new Pregnancy Week by Week series! I began filming this series when I learned I was pregnant with my sixth child at four weeks of pregnancy and took it through week 30 when I unexpectedly gave birth prematurely. (You can learn about my journey with my sixth baby Bracey in my Baby’s First Year series). I thought that my sixth pregnancy would be the perfect opportunity to document my weekly experiences so that you’ll know what to expect as you make your way through your own pregnancy. I’ve also included advice, research and the tips I developed through nurturing five (soon to be six) babies.
So Week 1. The beginning . . . or not!? Believe it or not, during your first and second weeks of pregnancy, you aren’t actually pregnant. This sounds counterintuitive but it’s true.
*Side note: if you’re aware that you’re expecting — maybe you found out through a pregnancy test — move along to Week 4, the week during which most women find out that they’re pregnant.
1 Week Pregnant: Common Symptoms
Week 1 is the week of your last period, and the symptoms you will experience this week are those of your period and PMS. Since each woman has varying degrees of period symptoms, you may or may not experience all of these symptoms:
Hopefully, you already eat a healthy diet full of vitamins and nutrients. Drawing from my previous pregnancies, I have compiled many healthy recipes that are just what your pregnant body needs. Starting in Week 4, each post will contain one of my favorite recipes — yum! However, even with a nutritious diet, there is a good chance you may become vitamin deficient. For that reason, it’s essential to take prenatal vitamins. Doctors have even suggested that you begin taking prenatal supplements up to a year before trying to conceive to make sure your body doesn’t become malnourished. Having high levels of the important vitamins in healthy food and prenatal supplements reduces your baby’s risk of birth defects and promotes your health during and after pregnancy.
Food-based Versus Synthetic Prenatal Supplements
Let’s distinguish between natural, food-based prenatal supplements and synthetic prenatal supplements. Avoid synthetic supplements; they are more difficult for your body to absorb and come with side effects. Natural, food-based supplements are more expensive and contain lower overall levels of vitamins. But these natural supplements are easier on your stomach and for your body to absorb.
Fun Fact About Pregnancy
The only method of inducing labor naturally that has been scientifically proven is nipple stimulation!
Tips for Conception
Trying to conceive can sometimes be a nightmare, trust me! Whether you’re trying to regain your fertility while breastfeeding your newborn or you’re trying for baby #1, there are ways to make the process of conception easier. Planning intercourse around the most fertile times in your menstrual cycle can be a bit of a chore. How romantic is it to rush home to have sex according to a schedule, right? Below, I offer some tips and recommendations for how you can increase your odds of hitting the bullseye, if you know what I mean! Often, a combination of all the methods below seems to do the trick:
Tracking Body Temperature
A rise in a woman’s basal body temperature signals that her body is ovulating. Your basal body temperature (your temperature at rest) increases by around half a degree during ovulation. Keeping that in mind, track your temperature each morning right after you wake up over the course of several months. Analyze the patterns and note when your body seems to increase in temperature. Plan to have sex two days prior to ovulation for your greatest chances of conception. Romantic, no! Effective, some say yes, siree!
Tracking Cervical Mucus Changes
In the days leading up to ovulation, your cervical mucus will become clear and slimy — like raw egg whites. This jelly-like discharge will either decrease or it will become thicker and more opaque following ovulation. Thus, you can determine the most fertile point of your menstrual cycle by ascertaining when your cervical mucus adopts that raw, egg white consistency. This method can prove tricky since determining the color and consistency of your cervical mucus can be subjective: the line between egg white cervical mucus and snail slime is pretty thin, after all!
Tracking Menstrual Cycles
For this method, track the first day you begin to bleed (Day 1) as well as for how long your period lasts. Note: day one is the day your period blood flows, not when spotting begins. Repeat this process over several months to get an average length of your period. Using an app or a calendar, determine your date of ovulation. Subtract 14 from the average length of your menstrual cycle (if your cycle is 28 days long, subtract 14 from 28), and the number you get is the day that ovulation occurs in your cycle. While this method seems promising, I’ve found that it can be inaccurate for me because I have an irregular period.
Ovulation Predictor Kit
If you’re willing to spend money, purchase an ovulation predictor kit at your pharmacy. These kits alert you to when your hormones increase, indicating the period before ovulation. While this sounds like a foolproof method, it can result in your attempting intercourse too late as you’re waiting for the time right before ovulation occurs. For this reason, it is advisable to use the kit over the course of several months, which allows for a more accurate prediction of the time of ovulation. I used one of these kits to get pregnant with my first baby.
Your Pregnancy at 1 Week: Prenatal Appointments
Preconception quite simply means the period before you conceive your child, or before your egg becomes fertilized by your partner’s sperm. It may seem weird to schedule a doctor’s appointment to discuss your pregnancy before you’re actually pregnant. But a prepartum appointment is a great way for you to learn how to increase your chances of conception as well as the steps you can take to provide a healthy environment for your little one, both inside and outside the womb.
What to Discuss at Your Preconception Appointment
At your preconception appointment, you will discuss:
- how to safely wean yourself off of birth control pills (if you’re on them)
- what medical conditions you have, what medications you’re taking (which may need to be swapped to pregnancy-safe alternatives)
- the best times to try to conceive based off the patterns of your menstrual cycle
- your doctor may ask you about your recent travel history, work history, surgical history, and family medical history to assess for potential areas of risk to your pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Tests and Screenings
During your prepartum appointment, your doctor will conduct or order a bunch of tests and then chat with you about pregnancy. These tests will measure your blood pressure, weight, and mental wellbeing. Your doctor will examine your breasts, pelvis, abdomen, and cervix, and then conduct a Pap smear. Your doctor also might order a blood test, urine test, and a screening for gynecological conditions. A lot to go through, right?
If the thought of going to a preconception appointment is a bit daunting, think of it in a different way. Consider the tests and screenings you undergo as preparation for the marathon you are about to run. While this is a great metaphor, it’s also true: pregnancy is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Making sure your body is ready for it is a great way to ensure a smooth ride with minimal bumps in the road.
Week 1 Pregnancy Checklist
- Record the first day of your period for several months
- Begin taking prenatal vitamins if you haven’t already
- Stop drinking alcohol, consuming caffeine, and smoking
- Ask your doctor about the safety of your current medications while pregnant