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DAY 1 OF YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE

279 days to go...

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uterus on day 1 of menstrual cycle

What's happening inside

The lining of the uterus builds up in the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle to prepare for pregnancy. The yellow and blue areas seen here are cells and the pink area, secretions. If no pregnancy occurs, the lining breaks down and menstruation occurs.

This is day one of your period. If you are trying to conceive during this menstrual cycle, keep a note of this highly significant date.

Although this is officially the first day of your pregnancy, you won't conceive until around two weeks from now. This is classified as "day one" because once you conceive your pregnancy will be dated from the first day of your menstrual period. It would be more logical to date a pregnancy from the day of ovulation or conception, but, like most women, you're unlikely to know the day on which you ovulate, let alone conceive. You are, however, far more likely to remember when your last period started, especially if you're hoping to get pregnant and are keeping a record of your menstrual cycle.

While dating a pregnancy in this way is a handy, if slightly baffling, convention, it does mean that your body is getting geared up for pregnancy from today. In around 280 days, or nine months' time, you could be holding your newborn baby in your arms. Good luck and enjoy the journey!

Time To Think About

Having a baby

There's no perfect time to become parents, but you might want to bear in mind the following:

  • While practical matters such as the state of your finances and the size of your house are considerations, remember that being parents is about more than what you are able to offer your baby materially.
  • This is a decision only you and your partner can make. Don't act on the advice of family members and friends.
  • You might conceive immediately or it could take several months, so relax and don't have a set date in mind.

As A Matter Of Fact

Just 20 percent of couples actively trying to conceive become pregnant in the first monthly cycle.

For 75 percent of couples it takes six months. So be patient and try not to get too stressed if you don't manage to conceive immediately.

Focus On... Nutrition

Take folic acid

Start taking this vital supplement now, from day one, if you haven't already. You should take folic acid as soon as you begin trying to conceive because it will be essential to your baby's development in the first few weeks of pregnancy (see Folate and folic acid).

The amount of folic acid that has been shown to be effective is a daily supplement of 400 mcg. A diet of foods rich in folate is also advisable so eat plenty of green vegetables, such as green beans, spinach, and broccoli; legumes, such as peas, beans, and chickpeas; fortified cereals; and wheat germ and other fortified grains.

woman holding folic acid supplements
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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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