How Long Does Conception Take
Most women like to know the exact date they got pregnant. Especially if you have been struggling with infertility for a while.
Also if trying to conceive, you may want to know how long it takes for pregnancy to occur after ovulation.
What is conception?
The moment a sperm successfully penetrates an egg conception has occurred.
Before conception can occur, ovulation must take place.
Ovulation is a monthly occurrence in which one or both ovaries of a woman releases a matured egg into the fallopian tube.
For women with a 28 day cycle, ovulation usually occurs around day 14.
A girl is born with all the eggs she will ever have in her lifetime. A baby girl is born with over two million eggs in her ovaries.
Every month, a set of egg starts to grow in the follicle on a woman's ovary. The most matured egg is released during ovulation. The other eggs die-off.
Estrogen is the dominant hormone in the 1st phase of the menstrual cycle. It starts to drop rapidly after the egg has been released.
After ovulation, another hormone called progesterone is released to further thicken the uterus lining.
The egg only has 12-24 hours to live. After the egg has been released, it moves into the fallopian tube. Waiting to be fertilised by a sperm.
If the egg is fertilised by a sperm, a new life has been conceived.
If the egg is not fertilised, it moves down the uterus and disintegrates within 24 hrs.
When Does Conception Occur?
Conception can occur within a few hours of sexual intercourse or up to 5 days after intercourse.
This is because the sperm can live up to 5 days inside a woman.
After ejaculation, it takes a couple of hours for the sperm to reach the egg.
If you have sex some days before ovulation. Let's say 4 days before ovulation, some sperm will die-off but some will still be alive by the time the egg is released.
Shettles theory of gender selection is based on timing of intercourse to conceive either a boy or a girl.
If you want to conceive a girl have unprotected intercourse 3-5 days before ovulation. If you want to conceive a boy, have unprotected intercourse on the day you ovulate.
How Long Does Conception Take?
The moment the sperm penetrates the egg, conception has occurred. The egg and the sperm each have 23 chromosomes.
When two sets of chromosomes meet, they form a new individual with unique genetic blue print which happens at the moment of fertilisation.
There are series of events that happen between fertilisation and a successful implantation of the blastocyst to the lining of the womb.
Here is the conception process explained and broken down:
Many sperm surround the egg to fertilise it. They continue to remove the outer protective cells of the egg. Once all the protective cells have been removed, the first sperm to successfully penetrate the egg wins.
A chemical reaction immediately occurs making it impossible for other sperm to fertilise the egg.
At about 12 hrs after the fusion of both the chromosomes of the egg and the sperm, the first cell division starts.
The fertilised egg continues to divided into multiple cells rapidly while moving slowly down the fallopian tube into the uterus.
The fallopian tube consist of little hairs called cilia. These little hairs help propel the egg as it journeys to the uterus.
There are many risk for the fertilised egg at this stage. If the fallopian tube is blocked or obstructed, the ball of divided cells remains in the uterus and continues to grow.
This can lead to ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy.
The fertilised egg continues to divided into many cells. At this stage it is referred to as blastocyst, which means cluster of cells.
The fertilised egg remains in the fallopian tube for about 3-5 days while moving slowly down the fallopian tube into the uterus.
The blastocyst arrives in the uterus(womb) about 6-7 days after conception. Now in the uterus the fertilised egg has the task of attaching itself to the lining of the womb.
This process is known as implantation. Implantation is the process by which the fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus or womb.
The lining of the womb is known as the endometrium. The lining of the womb has to be thick and of high quality for the blastocyst to implant itself.
Women with thin or poor quality of endometrium may suffer from infertility.
At around 8 days after fertilisation, the blastocyst secretes a mucus or enzyme to dissolve the thick uterine lining. It then sinks or digs through the endometrium to embed itself.
This is the new home for the embryo. The uterus expands during implantation and this may cause lower abdominal cramps and a light bleeding known as implantation bleeding.
What are the Signs of Conception?
You might be wondering, what happens after ovulation if pregnant and how does your body feel.
After a successful implantation, the placenta releases the human chorionic gonadotropins (HCG) hormone into the blood streams. It is this HCG that most pregnancy tests tries to detect.
Although you can test for pregnancy after implantation, which is around a week before you have a missed period. It is generally advisable to wait until you have missed your period to test for pregnancy.
This is to avoid getting a negative or false pregnancy result by testing too early.
But here are some early signs of pregnancy before a missed period.
1. Implantation Cramping
Implantation cramping is a mild lower abdominal cramp, that occurs during the process when the egg burrows through the uterine lining to attach itself.
Not all women, experience cramps during the implantation process. Even if you do it will be a mild cramp and not as painful as period cramps.
This usually occurs around 3-7 days before your missed period. It may also be accompanied by light pinkish discharge.
2. Implantation Spotting
Light spotting before your period is usually a sign of implantation. It is not as heavy as your normal period and usually last for a few hours or less than 2 days.
The color is light pink or light brown and not as dark as your normal period blood.
3. Breast Tenderness
Sore or tender breast are common in early pregnancy. This is due to the increasing level of the estrogen and progesterone hormone.
Your areola will also start to look darker and your nipples may start to feel sensitive.
4. Tiredness and Fatigue
A lot is going on in your body now and your body is working extra hard to pump more blood to the uterus to support the new life.
Also the level of the progesterone hormone, continues to rise. This increasing level may cause you to feel more sleepy and tired.
You may want to take a few naps to feel better.
5. Frequent Urination
As the embryo continues to develop in the uterus. The uterus puts pressure on the bladder. This may cause you to want to pee more frequently than you would normally do.
Nausea and vomiting also known as morning sickness is very common in early pregnancy.
Although it is called morning sickness, it can happen at any time of the day. The main cause is unknown but it can be linked to the rising level of the estrogen and progesterone hormone after fertilisation.
7. Food Cravings or Aversion
Some women feel sick when they smell or eat the foods they once loved. And women also crave for some certain types of food.
Because of the heightened sense of smell, some women avoid cooking all together for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.