Nine months

The first month of pregnancy

Being one month pregnant is a bit like being at the starting line of a marathon: You know you have a long way to go to the end, but you’re up for the challenge. It’s a month characterized by many expectations and excitement and more… let’s see together what to expect in this month.

The first month of pregnancy is from the first day of the last cycle to 4 weeks + 3 days after.

It’s the month that runs away fastest of all also because generally when you realize you’re pregnant… it’s practically already over 

In the meantime, however, great changes have taken place because a new life is forming from a single microscopic cell. It’s a real miracle!

What does one month of pregnancy really mean?

Why do we talk about the first month when the embryo actually has only about 14 days at the end of the first month? Welcome to the first (and definitely not the last) confusing issue of pregnancy: gestational age .

Pregnancy is calculated, or dated, from the first day of the last menstrual cycle.

In a 28-day cycle, the first month of pregnancy consists of a fortnight in which you are potentially a mother but nothing has happened yet . As happens every month, the follicle that contains the maturing oocyte is formed, which will be expelled from the ovary at the time of ovulation.

In the initial two weeks, therefore, no pregnancy was in progress, but it is counted precisely from the date of the last menstruation, because the actual date of conception can be rather difficult to define. Also, before we knew so much about conception, it was known that women (on average) tended to give birth around 40 weeks after their last period started. So, if you’re 1 month pregnant, that means your last period started about 1 month ago (in an ideal cycle of about 28 days).

Still in the idea of ​​an ideal menstrual cycle of 28 days, being one month pregnant means that conception occurred about 14 days earlier. So your baby will always be “younger” than pregnancy dating. Don’t worry—the whole world of obstetrics and fetal development revolves around gestational age, so sticking to that number means you’re in line with everyone else’s milestones and expectations.

What happens in the first month of pregnancy?

Generally when you decide to have a baby, you start taking folic acid (make sure it’s essential!!!) and you have had targeted relationships . Rarely those who decide to have a baby do not calculate and have intercourse at will. It is part of the woman’s psychology to reach the goal as soon as possible once the decision has been made … or am I wrong? And so on with the dances on fertile days.

Once ovulation has taken place (we are in the third week) the egg cell moves towards the uterus along the fallopian tube . It is here that the encounter and fertilization with one of the partner’s millions of sperm takes place. Once conception has occurred, the resulting cell (zygote) undergoes a series of cell divisions as it continues on its journey to the uterus. It is at the moment of the fusion of egg and sperm cells that the genetic baggage of your child is determined.

Seven days after leaving the ovary, the set of cells known as the blastula/blastocyst arrives in the uterus where it is implanted in the wall of the uterine cavity.  Not all blastocysts manage to lodge in the uterus (estimated to be 1 in 10 to a maximum of 1 in 3) and are swept away by the menstrual flow. Conception is completed only when the blastocyst manages to nestle in the endometrium.

Thanks to implantation,  the embryo that is forming can draw nourishment from the blood vessels of which these tissues are particularly rich . Thus the placenta also begins to form (initially it is called trophoblast) which will allow exchanges between the mother and the fetus throughout the pregnancy. If the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus) is not rich enough in nutrients to maintain the pregnancy, spontaneous abortion occurs, resembling a late and very heavy period without your realizing it (unless you have a test of early pregnancy) to be expecting.  Poorly nourishing uterine lining is one of the most common causes of infertility.

In the fourth week the cells begin to differentiate. One group becomes the amniotic sac  where the embryo and then the fetus will grow, one group specializes in the yolk sac from which the corpuscular part of the blood (blood cells and platelets) will originate, while a third group, the trophoblast, becomes the placenta . Finally, other cells are those that will give rise to the child. At this point your period is late and you may be starting to think about having a baby. The time has come to carry out a pregnancy test to detect the presence of the beta HCG hormone.

The beta HCG hormone is produced by the trophoblast, and it is precisely this hormone, together with the progesterone produced by the copro luteum, which allows pregnancy to be sustained at least in the very first weeks by promoting the formation of the placenta and a whole series of effects which help to consolidate the gestation.

The beta HCG hormone  maintains the corpus luteum in the ovary which in turn produces progesterone. Progesterone is essential in maintaining the pregnancy as it reduces the activity of the smooth muscles of the uterus so as to avoid the occurrence of contractions that could cause a miscarriage. At the same time, however, there is also the (negative) effect on the intestinal smooth muscle which causes constipation , and on the bladder with the consequent feeling of always having to go to the bathroom.

The beta HCG hormone  grows progressively in the first few weeks causing the classic annoyances such as nausea and vomiting which may be more or less tolerated by expectant mothers.

As regards the fetal dimensions , towards the fourth week the embryo measures about 2 millimeters. It has the shape of a small bean which, however, already has an outline of a brain and spine.

Period delay is the very first symptom of pregnancy . However, you may notice the breasts are more turgid and you may have the urge to urinate more often. Some also experience a strange metallic taste in their mouths.

The easiest way to tell if you’re pregnant or not is to take a pregnancy test , which detects the presence of the hormone beta HCG. There are some early tests that are reliable as early as 4 days before your period arrives.

If positive, congratulations you are expecting a baby!

If you haven’t already done so, start taking folic acid immediately and ask your doctor to prescribe the necessary blood tests. It is good to know right away if you are receptive to certain infections such as toxoplasmosis . In case it is necessary to adopt a correct diet avoiding certain foods.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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