The following information—and much more—can also be found in the free Lamaze Pregnancy Week by Week email. Sign up now to receive helpful information for your stage of pregnancy. Subscribers will be given the opportunity to complete a Lamaze Parent Satisfaction Survey after their pregnancy and receive a Lamaze Toys coupon. We want to hear about your birth experience and the impact that childbirth education may have had so that we can continue to make sure parents have the information they need for the safest, healthiest birth possible.
You’ve contemplated pregnancy and learned all about ovulation…so now it’s on to conception! When conception begins, , the human body undergoes an avalanche of changes in a very short time. Each change supports the growth and development of the baby, and eventually prepares for labor and birth.
What’s new with baby?
Conception is when an egg and sperm join. Pregnancy can occur when the sperm burrows into the egg and conditions are positive, allowing that egg to become fertilized. After fertilization, the egg and sperm combine their genetic material to determine baby’s physical sex.
If the sperm carries a Y chromosome, it will be a boy. If it’s an X chromosome, it will be a girl. This combined ball of cells makes its way down the fallopian tube over time, aided by the fingerlike villi on the inside of the tube. This journey, and subsequent resting point within the uterus, to continue growing can take up to 12 days. This is the coolest part of the initial process – take a look at a virtual demonstration of this process.
What’s new with you?
The fertilization and conception phase is wondrous and happens, often undetected, during the time between the end of your last period until signs of pregnancy begin.
Meanwhile, what are you doing? It depends on how ovulation occurred for you. Let’s pick up the three scenarios from last week – follow the one that best fits you.
If your particular situation is not represented here, please let us know with a comment or email.
Scenario 1: All on your own. After sex, the egg and sperm connect, and share the genetic material to grow a baby. You may still be having sex to make a baby, without even knowing that it already worked! That’s perfectly okay, as more sexual activity at this time will not impact your new pregnancy. Implantation is the theme for next week; stay tuned!
Scenario 2: Putting the Pieces Together. Once ovulation is established, the next step is fertilization. If all goes according to plan, most people revert to the Scenario 1.
Sometimes fertilization is aided by medical technology around options like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) where, when ovulation is detected, the semen is collected, washed and prepared, and placed into the cervix/uterus with a tube and syringe. Fertilization can occur from this intentional process. A few words to the wise, you can also have sex during and in addition to this process. Who knows which method will do the trick!
Try not to compare yourself and your situation to others. You have your own story to tell. Remember what matters the very most; you as a person and your closest relationships. Be easy on yourselves and go with the flow.
Scenario 3: Determined and Focused. The egg and sperm connect in a very controlled medical environment. Sometimes more than one egg is collected at the same time with the help of hormones given to the person that wants to produce the eggs. One or two for these may then be fertilized and implanted into a uterus with the lush, nourishing lining prepared. Others may be frozen and stored, or they may be fertilized, frozen and stored for future use. The exact times of the key events are known and there is no human intercourse/sex involved to make this happen.
Options for these fertilized eggs to grow might include your uterus, or a surrogate. It seems that with each layer of added technology, you and your close relationships have to adjust emotionally. The stakes are high but it is all part of the journey towards fulfilling your dream to become a parent.
Let’s Talk: Reactions to the News
Maybe you have been “trying”, maybe you have been doing IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) or IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) (or other intentional ways of getting pregnant), or maybe you hooked up with someone one time and are stressed out, hoping that you are not pregnant. No matter the circumstances, this time is represented by a flurry of emotion, all the way from desperation to joy and anticipation. Pregnancy is a major life event, and for up to half of you, it may not have been expected!
Depending on your circumstances, achieving pregnancy could be viewed as a step to parenthood and family, or you could also feel oddly confused, scared, unprepared and in denial. Sometimes the news of pregnancy is initially upsetting and the “worst thing ever”, because it can negatively affect your plans, hopes or intimate relationship, especially if it came as a surprise. It is okay to feel these emotions, as they are all normal reactions to pregnancy. It can be helpful to talk about your feeling with someone you trust. You may also find assistance from a pregnancy counseling service in your area, like private businesses, health units, walk-in clinics or faith communities. Once you find a person to confide in, it may be easier to look more clearly at the path ahead.
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Just like many other situations, we have to make decisions at this time in our lives. Regardless of what choices you have available to you, it is optimal to make an informed decision, not just a knee-jerk or reactionary decision. An informed decision-making process will lay out all of the important considerations for you (who, what, when, where, why, how), encourage you to look at the pros and cons of each consideration, point out where more information is needed and identify helpful resources for you.
So, before you make a decision, look at your situation as clearly as possible. Spend some time finding out what options you have available to you, and ponder those options. Find a trusted impartial person to work through the process with you. Put your decision through the “BRAIN” test:
What does your Intuition say?
What would happen if you did Nothing
Finally, many people find that “sleeping on it”, or giving yourself 24 hours until you make your final decision helps confirm and solidify your thoughts.
Remember it is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
A Touch of Inspiration
“It never ceases to amaze me how from one egg and one sperm uniting, that millions and millions of cells combine to make (for the most part) a perfect baby! This is truly an amazing feat! I am astonished at every birth, that babies come out as perfect as they are.” - Sharon Prusky RN, CBE
TagsPregnancy Early pregnancy Lamaze Pregnancy Week by Week