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.
It is likely too early to tell you are pregnant with most home pregnancy tests. Nevertheless, your baby and your body have begun working intimately together. During week three your growing baby begins the process of implantation. This process occurs in much the same way for both spontaneous pregnancies and assisted pregnancies.
What’s new with baby?
The first trimester is a period of rapid growth and development for your baby. Your baby begins week three looking like a tiny ball of cells (blastocyst) and is now attaching itself to the inner lining of your uterus. The process takes a few days to complete and is the signal your body needs to release the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). While the levels of hCG start out low (1-2 mIU), they continue to double every 48-72 hours in the early days of pregnancy. It will still be several days or a week before hCG levels are high enough to be detected with a home pregnancy test.
What’s new with you?
As your baby attaches to the lining of your uterus, you may notice light bleeding or spotting. This is called implantation bleeding and is noticed by about 1 in 3 people. Because it usually occurs a few days before a menstrual cycle is expected, some people may believe they are having an early period. This may be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy you notice.
Let’s Talk: In Vitro Fertilization
There are many journeys that lead to pregnancy. For some, that journey is supported by reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). With in vitro fertilization, an egg and sperm are joined outside of the body. If a healthy embryo forms, it is then placed inside the uterus where it may implant and develop into a healthy baby. Let’s talk about the emotions experienced by those who have undergone assisted reproduction.
Story From a Mama Who Has Been There
Here I am, rounding out about 32 weeks of pregnancy (pun intended)…I have no idea how this happened. I mean, I remember the day that we drove out of state to have the IVF done. I remember seeing the little shooting star on the screen as they jettisoned the embryo, who is now our daughter, into me. I remember them poking around and it hurting a bit. I remember immediately changing my exercise routine and trying to rest up for a few days, but how I got from there to here is almost a mystery. Part of me still doesn’t believe it is true. How did I go from worrying about having another miscarriage to preparing to take care of an actual baby? With luck, I suppose.”
Read more about Julie’s journey on the Giving Birth With Confidence blog.
A Touch of Inspiration
“Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.” – Dr. Sukhraj S. Dhillon
Q & A with an Experienced Childbirth Educator
Question: I’m going through IVF treatments for infertility and I am feeling so stressed about the whole situation. I’m afraid this will hurt my chances of getting pregnant. Do you have any advice?
Answer: What you are feeling is normal and you are not alone. Here in Canada, about 2-4% of pregnancies are achieved through assisted human reproduction (tens of thousands of pregnancies, every year!). There are certainly lots of things to think about while having treatments and this can mean increased worry and anxiety. These worries will likely not affect your chances of getting pregnant, and you can read a great blog post about that on our Giving Birth with Confidence blog.
Learning how to cope with stress is helpful for everyone, but for a look on how to cope with stress specifically for couples going through fertility treatments, read this resource from Health Canada. Self-care techniques at home are often all that is needed for making stress and anxiety easier to deal with. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider when self-care techniques are not enough and you are finding that worries are impacting your relationships, sleep and day-to-day routines. The sooner you speak to someone, the sooner you can begin the steps to feeling better. Your fertility clinic may have a counselor on staff or they may have a list of recommended healthcare providers. Your family physician can also offer assistance. Finally, you can learn more about what to expect in a fertility counseling session.
For a look at US resources, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a great starting point.
Lisa Baker, BSc, Bed, LCCE, FACCE
Lisa Baker is a hospital-based childbirth educator and health promotion consultant in Alberta, Canada.
A mom of two boys, Lisa has been actively involved with Lamaze since 2011.
She is passionate about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting and educates parents and professionals alike.
Just for Fun
Positive thoughts, or affirmations, are not just for labor and birth. Start a Pinterest board or create a journal of affirmations to encourage you through the days of trying to become pregnant, working through assisted reproduction, and dealing with early pregnancy discomforts.
TagsPregnancy Early pregnancy Lamaze Pregnancy Week by Week