You are 2 Weeks and 6 Days 260 days to go…

Your reproductive organs undergo complex processes that will enable your body to maintain the pregnancy.

What’s happening inside

The blastocyst prepares to embed itself in the lining of the uterus—the endometrium. Once it is completely implanted—usually around seven days after fertilization—the pregnancy will become established.

If you have conceived, the ball of cells known as the blastocyst that will eventually form the fetus will now be preparing to embed in the lining of your uterus, and the placenta will be starting to form.

Before this happens, however, there is another important change going on. After you ovulate, the empty ovarian follicle develops into a structure called the corpus luteum (which means, literally, “yellow body”). This small, fluid-filled sac becomes increasingly “vascular,” developing blood vessels and beginning to produce the hormone progesterone. This is required to create mucus to allow your fertilized egg to survive, and build up the lining of your uterus, in which the blastocyst will soon imbed .

The corpus luteum also produces a little estrogen. By about 8–12 weeks of pregnancy, your placenta will take over the production of progesterone, but the corpus luteum continues to play a small role in hormone production until about six months, when it usually shrinks away.

The miracle of conception

When you consider the multitude of events that have to fall neatly into place before a baby is conceived, it’s hard to believe that anyone can become pregnant. No wonder they talk about the miracle of life!

To become pregnant the following have to happen:

  • Your hormone balance must be correct for the egg to develop.

  • Ovulation must take place: if you don’t release an egg, there is no way for fertilization to occur.

  • You need to have sex at the right time in your menstrual cycle; sperm can last about three days in healthy cervical mucus, but if your timing is off, egg and sperm are unlikely to meet. In some cases there may be only two or three days each month when you can conceive.

  • Your partner needs to produce plenty of good, healthy sperm that can penetrate your cervical mucus to reach the egg.

  • When the egg has been fertilized, the blastocyst has to implant securely in the lining of the uterus.

  • The right levels of the hormone progesterone must be produced by the corpus luteum to maintain the pregnancy.

… Doctor
Q: Should I stop taking medication in case I’ve conceived?
A: Many medicines are safe to take, but some are not, or have not been fully evaluated. This last group includes many antihistamines for allergies, over-the-counter sleeping pills, and many analgesics.

If you’ve accidentally taken an over-the-counter remedy that’s not considered appropriate for use in pregnancy, you’re unlikely to have done any harm with just one dose. However, seek medical advice if you’re concerned.

If you need to continue using a medicine in pregnancy, ask if it’s safe to do so. While pharmacists are well-informed on all medicines, your doctor is the best person to consult on prescription-only drugs.

You are 3 Weeks Exactly 259 days to go…

It’s a week since the egg was fertilized and it now implants in your uterus, where it will soon develop into an embryo.

What’s happening inside

The blastocyst is firmly embedded in the lining of the uterus. Once this has happened, the placenta (the temporary organ that supplies the growing embryo with oxygen and nutrients) will begin to develop.

Around seven days after fertilization, the blastocyst implants in the lining of the uterus. The outer cell layer, no longer protected, is able to attach to the lining of the uterus. The lining is now more receptive and has undergone changes that make it more “sticky” to aid attachment. The blastocyst erodes cells to sink beneath the surface.

What was originally a single outer layer of cells now transforms into two layers. The outermost layer of cells creates space by eroding the lining, and it secretes hormones. These hormones inform your body that you’re pregnant and stimulate the uterus to support the pregnancy rather than shed its lining in what would normally be your period. The innermost cell layer will become the placenta and the amniotic sac that encloses the embryo. Within the blastocyst there is an inner cell mass that will form the embryo.

Stretch and unwind

It can help to relax in this interim period, before you do a pregnancy test. Fill some time by getting in shape with these simple stretches. Getting into the habit of doing these exercises now will help your body deal with the increased demands once you know you’re pregnant. Stretch before and after exercising to prevent muscle strain.

To do a back stretch, get on all fours and lower your bottom toward your feet while stretching your arms out on the floor in front of you. Lower your forehead as far as you can, keeping your neck and back aligned, and stretch your arms as much as you can. Inhale slowly and then relax your back and arms as you exhale. Inhale and exhale 10 times.

To do a leg stretch, sit on the floor and stretch your left leg in front of you. Using your left hand take hold of your left foot for a few seconds. If you can’t reach your toes, don’t worry. Inhale to begin and exhale as you stretch. Repeat with your right leg.

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