Week 1 of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 1

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

Welcome to the start of your pregnancy journey. Your healthcare provider calculates your due date from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). So, your 40-week pregnancy countdown actually begins now, about two weeks before you conceive your child.

At 1 week, you aren't technically pregnant yet, but it's an important time of preparation. While your body is starting a new cycle to achieve pregnancy, you and partner can prepare by talking openly about your feelings and expectations, making healthy lifestyle choices, and choosing a doctor if you don't already have one.

If you’ve already taken a pregnancy test and spotted the telltale pink lines, you’re likely farther along than you think. Most home pregnancy tests detect pregnancy about two weeks after conception, so you might want to jump to week 4.

6:08

The First Signs of Pregnancy

Which Trimester? First trimester

How Many Weeks to Go? 39 weeks

Your Baby's Development at 1 Week

While there isn't a baby growing yet, your body is getting ready for pregnancy. During your menstrual period, the uterine lining sheds along with the unfertilized egg from the last cycle.

After three to seven days of menstruation, your ovaries begin to prepare the egg that will be released at ovulation, and the lining of your uterus begins to thicken to accept that egg once it's fertilized. If all goes well, you will conceive around week 3.

Your Common Symptoms This Week

You can't attribute any symptoms you feel during week 1 to pregnancy just yet. This week's discomforts are brought to you by menstruation.

As such, you might be feeling the way you usually do during your period. Some women don't have many menstrual symptoms at all, but for others, fluctuating hormones can lead to typical issues such as:

  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache
  • Food cravings
  • Moodiness

Self-Care Tips

Now is the time to create the most hospitable and health-promoting environment possible for your baby-to-be. If you already eat well and lead an active lifestyle, that's great.

If your lifestyle could use a little health boost, it's never too late to start. Small changes can make a big difference in your overall health and the health of your future pregnancy.

Evaluate Your Nutrition

A healthy, balanced diet full of nutritious foods provides your body with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that you need while you're expecting. Good nutrition gives you energy and helps keep some of the common pregnancy discomforts at bay. A nutritious diet also improves the health of your pregnancy and impacts the long-term health of your future child.

Take Folate (Vitamin B9)

Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in foods. It's essential for your health and the health and development of a growing baby during pregnancy. But, it isn't always easy to get all the folate you need every day through the foods you eat.

Folic acid is the synthetic supplement form of folate found in many prenatal vitamin products, but you can also find supplements with active forms of folate (often labeled as L-methylfolate or 5-MTHF). Health organizations such as the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and others recommend that women of childbearing age who do not have a high risk of having a child with a neural tube defect (NTD) take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day.

Taking a folic acid supplement can help prevent congenital disabilities, including cleft lip and palate, and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. You can take a folic acid supplement on its own, as part of a daily multivitamin, or in a prenatal vitamin.

What Experts Say

“Taking in the correct amount [of folic acid] prior to pregnancy and during the first trimester decreases the likelihood of birth defects by 75%.”

Allison Hill, MD, OB/GYN

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

It’s not all about what you add to your routine; it’s also about what you take away. When trying to conceive, it’s more important than ever to avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

These habits can affect a baby and lead to genetic disorders, respiratory problems, low birth weightfetal alcohol syndrome, and other health issues.

Get Mentally Prepared

Getting ready to carry a child includes preparing your body and your mind. Hormone changes, stress, and anxiety can affect your mental health and impact pregnancy. However, thinking about your needs and caring for your mental health before you conceive can help while you're expecting and after you give birth.

Make sure you're getting enough rest, identifying your social support system, managing stress and anxiety, and talking to your mental health provider if you have other mental health concerns.

Your 1 Week Checklist

  • Add some nutritious foods to your diet.
  • Start taking vitamin B9, or a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid or L-methylfolate.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices by not drinking or using drugs and, if you smoke, try to quit.
  • Prepare physically and mentally for pregnancy.

Advice for Partners

Pregnancy is between partners, and that means both parties need to take care of their health and well-being. Before trying to conceive, partners can get screened and treated for any possible sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Partners can also improve their reproductive health by limiting alcohol and quitting tobacco and recreational drug use. Studies show that men who drink excessively, smoke, or use drugs can experience problems with their sperm, making conception more difficult.

Additionally, it is also important to talk about how you both feel about pregnancy and your expectations. Starting pregnancy with healthy conversations can help you both maintain good communication skills and a strong connection as you go through this journey and successfully transition to parenthood together.

At Your Doctor’s Office

If you don't have a doctor or midwife yet, you will want to put that on top of your to-do list. And, if you have a healthcare provider, but haven't had a preconception appointment, now's the time to make one.

What Experts Say

“Think of your preconception visit as an opportunity for you and your healthcare provider to control the things that you can control in a pregnancy. This visit can increase your chances of having a healthy baby.”

Allison Hill, MD, OB/GYN

During a pre-pregnancy visit, your doctor or midwife can recommend a prenatal vitamin, review your medical and vaccine history, screen you for sexually transmitted infections, and give you a physical exam.

It's also an opportunity to identify lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and other personal habits that may impact your pregnancy. If you have a health condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes, be sure to talk to your doctor and do all you can to keep it under control.

You should also ask the doctor about the safety of any medications, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal supplements you're taking. By following your doctor's recommendation and following up with all your healthcare providers, you will know you're doing everything you can to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

Upcoming Doctor's Visit

You may see your doctor right after you get a positive result on a home pregnancy test because some doctors order a blood test to confirm pregnancy. But, you'll more likely see the doctor for your first prenatal visit around week 8.

Recommended Products

Week 1 is the perfect time to think about starting prenatal vitamins if you haven't already.

Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins can't replace proper nutrition, but they can fill in the gaps of a less-than-perfect diet. They are also a great way to feel confident that you're getting all the nutrients you need, even if you do have healthy eating habits.

Prenatal vitamins typically contain iron, calcium, vitamin D, and other vital nutrients like folic acid. However, each brand can contain different vitamins and minerals, so read the labels carefully or ask your doctor for a recommendation or prescription.

A Word From Verywell

A healthy pregnancy begins even before you become pregnant. So, while you're anticipating the journey, you and your partner can work on getting and staying healthy together.

As you look forward, week 2 is the key to the rest of your pregnancy, as it brings the opportunity to conceive. Women with regular menstrual cycles ovulate about 10 to 20 days after the first day of their period.

So, write down the date your period started and pay attention to your body's fertility signals. Timing sex within five days of ovulation gives you the best chance of becoming pregnant.

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Article Sources
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Additional Reading
  • Allison Hill, M.D. Email communication. October, November 2017.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendations: Women & Folic Acid. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Updated August 13, 2019.