As much as you'd like to think of "implantation" as your baby snuggling down into the quilty softness of your uterus and pulling the covers up for a nine-month nap, the truth is a little less bedtime ritual and a lot more Alien. When the embryo hits the uterus, it releases enzymes that actually eat away at the uterine lining so that it can burrow on in. Nice, huh?Once safely implanted, the little ball of cells will split in two. One part will become the embryo—aka your bundle of joy—and the other part will form the placenta (your baby's 24/7 coffee shop, from where he or she will get all of his or her nutrients). The embryo and your uterine lining will start working together to create an intricate network of blood vessels to supply oxygen and food to the newly forming placenta and the embryo itself.Near the end of this week, your bouncing mass of cells will start producing its first dribbles of that most famous of pregnancy hormones, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This is the hormone that will be behind most of your pregnancy symptoms in the coming weeks and months. It's also the one that will show up as a plus sign on that home pregnancy test you're going to take in a week or so.
- Just because you don't know if you're knocked up yet doesn't mean there isn't plenty going on inside of you. This week starts with what is probably one of the most momentous events in your pregnancy (besides the meeting of egg and sperm and when you actually have the baby): implantation. In other words, your Mini Me or He (technically called a "zygote") will set up shop in the lining of your uterus this week and hunker down there for the next 37 weeks.
By the end of this week, your little sugar pie will be made of 500 microscopic cells.
If you're feeling tired this week, or you're convinced that your breasts are achy or are already starting to enlarge, it may not be all in your head. They're both early signs of pregnancy. You might also be having major mood swings (according to your partner, anyway-you're pretty sure you're being quite levelheaded and reasonable). This is all due to the hormones that are racing like Danica Patrick through your body. Those hormones are also responsible for the unimaginable exhaustion you might feel at all hours of the day. That sudden urge to pee every 10 minutes is also an early sign of pregnancy. Unfortunately, you'll keep on peeing with this irritating frequency for the next 37 weeks, so load up on Charmin.You may even experience the first twinges of morning sickness this week. Once you get that positive pregnancy test next week, you'll realize it actually wasn't your partner's driving that was making you feel queasy (and apologies will probably be in order). It certainly doesn't help matters that your sense of smell is suddenly sharper than a Labrador's and everything you get a whiff of makes you want to barf.If you've been charting your body temp trying to peg down ovulation and you find your temperature stays high for a few days, congrats: You're probably preggo!
- When your baby implants in your cushy uterine lining later in this week, you might notice a little bit of spotting. Nothing to worry about-in fact, it's your first sign of success.
If you've been hitting the treadmill already, feel free to continue working out. Aerobic exercise will actually make your pregnancy easier as long as you don't try to break any endurance records. Speaking of breaking endurance records, here are the pregnancy warnings that ought to be printed on the side of every elliptical machine: Keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute and your body temperature below 102 (i.e., skip the midsummer Arizona triathlon). More realistically, that also means foregoing long soaks in the hot tub and staying out of the sauna for the next nine months.
- You're only a couple of hours pregnant, so you can't blame baby for that growing gut quite yet. Still, if you're trying to conceive, and especially if you think you may have hit the jackpot this month, this is no time to start dieting or to start an exercise program.
If you're not already knocking back a daily prenatal vitamin, start now. It's especially important right now to get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. If the idea of swallowing those horse-sized pills makes you gag even before the morning sickness kicks in, you can try to get at least some of your folic acid through your diet. Best sources include beef liver, spinach, black-eyed peas, peanuts and orange juice. Or look for a breakfast cereal that's fortified with folic acid so you can fill your daily quota in a single bowl.
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