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Guide to Being Three Weeks Pregnant

If you're trying for a baby, week three is show time. See pregnancy pictures.
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If you're trying for a baby, this is your big moment. Conception typically occurs during week three, which means you are not just technically pregnant, you're actually pregnant. At last, a microscopic ball of cells to call your own.

Yes, week three's a big one, the opening act to a long haul of physical, emotional and lifestyle changes that would probably have you jumping for joy and waving goodbye to your former self if you only knew what was going on in there.

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But, you probably don't. At three weeks, the symptoms are few, if any. Some women, however, do experience subtle signs …

At this point in your pregnancy, you probably feel like your same old self.
At this point in your pregnancy, you probably feel like your same old self.
Juzant/Digital Vision/Getty Images

You know how you usually feel during week three of your monthly cycle? That's probably how you feel right now.

A few women might feel "premenstrual" symptoms like breast tenderness, moodiness, a bit of cramping, or fatigue. You could feel the twinge of ovulation in your lower abdomen and see a thin, stretchy discharge. Some spotting is also a possibility (it's from the zygote implanting in the uterine wall), but that doesn't happen for everybody.

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Most likely, you won't know you're three weeks pregnant. There's no noticeable, dramatic change that occurs during or immediately after conception. But don't be fooled: There's some really amazing stuff happening beneath that guise of normalcy …

Around the beginning of week three (or the very end of week two), you ovulate -- one of your ovaries releases an egg into a fallopian tube. If, on the way to your uterus, that egg meets a suitable sperm, fertilization occurs, and you've conceived. Genetics established, gender determined.

The single cell that is your fertilized egg, or zygote, immediately begins dividing to become a multiple-celled blastocyst, and by the end of week three, that blastocyst is a full-on bundle of cells that could still fit on the head of a pin but is huge compared to the zygote it was just days ago.

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All the while, that blastocyst is traveling through the fallopian tube, heading for the warm, squishy uterus that will be its home for many months. Once there, it starts implanting in the uterine wall.

Also this week:

  • Amniotic fluid is beginning to surround the blastocyst.
  • Your body begins producing pregnancy-level estrogen and progesterone (yay, nausea!).

All this organized chaos is happening inside mom, but that doesn't mean partners are out of the game …

Your partner should be able to help you wade though all the choices that come with pregnancy.
Your partner should be able to help you wade though all the choices that come with pregnancy.

While not everyone gets to have a partner in the pregnancy business, it is, ideally, a two-person job. (Minimum.)

While blastocysts are forming, hormones are releasing, and implantation is occurring, partners have one, huge responsibility: Sharing in the process. Those hormones can be a little tough on mom's mental state, and all that inner baby-making activity can be a serious drain on energy, even at this early stage. Assistance from a partner in such things as choosing a doctor, selecting pregnancy-related reading material and researching proper diets can make a big difference in how the sometimes-difficult first-trimester plays out.

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In short, get in there. She needs you.

Some other things to keep in mind during conception week …

As your blastocyst gets settled in, you may want to put some thought into:

  • Your health care options: Have you chosen an obstetrician, nurse-midwife or family practitioner to guide you through pregnancy and delivery?
  • Your habits: Have you quit using alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs? If not, do it right now. If you take prescriptions, ask your doctor immediately whether they're safe for pregnancy.
  • Your diet: Healthy eating is important from day one; now that you're actually pregnant, it's essential. Keep (or start) taking your prenatal vitamin, folic acid and iron, and put special attention toward increasing your calcium and protein intakes.
  • Your activity level: If you're already on an exercise regimen, talk to your health care provide about maintaining it; if you're not, ask about starting one up.
  • Your scale: If it might mess with your head, stay away from it. You'll be weighed at your check-ups to make sure you're doing OK.

Finally, what you don't need to put much thought into …

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At week three, don't put any stock in a pregnancy test.
At week three, don't put any stock in a pregnancy test.
Peter Cade/Iconica/Getty Images

At three weeks along, you probably don't know for sure yet, and there are a couple of things you might experience that make you worry you didn't get knocked up this month. But don't give up hope if:

  • You see a little spotting: This doesn't necessarily signal an upcoming period; it could mean you've got a little blastocyst burrowing into your uterine wall.
  • You test negative: At this point, a negative pregnancy test doesn't mean anything. The most sensitive pregnancy tests can detect pregnancy early in week four, about three to five days before your missed period.

Week three, conception week, is about as big as it gets in the life-making realm, and you'll look back on it with awe once your little one starts growing up. For now, though, you're probably still in the dark, your fingers crossed, your feet visible …

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For more information on pregnancy and related topics, look over the links on the next page.

Related Articles

More Great Links

Sources

  • "3 Weeks Pregnant." eMedTV. (Feb. 16, 2011)http://pregnancy.emedtv.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/3-weeks-pregnant.html
  • "3 Weeks Pregnant." Pregnancy Center. (Feb. 16, 2011)http://www.pregnancycorner.com/being-pregnant/pregnancy-week-by-week/3-weeks-pregnant.html
  • "3 Weeks Pregnant." Similac: Strong Moms. (Feb. 16, 2011)http://similac.com/pregnancy/3-weeks-pregnant-baby-growth-development
  • "Pregnancy Week 3." Women's Healthcare Topics. (Feb. 16, 2011)http://www.womenshealthcaretopics.com/pregnancy_week_3.htm
  • "Week 3 of Pregnancy." What To Expect. (Feb. 16, 2011)http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/3-weeks-pregnant.aspx

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