You are actually not pregnant, yet...
There are several reasons why it is difficult to know exactly when conception occurs. That's why we calculate the beginning of pregnancy from the first day of your last period, which is about two weeks prior to when conception actually occurred. Ovulation occurs about 14 days after the first day of your last period. However, it may vary slightly depending on whether your cycle is:
- 25 days (ovulation between days 9-13)
- 28 days (ovulation between days 12-16)
- 34 days (ovulation between days 18-22)
You can only get pregnant during ovulation. You may notice that the consistency of your vaginal secretions becomes clearer and thinner. This is so that sperm will be able to move forward quicker and easier. When ovulation is over, the vaginal secretion becomes thick and white again. During ovulation, you may notice a rise in body temperature of about 0.5 degrees.
The egg can only be fertilised within 24 hours of ovulation. Therefore, it is best if fertilisation occurs just before ovulation or just at that time. This way, the sperm will get to the egg and fertilise it in time. Consequently, you are not "pregnant" in week 1 but have your menstruation. In week 2 you have ovulation and in week 3 the egg is fertilised and is on its way down to the uterus.
When planning to get pregnant, it is wise to assess one's lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is obviously always good, but it is extra important before and during pregnancy. Get rid of bad habits as fast as you can, eat healthy food and exercise regularly. Further, before pregnancy, supplementing your diet with folic acid is recommended. Studies have shown that 400 micrograms of folic acid a day reduces the risk of spina bifida in the child. It is recommended that you take folic acid until the end of week 12, but you may as well continue to take it as it is beneficial during the pregnancy and also during breastfeeding. Talk to your midwife if you have questions about folic acid, and anything else you're wondering about - your pregnancy begins … now!