In the first two articles in our pregnancy week by week series we’ve learned that as far as physical symptoms go, there’s not a whole lot going on during the first two weeks of your pregnancy. That really is just starting to change around the third week in. Before we dive in, if you need a quick refresher on pregnancy week one and pregnancy week two or if you missed those articles the first time around, you can check them out by clicking here and here. Let’s get started with what you can expect during pregnancy week three.
What’s Happening with Your Body
Last week we talked a bit about the development of your baby in the womb and to start off the third week, things haven’t really changed much. Your baby is still in the blastocyst stage of development when it is little more than a tiny cluster of cells in your uterus. During the third week though, that cluster of cells is beginning to develop a little more with the portion of cells that will eventually build the placenta beginning to release a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (or hCG). This hormone is not only responsible for telling your ovaries to stop releasing eggs and boosting your body’s production of estrogen and progesterone but is also the hormone that causes home pregnancy tests to give a positive result. This means that technically, you can try taking a home pregnancy test at the end of your third week of pregnancy (three weeks after the first day of your last period) but remember, for some women that will just be too early. Don’t lose hope if you test at three weeks and the test is negative. Give it a few days and try again. The levels of hCG in your urine may not have been high enough for the test to recognize.
During pregnancy week three your budding baby is going to be getting oxygen and nutrients through the blood vessels in your uterine wall thanks to a sort of circulation system made up of tiny tunnels that connect your baby to your uterus. Amniotic fluid will also begin collecting around your baby. This will become the amniotic sac. Over the course of your pregnancy, this protective sac will encase your baby and help keep it safe while it’s in your womb.
Many women will also experience some light to medium spotting throughout the third week of their pregnancy. This is bound to cause a lot of women concern, especially if that spotting is combined with minor cramping. A home pregnancy test may not detect the pregnancy so early along. Add to that a little spotting and cramping and many women will believe they’re getting their period. This can cause a lot of unnecessary stress for a woman who has been trying to conceive. Again, if you take a test and it comes back negative, wait a few days and try again, even if you’re spotting.
How You’re Feeling
While most of the real symptoms of pregnancy you’re probably familiar with are still not really in full effect in pregnancy week three, there are women who will start feeling them before a pregnancy is even confirmed. Remember, even though you’ve only just gotten pregnant, your body is already starting to go through a lot of changes from actual changes to your body to hormone changes. This can leave you feeling a whole lot of different things emotionally and physically.
Since this is the point in the pregnancy when many women who are trying to conceive will be considering home pregnancy tests, nervousness and anxiety are pretty common around the third week of pregnancy. For a lot of women, there are few things in life more nerve wracking than waiting for the time to be up so you can check that test. This is true for women who were actively trying to get pregnant and those who, well, didn’t. Try to relax. Panicking isn’t going to change the result. Wait and see and then plan more from there.
On top of the nervousness and anxiety that comes along with finding out that you’re pregnant, you’re probably going to be overwhelmed by all of the planning that needs to be done. There is also a lot of fear involved. Being scared that you won’t be a good mother or won’t be able to handle the responsibility of raising a child is perfectly normal. Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. If the father of your child is in your life or if you’re raising the child with your partner, confide in them. They’ll likely admit to feeling many of the same things your feeling.
Along with the emotions you might be feeling in this third week of pregnancy, you also might start experiencing a lot of physical things that you weren’t expecting so early. Some of the early pregnancy symptoms you might experience include:
- More frequent than usual urination
- Aversions to certain foods
- Heightened sense of smell
- Morning sickness
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Bleeding or light to medium spotting
The problem with many of these early symptoms of course is how similar many of them are to normal menstrual cycle symptoms. Pay close attention to morning sickness and changes to your senses. Those are not changes that typically accompany the period so they’re pretty good indicators that you have a bun in the oven.
What You Should Be Focusing On
The third week of pregnancy is really all about confirming the pregnancy or at least trying to stay calm and relaxed until you do. Pick up a pregnancy test. In all honesty, I would recommend buying at least two tests in case the first one you take isn’t clear or in case the first one returns a false negative and you want to test again after a few days have passed. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. I’d especially recommend buying two tests if you plan to buy less expensive ones. They’re notorious for those faint pink lines you want to avoid.
Once you have your pregnancy test in your possession be careful to store it in compliance with the directions and then decide on the best time to do the test. While most tests don’t require using the first urine of the day to take the test, if you’re testing as early as three weeks, first thing in the morning is still the best time to test. Over the course of the day, your urine will become diluted which makes it much more difficult for the hCG to show up.
Next week, we’ll be taking a closer look at what you can expect from pregnancy week four. If you’ve missed the first two articles in our series, be sure to check them out by clicking the following titles: Pregnancy Week One and Pregnancy Week Two.