What’s baby doing in the two-week wait?
If you’re trying to conceive, then you’ll know that time seems to stop in those two weeks since doing the deed to finding out whether it was a success. Say. Hello. To. The. Longest. Two. Weeks. Ever!
Science suggests you have a 15-25% chance of getting pregnant each month, so for many women, there’s a fair bit of waiting involved.
Every smell, movement, headache or anything that could suggest you’re pregnant is over-analysed, discussed in detail and then triple-checked with Dr Google.
Unfortunately the cold-hard truth is that most women won’t know they’re pregnant until close to three weeks after ovulation- and their first clue is a missed period.
So, while you may feel utterly clueless, if you’ve had some success - your body is experiencing one of the biggest changes that will ever happen to it.
TWO BECOMES ONE...AND THEN TWO AGAIN
Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases an egg, and then travels into your fallopian tube. To conceive, the sperm needs to meet up with your egg. That sperm will bust through the outer layer of your egg, and fertilise it. Over the next few hours and days that fertilised egg, called a zygote, is multiplying into lots of different cells.
Now your zygote needs to travel from your fallopian tube all the way to the uterus. Considering it’s ⅕ the size of a full stop - it’s a bit of a long journey, taking up to six days to reach its destination. This is what’s considered implantation. About ¼ of women experience light bleeding around this time.
Once your zygote settles in, it splits in two. Half becomes the embryo and half the placenta. Once it has had 6-12 days making itself at home in your uterus it will start producing the HCG hormone. That’s the hormone that pregnancy tests or doctors look for in your urine or blood.
THE MAGIC HAPPENS
Around three weeks after you had sex, your embryo has three layers of cells. One will become its digestive system, liver and lungs. One will be its heart, sex organs, kidneys and muscles, and the other is the skin, nervous system, hair and eyes. The first system to work is its circulatory system- which means blood and its heart. If you get a dating scan around 6-7 weeks you might be lucky enough to hear this magical sound early on. Your baby is also starting to develop what will become its brain.
Your HCG levels spike around 5 weeks pregnant, which means if you do a pregnancy test now - it is pretty accurate.
THE WAIT IS WORTH IT
If this wasn’t your month, be kind to yourself. Often this process is so private that the people who love you most aren’t aware you’re even trying. It’s ok not to be ok, and it’s ok to want to talk about it, or keep it to yourselves. Next month is a new month and you again have a 15-25% chance of getting that + sign. If baby making is taking longer than you expected, Fertility specialist Dr Richard Fisher offers some tips on how to keep baby making fun and enhance your chances of conception.
If you did get a big ol’ positive, well, I’ve got good and bad news for you now. The good: the wait was definitely worth it, eh?! Now you’ve only got eight months to go!
The bad news: one thing I can promise you is that once they’re born, you’ll desperately wish time would slow down.
Olivia Wix lives in Palmerston North, works in public relations, and is mum to three year old Jasper.