It is still not time to get too excited about your pregnancy just yet. Although being 2 weeks pregnant may sound like you are on your way, there is still a little time to go before it is possible for your baby to be conceived. But, with a couple of well timed interventions and a little luck, you and your partner will be able to make the most of your chances of successful conception.
In the 2nd week of pregnancy, some essential and complex processes are happening within your brain and reproductive organs. Although you can’t see what’s going on and may only feel the slightest twinge, being 2 weeks pregnant is the start of what could be a series of events which lead to your baby becoming a reality.
Each month one of your two ovaries will release an egg. This is alternated from side to side and in some women, more than one egg is released in each monthly cycle. The egg sits in a "bed" of fluid, known as a follicle. The follicle is influenced by a specific hormone which tells it when to rupture so the egg can be picked up by the fallopian tube. Although many follicles start the process of maturing an egg each month, only one dominant one, from a field of about 20 will make it out.
At the same time as your follicles are busy maturing an egg, the lining of your uterus is building up. Oestrogen is released by unique cells in the follicles and this helps to switch on the process of preparing your uterus, ready to receive a fertilised egg.
If fertilisation of your egg with your partner’s sperm doesn’t occur, the blood thickened lining inside your uterus will not be needed and it is shed in the next period. This usually happens two weeks after ovulation.
When will I ovulate?
Most women have cycles which last between 28-32 days, though a couple of days either side of this is still considered within a normal range. Ovulation usually occurs on or around the 14th day after the first day of the last period. In women with longer or shorter cycles than the standard 28 days, their ovulation timing will be different.
How can I tell when I ovulate?
There are some subtle external changes which you may be aware of when you are ready to ovulate.
- Some women develop a heightened sense of smell or sensitivity to odours they aren’t usually conscious of.
- Pain in the pelvic region. This is known as Mittelschmerz; a German word which translates as middle pain.
- Changes to the cervical mucous. These changes from the normal pattern are designed to encourage the sperm to swim more easily up through the cervix and towards the egg. Fertile mucous can look like egg white, or be more watery and slippery than it usually is.
- Some women develop an increased libido and feel more sensual towards their partner. At some biological level this is nature’s way of encouraging couples to have sex at the most fertile time of a woman’s cycle.
- There are saliva and urine tests available which can detect hormonal changes to alert a woman to the fact that she has ovulated. These tests are available at pharmacies.
- An increased basal body temperature. A woman’s temperature rises a couple of degrees from her baseline temperature when she is ovulating. Charting your temperature for a couple of months will help you see a pattern developing which can help you know when you are most fertile.
An egg is capable of being fertilised for around 12-24 hours after it has been released from its follicle. Sperm can live for much longer, around 3-5 days. Which means they can lie in wait for a few days, biding their time until the opportunity presents itself for successfully fertilising an egg. This is why if you are trying to fall pregnant, it is worthwhile timing sex to coincide a few days either side of when you have ovulated.
Fertilisation of the egg with a single sperm usually occurs in the fallopian tube and this occurs in the 3rd week of pregnancy. It is important that the zygote (single cell) continues to move down towards the uterus, because it starts to divide quickly and the cells to multiply. If it doesn’t keep migrating, and implants itself in the fallopian tube, an ectopic pregnancy occurs where there is no room in the microscopic tubes to accommodate it.
It takes two to make a baby
Fascinating and complex as it all is, ovulation is only one half of the story when it comes to making a baby and getting to 2 weeks pregnant. When your partner ejaculates, around 100-300 million sperm are present in his seminal fluid. But it only takes one sperm to fertilise your egg and from that precise moment, all of the other sperm give up trying.
Don’t worry if you don’t conceive in the first month or more that you start trying. It can take a while to get to know your cycles and when your most fertile time is likely to be. There is only around a 20 percent chance of falling pregnant each month and it takes many couples up to 12 months or more to conceive.
Your physical changes this week
- Look for signs that you have ovulated or about to (see above). Keep a calendar and mark the dates of your last period and when it started and ended. Ovulation usually occurs some time midway between the menstrual cycles.