Pregnancy
3 weeks and 4 days pregnant

To embed itself in the lining of the uterus, the embryo-to-be needs the help of progesterone, secreted after ovulation by the empty egg follicle, the corpus luteum (shown in pink in this cross-section of an ovary). Progesterone helps the lining thicken.

Do you feel different? You’ll find yourself analyzing every twinge in your body as you look for signs that you’re pregnant.

It’s very early days and you’re unlikely to have pregnancy symptoms yet – although you may have some light spotting. Some women claim to “feel” pregnant, even before changes to their breasts are noticeable or before they start feeling sick. Some women say that they just “know”. You may be very in tune with your body and may notice that it is changing even before you are able to take a test. Unfortunately, sometimes our minds can play tricks on us: you may want to be pregnant so much that you can sometimes convince yourself that you’re feeling different. If you don’t feel any different, don’t worry, this is also completely normal.

Either way the only definitive way to know whether or not you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. You don’t need to go to your doctor to confirm your pregnancy as the tests that doctors use are the same as those bought over the counter. If the test is positive, you’re pregnant!

If you were dieting before you conceived, it can be tempting to carry on once you find out you’re pregnant. Don’t: if you’re not overweight and you diet, your baby may become undernourished and is more likely to be premature and underweight at birth. Do, however, eat a healthy, balanced diet. Don’t eat junk food when you’re pregnant as this can increase the risk of your baby developing weight problems.

If you have a high BMI, your doctor may give you the green light to lose some weight. Research indicates that obese women who lost weight, or whose weight stayed stable during pregnancy, were more likely to give birth to babies of a normal weight. In later life, their children were also less likely to suffer from diabetes and obesity.

In an ideal world, you should lose excess weight before conceiving, because obesity makes you more prone to diabetes and high blood pressure and means you’re more likely to need a Caesarean section.

Should I give up coffee in case I’m pregnant?

The Food Standards Agency advises pregnant women to drink no more than 200mg of caffeine a day (that’s two mugs of instant coffee, one mug of filter coffee, or two mugs of tea). Going without your caffeine fix is a good thing when you’re pregnant, as research shows that, in high doses, it can increase the risk of miscarriage.

One study discovered that pregnant women who drank two or more cups of coffee (or its equivalent) were twice as likely to miscarry as those who gave up caffeine. Before you switch to decaff, note that decaffeinated drinks may raise cholesterol. The good news is that many women find they go off coffee in early pregnancy.

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