We are moving forward in baby steps as we enter part two of the I-want-to-be-pregnant process. You won't notice it, but your body is probably working overtime. At this point (we hope) the fertilization of the egg cell by the sperm cell has taken place. From this moment on the cells fuse together and cell division begins. This clump of cells continues its journey to the uterus, where the fertilised egg has to implant itself in the endometrium. If this succeeds, you are pregnant!
Insemination of the fertilised egg
The implantation of the fertilised egg is crucial, this is the moment to realise a pregnancy. The fertilised egg is approximately one week old in the uterus. Every month the uterus prepares itself for pregnancy by thickening its mucous membrane. This makes it possible for the fertilised egg to nestle on the inside of the uterine wall. If this happens properly, your pregnancy test will colour positive the next time (Pregnancy Portal, 2019)!
Fun fact: The fused cells - which cannot be seen with the naked eye - determine the sex of your baby so early in the process,
the color of the eyes and hair and even different character traits (UMC Utrecht, 2019).
Of course we do not want to be negative, but it can happen that the implantation fails. The fertilised egg is then rejected along with the mucous membrane and taken away. This is also known as your period. Unsuccessful implantation can have several causes, but these are usually difficult to determine. It may be due to age, a delayed cell division or the quality of the mucous membrane. But this does not mean that implantation of the infamous egg is not possible in the next month(s) (Pregnancy Portal, 2019).
Do you notice that you feel different than usual? If so, we have compiled a checklist so that you can check for yourself whether you might be pregnant. Have you ticked more than four? Then we advise you to take a pregnancy test next week. Fingers crossed!
- Sensitive breasts
- A short fuse
- You're in an emotional rollercoaster
- Tired quickly
- Change in appetite
- A heavy feeling in the abdomen
- You feel weird, just a little different than usual
Ectopic pregnancy occurs in less than 1 in 100 pregnancies. In an ectopic pregnancy the fertilised egg has lodged itself outside the uterus. Often the fertilized egg has found a place in the fallopian tubes. It sometimes happens that the fertilisation takes place in the ovaries or somewhere in the abdominal cavity. Should this happen, it is not possible for the fertilised egg to move to the uterus or for a baby to be born from it, even if you test positive at the pregnancy test.
In the beginning of an ectopic pregnancy you will not feel anything, but between weeks 5 and 12 complications may arise. These include blood loss and severe pain in the abdomen. This pain can be compared to menstrual pain. If the Fallopian tube ruptures you may experience severe nausea. But vomiting, increased heart rate, sweating and fainting are also common symptoms. The treatment for ectopic pregnancy depends on the symptoms, the results of the ultrasound and the blood level of the pregnancy hormone. In some cases the body will break down the pregnancy tissue on its own, but sometimes an operation is necessary (UMCG, s.d.).
Be careful with medication
Medicines in all forms - pills, powders or drinks - enter your bloodstream. They can also reach your baby through the placenta. Between three and twelve weeks of pregnancy, these medicines can have a negative impact on your baby's development. So always consult your doctor or gynaecologist if you are taking medication and do not, we repeat, do not, play doctor. Doing so can have serious consequences for you and your baby (Gezondheidsplein, 2021).
Bye, alcohol, bye
Are you a lover of a nice glass of wine or beer from time to time? Then you are not going to like this paragraph. Because we are going to park the alcohol in the closet for the next few months. There is no safe minimum for alcohol consumption, so we advise you to leave every glass behind. The amount of alcohol you consume will also reach your baby. So whatever you drink, your baby will drink too. This can have a major impact on your baby's development. The intake of alcohol can lead to a miscarriage, damage to the formation of the organs or premature birth. And this is a less pleasant list, so from the moment you want to become pregnant, go for 0.0% alcohol. Only then can you be sure that your baby will not be damaged by alcohol in the first few weeks (Netherlands Institute for Alcohol Policy, 2020).
Just a little longer
Hopefully you'll see a positive pregnancy test! But it may well be that your body has been preparing itself for pregnancy for some time. That is why we want to create awareness in time about the consequences of medication and bad habits for your fertility or the development of your baby - which is now still a lump of melted together cells. Some habits will make way for sensible choices, because now or maybe very soon you will no longer be living for one, but for two!
Clearblue. (2020, April 15). Am I pregnant? Quiz. https://nl.clearblue.com/ben-ik-zwanger/quiz
Health Square. (2021, March 29). Pregnancy and medication. Gezondheidsplein.nl. https://www.gezondheidsplein.nl/aandoeningen/zwangerschap-en-medicijngebruik/item123710#:%7E:text=Veel%20medicijnen%20kunnen%20niet%20zonder,dosis%2C%20als%20dat%20mogelijk%20is.
Netherlands Institute for Alcohol Policy. (2020). Information sheet 'Getting pregnant and alcohol'. https://strakszwangerworden.nl/userfiles/File/Infoblad%20Zwanger%20worden%20en%20alcohol.pdf
UMC Utrecht. (2019, February 5). Can you influence the gender of your baby? - UMC Utrecht. https://www.umcutrecht.nl/nl/nieuws/kun-je-het-geslacht-van-je-baby-beinvloeden
UMCG. (s.d.). Ectopic pregnancy. Consulted on May 31, 2021, from https://www.umcg.nl/-/buitenbaarmoederlijke-zwangerschap
Pregnancy Portal. (2019). Insemination. https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/zwanger/de-innesteling