The first couple of weeks of pregnancy can be a confusing time: Is there a baby inside me? When will I be a mom? Should I be eating this much ice cream?
Answers: No, there's not; 38 to 39 weeks from now; and sure, indulge a little. No, seriously, go ahead: Studies have shown that whole-milk dairy increases fertility, and you'll be trying to conceive at the end of week two.
Once you conceive, your 40-week gestation period will be calculated as starting on the first day of your last period -- so, like "one-week pregnant," two weeks along exists only in retrospect. That doesn't mean the second week of pregnancy doesn't matter, though. There's no baby yet, but there's a lot of preparation going on.
So, what does it feel like to be two weeks along?
What You Might Be Feeling
At this early stage of pregnancy (pre-pregnancy, really), you won't be feeling anything out of the ordinary. Your last period is over, and you're in the second week of your cycle. Whatever you typically experience during that time is what you'll be experiencing now.
That could mean:
- Larger, tender breasts
- Slight pinching in your pelvic area (from ovulation)
- Mood swings
- Mucus discharge that is sticky, thick and a little cloudy
Not exactly a sure sign of pregnancy. It's what you feel every month at this time.
What's Going On in Your Body
You may not be growing a baby yet, but you're setting the stage. In the second week of pregnancy, your body is building the nest that will house, nourish and protect your fetus until it's time to enter the world.
- Your menstrual flow is over.
- Your uterus is developing a thick, nutrient-rich endometrial layer.
- Your estrogen levels are up, increasing fertility.
- A couple dozen eggs are filling tiny sacs called follicles, which will ultimately release them into your fallopian tubes when you ovulate.
- At the end of this week, you are ovulating, and eggs are awaiting sperm (which will hopefully arrive within 48 hours, when your body is most receptive).
- At the end of this week, you may conceive (this could also happen at the beginning of week three).
There are ways to increase the chances that you'll conceive this month.
Guide to Being Two Weeks Pregnant
Conception takes two, of course. Partners are a crucial part of the process whether or not they're providing the sperm -- support is what it's all about. Partners are responsible for alleviating stress and providing comfort, both physical and emotional, during these early weeks, throughout the pregnancy, and especially in the weeks immediately following delivery.
And, if the sperm is in fact coming from your partner, he'll want to be aware of (at least) a few things:
- Heat reduces sperm count. Jacuzzis, hot tubs, saunas and electric blankets should be avoided at this time.
- Saliva kills sperm. Just say no to oral sex if you're trying to conceive.
- Since the 48 hours following ovulation are the most fertile, have sex at least once a day starting at the end of week two and through the first few days of week three.
In these final days of preconception, and perhaps the first few days of actual pregnancy, there may be a lot of things on your mind, but you might want to prioritize.
Some Things to Consider
It's best to stay calm and relaxed at this time, since stress makes it more difficult to conceive (and enjoy life). However, you may want to put some mental energy toward answering the following questions:
- Have you eliminated harmful behaviors like drinking, smoking and drug use? This is essential and should be addressed immediately.
- Once you conceive, who will you call? An obstetrician? Family practitioner? Nurse-midwife?
- How will you get the folic acid you need? You should start getting at least 400 micrograms (mcg) a day, as soon as possible, in order to dramatically reduce the risk of certain birth defects. While you can get it from food, pill form is the easiest way to know you're getting enough.
- Will you take birthing classes? Prenatal yoga or other exercise classes? Now is a fine time to find out what's available in your area so you don't find yourself rushing later on.
Don't Worry If...
At week two of pregnancy, there are (at least) a couple of things you may be tempted to worry about that aren't really worth the stress at this point.
First, you may not conceive on the first try -- or the second, third or fourth. This is not cause for alarm. At the age of 20, you have a one-in-four chance of conceiving each month. As you get older, the chances go down. At 39, it's one-in-ten. This is completely normal and doesn't mean there's a problem.
Second, at two weeks pregnant, you don't know you're pregnant, so you may still be drinking that glass of wine with dinner. This is not something to worry about -- there's no fetus yet, so there's no way to do it any harm.
Soon enough, there will be a fetus, and you'll have plenty of behaviors to curb, so sit back, relax and grab yourself one final gob of cookie dough. You may not be eating raw eggs again for a while (or deli meat, or unpasteurized cheese, or quadruple espressos :).
For more information on pregnancy, parenthood and related topics, look over the links on the next page.