By Yvette Barton

Even though we say ‘1 week pregnant’ the truth is that you are not actually pregnant yet. It is hard to tell when ovulation occurs, so the first day of your last period is recorded as the beginning of your pregnancy and is the day that your Estimated Due Date (EDD) is calculated from. For this reason if you are pregnant, the start of your menstrual cycle will be regarded as 1 week pregnant.

Your Baby

At 1 week pregnant your baby has not yet been conceived. When you were born your ovaries contained thousands of ovum – or eggs – every single ovum in fact that your body will ever release. A single ovum destined to become your baby is still nestled in one of your ovaries.

Your Mind and Body

At 1 week pregnant you are having your menstrual period. Your hormones have begun stimulating the fluid-filled pockets in your ovaries which each contain an ovum. These pockets are called follicles. At the end of this week, one of these follicles and the ovum within it will be selected by your body to continue to mature in favour of all others, and have its chance at creating life. Until an embryo implants in your uterus you will not experience any physical symptoms of pregnancy.

You may be planning to conceive and waiting patiently for ovulation, or you may be blithely unaware that this month you are going to fall pregnant. You may even be tracking your cycle waiting for an IVF frozen embryo transfer. Your emotions at this time will depend on where you are within this range of possibilities.

If you are eagerly hoping for a pregnancy this month you may be experiencing anything from excitement at the possibility to fear or dread that you may not conceive. Remember that in conception, stress is an enemy. Try to stay calm, take time for yourself, get lots of rest and eat well.

Pre-Conception Care

The more we research pregnancy and infant health and wellbeing, the more we have come to see the importance of preconception care. Pre-conception care is not solely about prompting a successful pregnancy. Preconception care improves your chances of falling pregnant and having a healthy baby, as well as aiding recovery after the birth.

The way your baby is nourished and grows in your womb can have a profound impact on their health as an adult. Moreover, because men contribute half the genetic material required to create a baby, preconception care is just as important for men as for women.

Ideally preconception care should commence around three months before you plan to conceive. However even at 1 week pregnant, it is never too late to start taking better care of yourself to maximise your chances of pregnancy. Many health care practitioners, including midwives, naturopaths and doctors offer preconception care and can provide you with detailed information.

Calculating Ovulation

If you are attempting to conceive it can be helpful to know when you will ovulate. To fall pregnant you need to ensure that sperm meets your ovum within 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. To best ensure this you ideally want sperm to be in your fallopian tubes waiting for ovulation. But how do you know when you are ovulating?

A simple strategy is to use an ovulation calculator which compares the date of your last period and the usual length of your cycle, to calculate a fertile period in which conception is most likely. In addition, charting your basal temperature can provide a prediction of ovulation. There are also a wide range of self-administered ovulation tests available from pharmacies which can pinpoint your most fertile day/s based on changing levels of a key fertility hormone luteinising hormone (LH). These tests are generally more accurate than calendar or temperature methods.

Worried or Concerned?

The information contained in this article is intended as a guide only. If you are experiencing any unsettling symptoms, such as pain or bleeding, or are concerned about any other aspect of your pregnancy, please contact your midwife, obstetrician or GP for advise and assistance.

Written 8 May 2014