A thrilling journey awaits all expectant mothers at 3 weeks pregnant. However, this early in your pregnancy, you might not even suspect that there is a life inside you. It is different for everyone, so you may or may not experience early pregnancy symptoms. If you’re an expectant mother, you’re most likely to get a positive result on your pregnancy test only by the end of this week.
Whether you planned it or it came as a surprise, there are a lot of things to know and prepare for during this crucial period of pregnancy. You will be going through lots of physical and emotional changes once you become pregnant, and it is essential to know what you need to expect during the different periods of pregnancy.
What Happens Inside the Belly
Did you know you’re not yet considered pregnant in the first two weeks of pregnancy? Assuming you have a 28-day cycle, ovulation happens at about two weeks after the start of your period.
At the end of two weeks, with the right timing and if the egg and sperm meet, conception can now take place. Sperm cells can vary in the speed at which they swim, and they can live inside your body for up to five days. The egg, on the other hand, can live up to one day, meaning that your window of fertility lasts for only about five days before you can ovulate, at which conception can happen.
When the sperm and egg meet in one of the fallopian tubes during fertilization, they will form a single cell called a zygote. It carries the chromosomes from the mother and the father that would comprise the genetic makeup of your baby.
After going down the fallopian tube, the zygote moves toward the uterus and divides into a larger group of cells called a blastocyst. The cells in the middle of the blastocyst are what would soon become the embryo. The cells outside it will become the placenta, which delivers the essential oxygen and nutrients to your baby and which also carries away waste.
By the third week of pregnancy, your uterus would become a bustling site. At 3 to 4 weeks, the soon-to-be embryo is implanting to the lining of your uterus.
After your ovary releases an egg, the corpus luteum will replace the space left by the egg in the follicle. The corpus luteum is what produces progesterone and some estrogen in the follicle to nourish the blastocyst until the placenta takes over.
During the implantation period, the cells of the developing placenta produce the pregnancy hormone hCG (human cryonic gonadotrophin. This hormone causes an increased production of progesterone and estrogen and stops new eggs from releasing and ripening in the ovaries. This process is what prevents your uterus from shedding its lining, and from then on, your menstrual cycle pauses.
3 Weeks Pregnant: How Big Is My Baby Now?
As mentioned, the embryo is just beginning to implant in your uterine lining by this week, so it appears more like a group of cells than a formed baby. At 3 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a pinhead, which is approximately 0.0019 inches or 0.048mm long. How this would soon form into a fetus and then an infant and then a child is a wonder to witness.
Symptoms and Changes at 3 Weeks Pregnant
Early signs of pregnancy can go unnoticed. Even though you may not yet be aware that you’re pregnant, it is very hectic inside your stomach. The reason why the symptoms usually do not appear in this period is that pregnancy hormones cause most early pregnancy symptoms. By this time, the amount of it that you have in your body is not that high yet.
Here are some signs of pregnancy at 3 weeks pregnant, as well as the following weeks.
Usually, missing a period is the first big hint that you may be pregnant. Around the time you miss a period, you may start to notice changes in your body and other pregnancy signs. If you have a regular cycle, you may realize toward the end of, say, 28 days that you could be pregnant.
Another early pregnancy symptom is implantation bleeding. As the name suggests, it happens when the blastocyst attaches and implants itself to the uterus lining. It may cause a slight spotting, which you might mistake as menstrual blood. However, if you feel pain along with bleeding, immediately consult a doctor as this can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.
Bloating and Cramping
Feeling pains in your stomach, such as bloating and cramping without bleeding, is a common sign, especially in first pregnancies. The mild cramps you’re feeling may be due to the increased blood flow and thickening of the uterine lining brought about by embryo implantation.
Moreover, progesterone relaxes the muscles throughout your body, including your digestive tract. It results in slow digestion, which can lead to gas and bloating. If the sensation becomes too uncomfortable to handle, ask your doctor at your next visit to know how you can adequately deal with this change in your body.
Nausea at 3 weeks pregnant is not common. However, if you’re feeling this symptom this early, you may be further along than you thought you are. Or you may be 3 weeks pregnant with twins, as this often entails higher levels of pregnancy hormones and worsening nausea.
This feeling of morning sickness occurs as the hCG makes its way through your body.
