3rd week of pregnancy equals 1 month or, 1st trimester
One of the millions of sperm wins the “reach-the-egg” marathon. The egg lets in only a one sperm; it seals the “doors” (its membrane) afterwards, leaving no chance for other sperms. The sperm contains the father’s genetic information, which it passes on when fertilizing the egg. The fertilized egg starts to grow right away, with 32 cells in 3 days and 250 cells in 3 weeks. The new life looks like a tiny 2-millimetre pea.
The joining of the fertilized egg and the uterus can trigger a specific feeling in woman, because it is a special moment: a conception happened. In a 10-day time, the fetus will settle down deep into the lining of the uterus, its “home” for next 9 months, and stop the regular menstrual period. The placenta that protects the fetus and connects it with mother’s body is being formed at the same time. Starting with the 3rd week the ultrasound scan can be used to confirm the pregnancy. But one of the most trustful signs is the period stop.
Changes In A Woman’s Body During The Pregnancy
The 3rd week is very important for the changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy. Those changes, though unseen to the others, include:
- Ovulation; the process where the egg exits the follicle;
- Fertilized egg implantation into the lining of the uterus.
The ovulation happens during the 3rd week of pregnancy, where the mature egg, ready to be fertilized, is released from the follicle into the fallopian tube. From this moment up to 24 hours, it is ready to meet the healthiest and fastest of the sperm. If the egg isn’t fertilised it dies and will pass out during the period with the thick lining of the uterus.
It is obvious that ovulation is miracle that starts with the release of the egg from the follicle and lasts just some moments. The follicle maturing takes about 16-32 hours. The release of the egg from the follicle is orchestrated by luteinizing hormone (LH). This hormone is produced in large amounts just before the ovulation. The LH increase in blood and urine can be tested. Those tests can help you to check if the ovulation is about to start and plan your pregnancy.
The processes before and after the ovulation are called the ovulation period, which can be quite different for every woman. Women with high sensitivity can tell on which exact day their egg was released from the ovary, and even feel if that was the left ovary or the right one that ovulated.
The main ovulation signs include:
- Cramp-like pains in the lower abdomen;
- Slight pain on one side of the body (where the ovulated ovary is located);
- Increased cervical mucous that resembles raw egg white;
- Increased sex drive and sensitivity.
After leaving the ovary, the egg has a short life of 12-48 hours waiting to be fertilized. The sperm is more viable, being able to fertilize up to 6-7 days. That’s why it is very important to define the conceiving period for the couples that want to have a baby. The ovulation is the indicator of the female reproductive system.
It takes about 2-6 hours till the egg finally meets the sperm. Millions of sperm (that look like tadpoles) are rushing to meet the egg, though most of them won’t survive the dangerous and difficult journey. Approximately 200 of a million, the toughest ones, will reach the fallopian tube and start to storm the egg. That’s the true nature of a new life being conceived: the toughest natural selection will let only one “tadpole” to reach its goal, while others are to die.
Photos Belly Of The 3th Week Pregnant
After getting through the protective membrane of the egg, the “lucky winner” starts the mechanism that will change the female body, showing that the conception happened. Now all the chemical changes and distribution of nerve impulses from the uterus will aim at protecting the fertilized egg from the woman’s body.
After penetrating the ovum, the spermatozoid sheds its no longer necessary tail, and its head unites with the nucleus of the egg. The sperm head and the egg contain 23 chromosomes each. After fusing together they form the zygote, the initial cell of the future baby that now contains 46 chromosomes. This new perfect formation, made of the father’s and mother’s cells, now has a unique genetic code that will determine all baby’s physical characteristics: from the eye color to the shape of the ears.
In the first hours after the fertilization, the zygote starts the cell division while moving down the fallopian tube. By day 21 the fertilized embryo, which now has a shape of a mulberry, will reach the uterus. This tiny little formation (only 0. 2 mm in size) is ready to implant.
The follicle that released the egg-cell, collapses and turns into a corpus luteum, a temporary formation, which signals to the uterus that the fertilized egg is about to arrive.
The Week 3 Ultrasound Scan
The corpus luteum facilitates the hormonal synthesis and cell division. The uterus is protected by nature from outer negative influences, such as an unhealthy diet, alcohol or a medication. But once the fertilized egg enters the uterus and implants in its lining, this will change. Now the future mom has to think carefully about her diet, emotional balance and the bad habits like smoking.
The zygote implants into the uterine lining, which takes about 40 hours and this process can cause a nagging pain in the abdomen and light bleeding. The cells division continues, with cells growing very fast in the lining of the uterus. As a result, a network of blood vessels is formed on the uneven surface, which will carry all the nutrients from the mother to the baby. This is the beginning of placenta development. The embryo will transform into a tiny human and the newly grown cells will form the placenta and the umbilical cord that will protect and nourish the baby.
The “uterine cake”, scientifically called the placenta, is a key organ during the pregnancy. The placenta, a powerful hormonal producer, provides the embryo with oxygen, nutrients, and microelements through the vein and helps to excrete byproducts and deoxygenated blood through the two arteries.
The placenta acts as the baby’s lungs, organs of digestion and kidneys.
The placenta also acts as a protective barrier for the baby from the toxic elements and bacteria, which can cause prenatal infections. It manufactures the hormones that preserve the pregnancy and change the woman’s body.
Different signals start to “inform” the woman’s body about the pregnancy since the fertilized egg implanted in the uterine lining. The body responds by producing the so-called pregnancy hormone, or human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
If the ovulation tests are based on luteinizing hormone, the pregnancy tests are based on human chorionic gonadotropin. Normally HCG level equals to 2-5 units, but starting with the first day of pregnancy, it doubles itself each day. In about one week after the implantation of the egg into the uterus, the test can show the positive two lines. HCG works as a catalyst for the cells produced by progesterone.
Progesterone is a key hormone for the pregnancy and the life of the fetus. Produced in large amounts, this hormone helps to relax the uterine muscles and ligaments for the fertilized egg, first to attach properly and, then, to prepare for the labor. If the woman has low progesterone the doctor will recommend the right medication to fix that. Many specialists blame this hormone for causing morning sickness and fatigue during the first weeks of pregnancy. Also it is progesterone that makes the woman’s breasts get bigger during the pregnancy.
By the end of the third week the woman has all the obvious signs of pregnancy:
- The urination becomes more frequent influenced by the pregnancy hormones, which causes some problems during the outdoor walks;
- Fatigue and drowsiness;
- Heightened sense of smell triggered by the increased levels of estrogen. Now your favorite perfume can make you feel nauseated and conversely a paint smell can bring a lot of happiness;
- Food preferences change rapidly, with vegetarians craving the meat steaks and meat-eaters turning to a green diet. A lot of women experience strong aversion to some food during this period.
The woman usually doesn’t have the same energy in the morning as before the pregnancy, with morning sickness, dizziness and nausea. This makes the changes in the diet so necessary. A nutritious breakfast in the bed is ideal. The future mom should take enough folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. The intensive physical activity should be avoided during this period, as it is dangerous for the pregnancy. The pregnancy test will be more accurate after the week 4.
- The challenges surrounding the egg implantation
- Some inflammatory processes can become chronic and cause problems for conceiving. An inflammatory condition of the lining of the uterus, called endometritis, can prevent the successful implantation of the egg or even the embryo being rejected. An inflammatory process in the pelvis can cause formation of adhesions, which leaves no chances for the fertilized egg to reach the uterus. This is when an ectopic pregnancy happens.
- During the ectopic pregnancy, the woman usually has pain in lower abdomen and light spotting with traces of blood. This is called tubal pregnancy.
- The ectopic pregnancy can be diagnosed by the human chorionic gonadotropin level test or by the ultrasound scan. With advances in medicine, the removal of the fallopian tube has become unnecessary, as laparoscopy is now used to fix this problem.
- If the eggs implants poorly it can detach;
- Flu and infections.
Good To Know
After conceiving, the egg reaches the uterus and attaches in the right spot, which is usually the inner uterine wall, the endometrium.
After the third week, increased discharges and pains in lower abdomen might occur. It is better to avoid the intense physical activity in this period as it may lead to unwanted complications.
If pain is persistent and discharges increase, the woman should immediately consult her doctor. The recommendations for the first and second weeks apply here as well.