It's a little odd, we know, but technically your pregnancy begins on the first day of your last period and lasts around 40 weeks. For most women, the egg that will become your baby is actually fertilised around 2 weeks after that - so in actuality, you'll probably fall pregnant around the beginning of the official ‘week 3’.
The 40 weeks of pregnancy cycle are divided into 3 ‘trimesters’:
- First trimester = the first 12 weeks
- Second trimester = from week 13 to week 27
- Third trimester = from week 28 until birth
If you're hoping for a baby, or suspect you may be pregnant, it's very important to take a daily 400mcg folic acid supplement (and continue it until you are 12 weeks pregnant). Why? This is when your baby's brain and spinal cord start to develop, and getting enough folic acid will help to reduce the risk of problems with that stage of development, which can cause conditions like spina bifida. Eating foods rich in folic acid is a good idea, too; here's a list of the top ways to get folic acid in your diet.
Are you taking any medication?
If you're trying to conceive, it's important to talk to your doctor about any medications you're taking, to ensure they are safe to take during pregnancy.
If you smoke, the best thing you can do is to give up straightaway, and encourage your partner (if they smoke) to do the same! It's tough to do, we know, but it's one of the greatest gifts you can give your baby-to-be, and there's plenty of help available.
For more information on stopping smoking during pregnancy, you can speak to your GP, visit the NHS website, or contact the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044 (England only; Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm).