Journey of Pregnancy

Pregnancy Journey
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Journey of Pregnancy Week 4

4 Weeks Pregnant: Small, Like A Poppy Seed You’re 4 weeks pregnant. Incredible! However, your baby now is practically still microscopic. Their size can be as big as the size of a poppy seed but no more. It’s called the blastocyst and currently, it has completed its long and arduous journey from the fallopian tube into the heart of your uterus.  Occasionally, you would have slight bleeding (spotting) but that just means your baby is trying hard enough to get through you to live. He is a fighter. Better make a super strong connection now that would be at least unbreakable for the next 36 weeks or so. Three layers of embryo, the tale of a 4 weeks pregnant Instead of just being a clump of cells, when you are 4 weeks pregnant, your embryo already has three distinct layers. The outermost layer (ectoderm) would form the nervous system, outer layer of skin, hair and eyes. By this moment, your baby’s neural tube which is the building block for the formation of the brain, spine and backbone has already been formed.  It seems healthy but  I hope you are still taking your folic acid frequently though. I mean, it's easy, right? Don’t chug the whole bottle though. The second layer or the middle is the mesoderm. Soon, this layer would develop into a variety of important organs that your baby can’t live without.  Sex organs, bones, heart, muscles and kidneys; all of these came from the mesoderm of your embryo. Better hope it would develop properly then. How about the inner layer? It's called the endoderm. This particular layer would form your baby’s liver, digestive system and sure, the lungs. It's vital for them right after their birth. Yeah, not now. Soon. 40 weeks but you can expect 38 to be exact There is a slightly confusing part when it comes to count your expected date of delivery (EDD). Practically, it can be calculated quite easily. Your EDD should be 40 weeks after your first day of your last period. However, what you should know is that figure is just an estimation. The actual moment when your baby clocked in can be very difficult to be determined. That’s because their clock starts about two weeks before conception. We have been using the date of women’s last period to count when the development actually started about two weeks later from the date given. It doesn’t matter which counting technique you use but it will be convenient to stick to the usual last menstrual period method. You are currently 4 weeks pregnant which means you would have another 36 weeks to reach full term. As this is an estimation, we can expect you to deliver in between 37 to 40 weeks. Some might stretch even further and deliver at the 41 or 42 weeks of pregnancy. A tiny dot, that’s what you can get so far If you are eager to do an ultrasound scan, just so you know, the thing that you can see on that machine up to this point (4 weeks pregnant), is just a tiny dot which we called the gestational sac. However, it's unlikely for you to have the first ultrasound scan as early as the first month. Usually, when you call your doctor to set up an appointment for prenatal screening, they would see you in a month's time.  So the earliest scan you would have could be done as early as 6 to 8 weeks of gestation. There is no need to see a doctor early if you are healthy as a horse when you are 4 weeks pregnant. Just remember to eat well, avoid drinking alcohol and smoking, enjoy your bits of freedom and stay hydrated. It’s certainly a big day for you but you better get some rest. We will see you next week.

Pregnancy Journey
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Journey of Pregnancy Week 3

3 Weeks Pregnant: Peek A Little, Do You See Anything Yet? Fertilization has succeeded for now. From that one cell, it will divide itself into two, then 4, then 8. You know what, how about 16? No, not enough, 32 then.  Would this ever stop? Yes, at 100 cells which we called the blastocyst. It’s a ball and it’s still microscopic. When you are 3 weeks pregnant, this cell would be the highlight of your show. One part of it would develop into a placenta while the other would form an embryo. Yes, when you are 3 weeks pregnant, its size is even smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. No kidding.  How do I know my baby’s gender when I’m only 3 weeks pregnant? After sperm and ovum have met at a specific point in your fallopian tube, they figure it's time to find a good place to settle down. Yes, let's move ourselves to the uterus. It has a great spot where they can plant themselves. The trip would take between 5 to 6 days but there’s no hurry. You wouldn’t feel anything when you are just 3 weeks pregnant. Onto the next question. So, is it a boy or a girl? Which one? Well, the good news is the gender of your future baby has been predetermined based on the genetic information contained in the sperm that fertilized your egg. If you are familiar with biology, then you would know sperm and ovum carry 23 chromosomes each. When they combine, you would get a normal 46 chromosomes, including one pair that would determine your child’s gender. Yup, even if you are only 3 weeks pregnant, your baby’s gender has been determined. Your husband’s sperm would carry either X or Y chromosome, while you (the ovum) are always X. If the combination is XX, then you’ve conceived a girl. If it’s XY, then you will conceive a boy. Now, for the bad news, you wouldn’t know your future baby’s gender, not until your little one is big enough. Right now, it’s unbelievably microscopic to be seen by ultrasound. Trust me, even after they have grown large enough, sometimes, it can be difficult to know. The physiological synchrony to support the growing foetus So what happens now? Just so you know, when it comes to your egg’s old place in the ovary, it has been replaced. That’s right, its previous follicle got a new tenant. A much obedient one who would like to stay for the next few months or so. Her name is corpus luteum. So many things happen when you are just 3 weeks pregnant. For now, the corpus luteum is kind enough to provide support to the growing baby. It supplies progesterone and oestrogen while waiting for the placenta to grow. After your blastocyst propels itself into the uterus, the part which is going to develop into a placenta would start to release a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), telling the ovaries to stop releasing eggs. Hold them off for now. It will also trigger the production of progesterone and oestrogen that would keep your uterine lining from shedding off which means, there will be no period, for the next few months or so. You will be filled with hormones but for now, your body is not used to it yet. That’s when you’re gonna get morning sickness and other pregnancy-related symptoms.  Maybe you wouldn’t get it when you are 3 weeks pregnant but you will definitely do. At this point, if you were expecting, then you would suspect it right away but if you weren’t expecting, you would typically think of food poisoning first. Nevertheless, you would know by the next one to three weeks or so. Yes, you would.