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4 WEEKS, 3 DAYS

249 days to go...

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Your baby today

As the embryo transforms from two cell layers into three, a groove develops along the back of the embryo. This groove will develop in the embryo's neural tube-the forerunner of the brain and spinal cord.

Happy? Excited? But a little nervous? There is no greater life-changing event than finding out you're going to be parents.

In the few days since you conceived, you may have experienced a whole host of different feelings. Even if you planned to get pregnant, it's perfectly normal for the initial elation to be replaced with some anxiety as the reality hits you that you are going to be a mom. You might also doubt the result of the test you've taken and not actually believe it until you begin to have some of the early symptoms of pregnancy.

Your partner may react differently than you. If he doesn't appear as excited, don't interpret this as meaning that he is not happy about the news; not everyone deals with big events in the same way, and it might be some time before the reality of becoming a dad hits him. Withdrawing into himself may be his way of giving himself some time to process the information. Conversely, you may find he's actually more excited about the news than you!

Handling your feelings might be made more difficult by trying to keep the pregnancy a secret, for the time being. Most couples decide not to tell people until after the 12-week scan when the miscarriage risk is significantly decreased, but you may find that confiding in a few close relatives and friends will give you a much-needed outlet to talk about your feelings.

As A Matter Of Fact

Pregnant women often try to connect with their baby through dreams.

You may find it difficult to fully bond with your baby and believe you're actually pregnant. A common dream in pregnancy is that you're swimming; it is thought to be a way of trying to "reach" the baby, who will soon be bathed in water (fluid) inside you.

happy pregnant couple

Discovering that you're going to be parents is a momentous occasion, and you and your partner are likely to experience a renewed closeness as a result.

Surprised to be pregnant?

If you're one of the few women who has become pregnant while using contraception, it is unlikely to have done your baby any harm, but depending on what you were using, here's what you should do:

  • Contraceptive pill: stop taking it.
  • Contraceptive patch: remove it.
  • Contraceptive implant: see your doctor to have it removed.
  • IUD or IUS (intrauterine device or intrauterine system): visit your doctor without delay if you're using either since there's a small risk that the pregnancy could be ectopic (see Ectopic pregnancy). Even if a scan shows that the pregnancy is not ectopic, the IUD or IUS should be removed: the risk of miscarriage is greater if it is left in place.
  • Contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera): see your doctor if you conceive while using this. Research indicates that it won't affect the unborn baby, but you should not have any more injections.
  • Morning-after pill: once an egg has implanted, the morning-after pill has no effect so it won't harm your baby. Do, however, see your doctor if you're concerned.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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