Preparing for your pregnancy

You’re not technically pregnant yet, but eating a well-balanced diet including folate will ensure proper fetal development after conception occurs.

What’s happening this week?

At this stage is just a beautiful twinkle in your eye – you are not pregnant yet but are probably actively trying to conceive. It will be about two weeks before conception actually happens.i

If you are wondering why the 40 weeks of pregnancy starts now, it’s because doctors find it hard to pinpoint the exact day of conception, so they count pregnancy weeks from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period.ii

What can you expect? 

The week you have your period is when your body begins preparing for possible pregnancy. The lining of your uterus is shed. Your body produces a hormone (FSH) which stimulates follicle production inside each ovary. Each of these follicles contains a single egg, which matures and awaits fertilizationiii.

Your ovaries will also produce estrogen, which triggers ovulation, or the release of an egg. Ovulation typically happens around two weeks after the first day of your period, though this varies from person to person.iv

What can you do to support your pregnancy?

Before getting pregnant, it’s recommended that you see your healthcare provider to discuss your plans and have a pre-conception check-up. This will help you understand what you need to do to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.v

You can meet your nutritional needs by eating a well-balanced and varied diet. It is important to take folic acid supplement as early as possible (ideally before conception) to prevent neural tube defectsvi. Dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, and whole grain products are also a good source of dietary folate (the natural form of folic acid found in foods).

Timing is extremely important if you’re trying to conceive. Try to have intercourse regularly around your ovulation. If you don’t get pregnant right away, don’t worry—many couples don’t conceive until after trying for a few cycles.

Some might find this period of trying too stressful. Expertsvii advise that by reducing your stress levels, proteins linked to implantation within the uterine lining may be enhanced and you may experience an increase in blood flow to your uterus. All this may give you a greater chance of becoming pregnant.

 


 

 

References:
i.     Fetal development: The 1st trimester. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-de...
ii     Pregnancy - week by week. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-week-...
iii    BBC - GCSE Bitesize Science - The menstrual cycle and fertilisation: Revision. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/triple_edexcel/control...
iv    Your baby at 0-8 weeks pregnancy - Pregnancy and baby guide. (2017, February 28). Retrieved March 20, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/pregnancy-weeks-4-...
v     Curtis, G. B., & Schuler, J. (2016). Your Pregnancy Week by Week  (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press.
vi    World Health Organization, WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience. Geneva: WHO Press. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.
vii   Bouchez, C. (n.d.). Stress and Infertility. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/features/infertility-s...