Guide to Being One Week Pregnant

Week one is full of hope and promise.
Week one is full of hope and promise.
Dougal Waters/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

When you're looking down the long, bloated road to motherhood, week 40 can look a whole lot more appealing than week one. It can seem a long time to wait to feel that tiny fist wrapped around your finger. And go without a glass of pinot.

But week one can be exciting. It's all anticipation, promise and being able to hold it until you get home. It's preparing for the best without an inkling of what hopefully are the worst swollen ankles you'll ever see. It is, in short, being pregnant without being pregnant.

The human gestation period is calculated in a way that perplexes everyone except your OB. In week one of your pregnancy, you're not actually pregnant yet -- but you're close. So, how exactly can you tell if you're one week along?

What You Might Be Feeling

When you're one week pregnant, you'll likely feel however you normally do during your period.
When you're one week pregnant, you'll likely feel however you normally do during your period.
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It's pretty easy to tell if your one-week, not-quite pregnant: You have your period.

At week one of your pregnancy (which is really only "pregnant" in retrospect, because your 40 weeks are calculated as starting the first day of your last period), the symptoms you may experience are the symptoms you experience when you menstruate. That may include cramps, cravings, headaches or nothing at all -- any of the stuff you normally feel at that time of the month.

How can your pregnancy technically start when you're still having your period? It's about what's going on at that stage of your cycle …

What's Going On in Your Body

At week one, there has been no meeting between sperm and egg. Your body is not pregnant. It is, however, preparing to be pregnant, should a sperm come along to do the deed.

Here's what's happening during your regular, monthly menstrual period: The old uterine lining from the previous month is sloughing off, setting the stage for a fresh new shot at growing an actual baby in there. At the same time, an egg is getting into position, waiting to be released into a fallopian tube where it will, perhaps, meet a sperm and be fertilized. (This is most likely to happen about two weeks after the start of your period; that's when you're most fertile.)

Fertilization is a two-person job, of course, and your partner might want to be aware of a few things, too …

What Your Partner Should Know

While you're trying to conceive, your partner will want to keep cool.
While you're trying to conceive, your partner will want to keep cool.
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If you are, in retrospect, one-week pregnant, you hopefully are there because you want to be. So your partner (and you) should be aware of the "heat issue."

The increase in body temperature that comes with things like saunas, Jacuzzis and electric blankets can have a negative impact on a man's sperm count. If your partner will be providing the sperm, he'll want to keep cool at this early stage.

Another partner tip: Great stress can make it more difficult to conceive. One of the most important things to remember during the first weeks of pregnancy (and throughout) is to help minimize stress. This might be a good time to institute a nightly bubble bath for the potential mommy-to-be. (It certainly couldn't hurt.)

Now, a few other things to think about at one-week nearly pregnant …

Some Things to Consider

If you're trying to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about any medications you're taking.
If you're trying to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about any medications you're taking.
Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images

True, you're not pregnant yet, but there's a reason why your gestation period begins at the first day of your last period: It's very difficult to say exactly when conception occurs. So it's best to prepare your body for baby before egg and sperm have a chance to meet.

Consider the following:

  • It's never too early to give up alcohol. Other drugs (both illegal and legal), cigarettes and certain legitimate prescriptions are also pregnancy no-no's, so talk to your doctor about anything you take.
  • Health and nutrition count from day (or week) one. That means eating well, exercising and popping a prenatal vitamin with lots of folic acid in it as soon as you know you'll be trying to conceive.
  • There's nothing wrong with a little vanity. Sure, there's not much solid evidence that stretch-mark-prevention creams work, but if there's any chance they will work it'll be because you start slathering early. Worst case scenario, you still get stretch marks but you skip the itching and dry skin that can come with pregnancy -- and begin a great pampering ritual (that your partner can be a part of, if you like).

Finally, what you don't need to worry about from day one ...

Don't Worry If ...

Remember, in week one, you're not even pregnant yet.
Remember, in week one, you're not even pregnant yet.

While perfection is, well, perfect, there's no need to freak out if you don't quite finish cleaning house before egg and sperm meet. If you have a glass of wine (or three) during week one of your pregnancy, there's no need to worry. After all, you're not actually pregnant.

Another thing that needn't freak you out? If it takes you a while to get to week one in the first place. It's perfectly normal for conception to take more than one try.

In fact, at this point, don't worry at all. It's easier said than done, but try to relax. You're gearing up for what will ultimately feel like a marathon, so pace yourself. There will be plenty to keep you worrying later on. Like whether or not you'll poop during delivery. (You probably will.)

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  • 1 Week Pregnant. Easy Baby Life. (Feb. 7, 2011)
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  • Weeks 1 and 2 of Pregnancy. What to Expect. (Feb. 7, 2011)
  • Your Pregnancy: Week 1. Parents Connect. (Feb. 7, 2011)