Although being 2 weeks pregnant may sound like you are on your way, there is still some time to go before your bun is in the oven. But, with a couple of well-timed interventions and a little luck, you and your partner will be able to make the most of your chances of a successful conception.
In the 2nd week of pregnancy, some essential and complex processes are happening within your brain and reproductive organs. Although you can't see what's going on and may only feel the slightest twinge, being 2 weeks pregnant is the start of what could be a series of events which lead to your baby becoming a reality.
- Each month, 1 of your 2 ovaries will release an egg. This is alternated from side to side and in some women and more than 1 egg is released in each monthly cycle. The egg sits in a "bed" of fluid, known as a follicle. The follicle is influenced by a specific hormone which tells it when to rupture so the egg can be picked up by the fallopian tube. Although many follicles start the process of maturing an egg each month, only one dominant one, from a field of about 20 will make it out.
- At the same time as your follicles are busy maturing an egg, the lining of your uterus is building up. Oestrogen is released by unique cells in the follicles and this helps prepare your uterus to receive a fertilised egg.
- If fertilisation of your egg with your partner's sperm doesn't occur, the blood-thickened lining inside your uterus will not be needed and that’s what will be released in your next period.
When will you ovulate?
Most women have cycles which last between 28-32 days, though a couple of days either side of this is still considered within a normal range. Ovulation usually occurs on or around the 14th day after the first day of the last period. In women with longer or shorter cycles than the standard 28 days, ovulation timing will be different.
How can you tell when you ovulate?
There are some subtle things which you may be aware of when you are ready to ovulate. These are specific to each woman and what you may experience will be different than anyone else!
- Some women develop a heightened sense of smell or sensitivity to odours they aren't usually conscious of.
- Pain in the pelvic region. This is known as Mittelschmerz; a German word which translates to ‘middle pain’.
- Changes to the cervical mucus. These changes from the normal pattern are designed to encourage the sperm to swim more easily up through the cervix and towards the egg. Fertile mucus can look like egg whites or be more watery and slippery than it usually is.
- Some women develop an increased libido and feel more sensual towards their partner. At some biological level, this is nature's way of encouraging couples to have sex at the most fertile time of a woman's cycle.
- There are saliva and urine tests available which can detect hormonal changes to alert a woman to the fact that she has ovulated. These tests are available at medical stores.
- An increased basal body temperature. A woman's temperature raises a couple of degrees from her baseline temperature when she is ovulating. Charting your temperature for a couple of months will help you see a pattern developing which can help you know when you are most fertile.
- An egg is capable of being fertilised for around 12-24 hours after it has been released from its follicle. Sperm can live for much longer, around 3-5 days. Which means they can lie in wait for a few days, biding their time until the opportunity presents itself for successfully fertilising an egg. Therefore, if you are trying to get pregnant, it is worthwhile to time sex to coincide with a few days of when you have ovulated.
Fertilisation of the egg with a single sperm usually occurs in the fallopian tube and this occurs in the 3rd week of pregnancy. It is important that the zygote (single cell) continues to move down towards the uterus, because it starts to divide quickly and the cells to multiply.
Things to keep in mind
- Fascinating and complex as it all is, ovulation is only one half of the story when it comes to making a baby and getting to 2 weeks of a pregnancy. When your partner ejaculates, around 100-300 million sperm are present in his seminal fluid. But it only takes one sperm to fertilise your egg and from that precise moment, all the other sperm give up trying.
- There’s no need to worry if you don't conceive in the first month or more that you start trying. It can take a while to get to know your cycles and when your most fertile time is likely to be. There is only around a 20% chance of falling pregnant each month and it takes many couples up to 12 months or more to conceive!
- You may feel more amorous, have a higher libido or just find your partner more attractive than you usually do. Somehow, those irritating little habits of his just don't seem to matter anymore. Well, not for this week anyway.
- Your baby has still not been conceived in this week, even though you are officially two weeks pregnant. However, there is potential for it to be when you have ovulated. All of your baby's genetic information is contained in the single cell you release from one of your ovaries midway between your cycles.
Tips for the week
- Give up if you smoke cigarettes. Nicotine can affect fertility and reduce the likelihood of conceiving in some women.
- If you want to conceive, make plans to have some intimate time with your partner. In our busy lives this can sometimes take some planning and organisation.
- If you haven’t started in the first week, it’s time to start taking pre-natal vitamins that include folic acid. The recommended dose in early pregnancy is 500 mcg/day. Consult a doctor before starting any course.