Preganancy Week by Week (Weeks 1-4)

Weeks 1-3

Blissfully unaware that you are on your way to motherhood, you will feel quite normal, but your hormone levels are starting to rise. An egg, drifting down your fallopian tube, will have been met by millions of sperm seeking out that egg. When the successful sperm finds its target, it burrows into the egg and fuses with its centre. Secretly, silently, the life inside you begins, as the cells start dividing. This knot of burgeoning cells is called a ‘morula’, and from this microscopic beginning grows the most complex being on earth.

Baby it’s you!
The moment egg and sperm fuse, your baby’s genetic code is set. Boy or a girl, height, hair and eye colour – everything that makes up this one unique being. Your baby gets 23 chromosomes from you and 23 from the father, which join together in pairs. Pair number 23 determines your baby’s sex. You supply an X chromosome, dad supplies an X or a Y. End up with two Xs and you get a girl, an X and a Y and it’s a boy.

Tell-tale signs
Higher hormone levels may make breasts tender or give you a metallic taste in your mouth. You may also succumb to colds easily as your immune system is suppressed to stop your body rejecting your baby.

Week 4

You’ll have been expecting your period this week, but unbeknown to you, you won’t be having a period for some time. Instead, a plug of mucus has formed at the neck of your womb to protect your baby from infection.

Your baby
The bundle of cells is rolling along the fallopian tube towards the dark womb. Once there, it will be called a blastocyst and, within a few days, will delve into the rich womb lining. At this moment of implantation, your baby-to-be (only 100 cells and a few millimetres long) officially becomes an embryo.

Double trouble?
You have a one in 80 chance of having twins. They could be:
• Fraternal – when two eggs are released from the ovary and each is fertilised by different sperm. Although twins, they are as different as normal siblings.
• Identical – when one fertilised egg splits in two and grows into two separate babies with the same genetic make-up.

Who has twins?
• Fraternal twins run in families because these depend on the mum’s tendency to release more than one egg at a time – something determined by her genes.
• The dad’s side of the family has no influence, though.
• As you get older, your ovaries push out eggs in a desperate bid to reproduce – the reason older mums have more twins.
• Identical twins, however, don’t run in families.

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