Your boobies may start to feel tender and painful by this time. Many women say that the feeling is worse than how their breasts feel before their periods. Your nipples may also darken as you enter further stages of pregnancy because your body is preparing to produce milk.
Having a metallic taste can also be a symptom of pregnancy, caused by the hormones that are moving around your body. It usually manifests in the second trimester of pregnancy.
You can fight off this symptom using acidic drinks such as lemonade and other citrus juices. You can also eat sour candies or foods dipped in vinegar. If you’re not into acidic food, try to brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth or gargle with saltwater.
Heightened Sense of Smell
A stronger sense of smell could also be a sign that you’re pregnant. It can be caused by estrogen and hCG, which magnify even the littlest odor in the air.
The downside of having a keener nose is morning sickness. If you start to experience this, try to avoid being in the kitchen or at eateries. Also, have your windows open so that the air can circulate. You can also try switching to unscented toiletries.
How Do I Confirm that I’m Pregnant?
If you’re experiencing some of the pregnancy signs listed above and you suspect that you’re pregnant, you can buy a home pregnancy test or take a blood pregnancy test. These tests confirm pregnancy by checking for the pregnancy hormone hCG in the urine or the blood.
If, by chance, you take the test too early, there may not be enough of the hormone in the urine for the test to confirm your pregnancy. You can visit your doctor to confirm your pregnancy with a blood test immediately.
1. Home Pregnancy Test
Before taking the test, make sure to check the packaging on the pregnancy test to know when is the proper time to conduct it. Reviewing the information on the box can let you assess how accurate the results are before your missed period. Some pregnancy tests can detect lower levels of hCG in the urine and may be accurate even at early testing.
You may get a positive result by the end of the third week. However, if the amount of hCG in your body is not enough, the test won’t be able to detect it right away. Don’t assume you’re not pregnant if you get a negative result; you may have just tested too early. Do more tests a few days after and then the following week to be sure.
2. Blood Pregnancy Test
Doctors usually prescribe blood pregnancy tests in cases where expecting mothers are at risk for miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Blood tests can better detect lower amounts of hCG than home pregnancy tests can. Blood pregnancy tests can also let you know if you’re pregnant earlier.
Keeping Track of Your Due Date
Now that you know that you’re pregnant, the big question is, “When is my baby coming out?” A healthy pregnancy lasts for about 40 weeks. The weeks are calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period, including an extra two weeks when you weren’t pregnant yet.
If you’re three weeks pregnant, you’re currently in month 1 of your pregnancy. Note that the weeks of your pregnancy are grouped into three trimesters.
- First Trimester: 0 to 13 weeks (1st month to 3rd month)
- Second Trimester: 14 to 27 weeks (4th month to 7th month)
- Third Trimester: 28 to 40 weeks (7th month to 9th month)
Knowing how far along you are in pregnancy helps both you and your doctor. By keeping track of your pregnancy timeline, your doctor can check your baby’s growth and development, schedule tests and exams, and assess your pregnancy journey more accurately.
Take note that only about 5% of babies are born exactly on their due date. Hence, it is normal for you to give birth two weeks before or after of your due date. Your doctor can estimate when your baby will come out, or you may also try using online due date calculators.
Do I Need an Ultrasound at 3 Weeks Pregnant?
At 3 weeks pregnant, it is a little early to have an ultrasound scan. The first ultrasound scan happens at week 14 and then followed by another scan at weeks 18 to 21. Hence, it is still impossible to know the sex of your baby. You’ll have to wait 14 more weeks to be sure.
Sex At 3 Weeks Pregnant
You may be wary of having sex while you’re pregnant. After all, there is a living being inside of you. But fret not because unless your doctor advises you otherwise, you can continue to have a regular sex life throughout your pregnancy.
3 Weeks Pregnant Lifestyle: What Should You Do and Not Do?
Now that you’re taking care of not only your health but also your future baby’s, you need to be careful of the food and supplements you intake. You have to make sure that you are healthy throughout your pregnancy to avoid any complications for your baby.
Exercise during pregnancy poses a lot of questions, especially concerning safety. Exercise during pregnancy is essential as it can help alleviate common discomforts during pregnancy. It can also help prepare the body for labor and delivery.
