Pregnancy Week Three – What Happens When You’re 3 Weeks Pregnant?

Is the embryo going to be a boy or a girl? It'll be a while before you even find out you're pregnant, and even longer before you will know for sure what gender the baby will be! Image by kikashi

Is the embryo going to be a boy or a girl? It’ll be a while before you even find out you’re pregnant, and even longer before you will know for sure what gender the baby will be! Image by kikashi

In week three of pregnancy, we see what is actually the first week of the baby’s life after conception. The baby is very tiny at this point, a cluster of cells that is about the size of the head of a pin, but these cells are growing and multiplying at a very fast pace.

Implantation of the Fertilized Egg

The developing cells are called a zygote before they implant in the uterus. Failure of the ball of cells to move into the uterus before implantation will result in an ectopic or extrauterine pregnancy, which is be a serious and life-threatening emergency. For most women, however, the baby implants into the uterine lining about six or seven days after the egg is fertilized.

When the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus, it finds the thickening, nutrient-rich lining your body began to prepare (after shedding last month’s lining in pregnancy week one) waiting for it there. Hormone production in the woman’s body keeps the lining of the uterus growing, so the baby finds a hospitable environment when it enters the uterine cavity.

The cells on the outside of the ball of cells will burrow into the lining of the uterus, later becoming the placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic sac. Once it has implanted, doctors will call the baby an “embryo.” This embryonic stage, lasting from 3 to 10 weeks, is a time when the baby is highly susceptible to hazardous substances, toxins or medications to which you are exposed, so be careful what you eat, smell, drink, smoke, or even put on your skin.

Implantation Bleeding

Sometimes the burrowing action of the baby into the uterine lining causes light bleeding or spotting. Since this often occurs around the time of an expected period, and it is still too soon for other signs of pregnancy, you may think your period is starting. This light spotting is fairly common, and as many as 20% of mothers experience some form of bleeding during their pregnancies.

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The End of the Third Week of Pregnancy

By the end of the third week your baby is likely implanted safely and securely into the wall of the uterus and will soon begin the transition to receiving nourishment from your body. In fact, if you have not yet begun eating a healthy diet, conducive to a healthy pregnancy, now is the time to begin!

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