Week 3: How Your Body is Changing

There’s a baby on board, hooray!!! When you consider that by week 3 your baby is the size of a vanilla bean seed, it puts into perspective the magic of pregnancy. Just think, your baby begins as a pinhead and grows into a healthy bouncing newborn. All the feels! Here’s what you can expect of pregnancy and your baby during week 3.

Pregnancy Week 3: The Journey Begins

The moment you’ve been waiting for has happened: you’re pregnant! In just 9 short months, the single-cell fertilized egg will soon be a baby boy or girl. During the third week, the fertilized egg will multiply over and over until the cluster of cells form the embryo and placenta. To put the miracle into perspective: the microscopic ball of cells that become your baby are no bigger than a speck of pepper right now.

As the cell (or blastocyst, the proper term) divides it will spend the next six days traveling from your fallopian tubes to your uterus. Week four will see the cell implant itself in your uterine wall where it will grow for nine months. Are you wondering whether it’s a boy or girl? Easy mama, you won’t find out for sure until a few months have passed. But even at this point, the sex has been determined. Here’s another mind-bending biology fact: your fertilized egg has 46 chromosomes (23 from you and 23 from daddy) and while the mother always provides an X chromosome, the father can provide an X or Y. If the sperm that fertilized your egg carries an X, it’s a girl and if it’s a Y, then you’re having yourself a baby boy. Incredible!

Body Changes to Expect for Week 3

For the most part, at this stage of your pregnancy not a lot happens on the outside. And given it’s still early, you probably won’t get a positive result on a pregnancy test for another couple of weeks. What is happening of course is that your body is starting to produce a whole lotta hormones. The corpus luteum (yellowish body of cells that occupy the space left by the egg) will release more progesterone and estrogen which are needed to nourish and support your growing baby until the placenta takes over by week 10. Cells contained in the placenta will begin making human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) which halts your ovaries from producing more eggs and keeps the lining of the uterus from shedding. All of these hormones are designed to support the growth of the placenta. The downside? They also cause a bunch of unwelcome symptoms like morning sickness.

The nose knows! One of the earliest signs of pregnancy may be the scents your nose is suddenly picking up. A heightened sense of smell, caused by estrogen, magnifies every fragrance from the food at your favorite restaurant to your husband’s cologne. Here’s the bad news: your keener-than-usual nose can bring on morning sickness even more. Go easy on being around strong food odors and steer clear of any overpowering perfumes or known culprits of a strong smell.

Pregnancy Symptoms to Watch For

If cramping and mild abdominal pressure starts by week 3, it’s a really good sign everything is going right. It could be the embryo implantation, increased blood flow, thickening of the uterine lining or even your uterus expanding. Your doctor could put your mind at ease if you’re concerned but otherwise take it as the first sign of being super in tune with all the changes happening to your body.

Oddly enough, many pregnant women complain of a metallic taste in their mouth as a frequent side effect of pregnancy. Gross, right? Blame it on the hormones causing your taste buds to go wonky. It may not settle down until the second trimester so be ready to fight it with acidic things like lemonade, citrus juices or sour candy. You can also try brushing your tongue when you’re cleaning your teeth or gargle with salt water.

Week 3 To-Do List

By week 3 you may need to upp your intake of iron, calcium-rich foods and protein. You’ll need the iron for the increased blood volume and calcium-rich foods can help your baby build strong bones and is essential for heart, nerve and muscle health. Protein builds new tissue for your baby-to-be. Because morning sickness can zap foods and fluids, keep dehydration at bay by focusing on water, diluted juice, clear broth, hot water with lemon or Popsicles as a form of nutrients. Listen to your stomach on whether to try solids and as a last resort, try flat ginger ale or ginger candies as it’s said to aid any sick stomach. Unfortunately, you’ll also need to cancel any hair coloring for now. Experts say it’s better to be safe than sorry since you can’t completely prevent any chemicals from seeping into your scalp. Hormonal changes can also make your hair react differently so it may be safe to avoid any kind of major hair experimenting.

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