In most cases, exercise is safe during pregnancy and does not put you at risk for complications or miscarriage in a normal pregnancy. It can also reduce bloating and swelling and can boost your energy and mood.
If you already have an exercise routine before your pregnancy, your doctor will most likely encourage you to continue your active lifestyle. It is essential to consult with your doctor or health care provider before starting an exercise routine.
Prenatal yoga is a recommended low-impact exercise for pregnant women.
Folic Acid Supplements
Your doctor may prescribe a folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms (400 mcg) a day until you reach week 12. The dosage will increase after that. Taking folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of congenital disabilities of the brain and spine. It can also lower the risk of forced early labor.
Before you start eating for two, you should know that doctors only recommend most pregnant women to gain weight in the first trimester or the first 13 weeks. So at 3 weeks pregnant, you may still sit down and relax and continue eating regularly.
What you should do is eat a healthy, well-rounded diet and take your daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid. Make sure that your menu includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Try to minimize your intake of foods that are high in sugar and fat.
Calcium helps you and your developing baby to build and maintain strong and healthy bones. Not consuming enough calcium during pregnancy will cause your baby to get it from your bones. Calcium is also crucial for heart, nerve, and muscle health.
The best sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and pudding. Try to consume three or four servings of these goods. Calcium is also present in a variety of green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, dried peas, and beans.
Eat at least three servings of protein a day to help spur new and healthy tissue for your developing baby, A single serving of skinless chicken or lean meat should be about three or four ounces. Great protein sources also include eggs, lean meat, fish, dairy, and legumes.
Iron and Vitamin C
Eating more vitamin C-rich food can help increase the pregnant body’s absorption of iron. Iron is the nutrient that you need to help support your increased blood volume during pregnancy.
Vitamin C is usually present in fruits and vegetables such as kiwi, mango, lemon, oranges, melons, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower. The best source of iron, on the other hand, is red meat and offal. Iron is present in soy products, beef, poultry, fish, dried fruit, and green vegetables.
If you’re experiencing cramps and frequent morning sickness, it is essential to rest and take an abundant amount of fluids, especially if you keep losing them through vomiting. These fluids can be water, clear broth, diluted juice, decaffeinated tea, or hot water with lemon. Keep your solid intake bland and fat-free. Ginger, in any form, is suitable for any stomach ailments. It could be ginger tea, craft ginger ale, or ginger candies.
Cut Down on Coffee
You can still enjoy your daily mug of coffee during your pregnancy. However, while trying to conceive and once you get pregnant, your doctor may recommend you to limit your caffeine intake to once daily. Drinking more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day while you’re pregnant can cause weight deficiency in your baby.
Quit Smoking And Drinking
If you’re a smoker or you usually spend your night drinking, it’s time for you to stop. Quitting smoking and drinking during pregnancy is the best thing that you can do for your baby’s health.
Smoking and drinking during pregnancy increase the risk of health problems and congenital disabilities for developing babies, including defects of the mouth and the lip. It also doubles the risk of cerebral palsy, learning problems, and mental retardation.
If you need help quitting smoking and drinking, consult your doctor or your healthcare provider. Your doctor can help you and give you a referral to a program or a counselor to help you adjust and quit altogether.
When it comes to hair coloring, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Wait until the second trimester before getting your hair dyed and highlighted. Make sure to ask your hairdresser for less harsh colorings such as ammonia-free base or all-vegetable dye.
The first 12 weeks of pregnancy is when significant developments will happen in your baby. Organs start to take shape, muscles begin to form, and nail beds and hair follicles start to develop. Even though you don’t absorb much of the chemicals from the hair dye, it is better to take preventive measures to prevent any complications that may arise.
Consult with Your Doctor
After confirming that you’re pregnant with a test, it is vital to check in with your doctor. It is important to be hands-on with your doctor with all the matters concerning your pregnancy.
The start of pregnancy can be the most exciting and scary period of your life at the same time as you experience a lot of changes in your body and your lifestyle. Consulting and regularly checking in with your doctor can help you know the best ways on how to take extra care of your body now that you also have a developing baby inside your stomach. Your doctor can offer you expert advice on the things you should and should not do during the whole duration of your pregnancy.
Your pregnancy journey begins now. Let us know all about it here at Preggy To Mommy!