The week of immediately following your last menstrual period

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Week 1-4

No, there’s no baby or embryo in sight. At least not yet — just an anxious egg and a whole bunch of eager sperm at their respective starting gates.

But in weeks 1 and 2 of pregnancy — the week of and immediately following your last menstrual period — your body is working hard to gear up for the event that paves the way for baby: the big O, or ovulation.

Right now, your uterus has begun preparing for the arrival of a fertilized egg, though you won’t know for sure if that egg has successfully matched up with sperm until next month.

Calculating your due date

How can you call this your first week of pregnancy if you’re not even pregnant? It’s extremely hard for your practitioner to pinpoint the precise moment pregnancy begins (when sperm meets egg).

While there’s no mistaking the start of your period, the exact day of ovulation can be hard to nail down. What’s more, sperm from your partner can hang out in your body for several days before your egg comes out to greet it. Likewise, your egg can be kept waiting for up to 24 hours for late sperm to make their appearance.

Tips for You This Week

Fill up on folic acid

There’s no doubt that your body works overtime when you’re expecting, and it can’t make a baby all on its own. It requires plenty of nutrients to baby-build.

Get your body ready for baby by taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Loads of research has shown that folic acid, especially if it’s started in the months preceding pregnancy, has important health benefits for expecting women and their babies, including reducing the risk of congenital heart defects, gestational diabetes and preterm labor.

Ask your doc about meds

Whether you’re taking a prescription, OTC or herbal med, consult your doctor ASAP about which are safe and which could harm your baby-to-be’s health.

Herbal preparations are not tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not required to undergo clinical trials. Translation: Their safety (or lack thereof) is unknown. Even herbs that you’ve heard could be helpful during pregnancy may be dangerous at different points during the next nine months.

Kick your smoking habit

It’s never too early (or late) to kick a tobacco habit. Smoking seriously dampers your fertility and can harm your unborn baby.

Smoking around the time of conception increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy, and continued smoking can up the chances of a wide variety of pregnancy complications, including abnormal implantation or premature detachment of the placenta, premature rupture of the membranes and early delivery. Talk to your doc about safely stopping.

Have a preconception visit

Have you scheduled a preconception visit yet? No? Well, get to it! You’ll learn about genetic, environmental and lifestyle hazards that may put your fertility and baby at risk.

To prepare for your preconception checkup, gather information on the type of birth control you’re on, your menstrual cycles, a list of medications you currently take, any chronic conditions you have and your family health history.

Pick any position

More than a third of women think specific sexual positions up their chances of conceiving. But this is mostly a myth. Healthy sperm are excellent swimmers — and determined on their mission. Pretty much any position can get you pregnant, so you might as well pick one that gives you both the most pleasure.

If you’d like to add a little extra gravity into the equation, give sperm a head start by elevating your hips slightly and asking your partner to be on top.

Try to relax

Yoga? Meditation? Reading? Whatever it takes to relax, try to do it. Women who have the highest levels of a stress-related enzyme in their saliva called alpha-amylase were 29 percent less likely to get pregnant than those with the lowest levels, according to a study.

Look for signs of ovulation

Be an ovulation detective. At peak fertility, your cervical mucus increases and becomes more thin, gooey and slippery. Depending on how long your menstrual cycle lasts, your peak fertility can happen anywhere from 7 to 21 days from the first day of your last period.

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