You're holding the pregnancy test in your hand and have just found out you're pregnant. Congratulations! This is the start of a long, exciting, fun, challenging and wonderful journey. It's already time to book an appointment with a midwife.
Contacting the maternity clinic
You can call your local maternity clinic at any time. The midwives will answer all your questions. If you want, you can have a pregnancy test done at the clinic. Now you need to book an appointment to register at the maternity clinic. This appointment is usually around pregnancy week 10, but it can vary depending on the protocol at your maternity clinic.
Bear in mind that you can have some light bleeding even if you are pregnant. This can be caused by hormones, or by the embryo implanting in your uterus. It is completely normal. Speak to your doctor or midwife if you are worried or in any doubt. You might be prescribed an extra ultrasound scan.
Your first appointment with the midwife
Pregnancy - the creation of a new human being
Most women develop one fertile egg every month, while a man can produce billions of sperm cells during the same period. Each ejaculation can contain up to 500 million sperm. One in ten of these sperm is fit enough to reach the egg and fertilise it.
The egg matures in one of the follicles in the ovaries. When the follicle bursts, the egg is released and is captured by the fallopian tube. The egg settles in the fallopian tube and waits to be fertilised. It can survive about 48 hours in this nutrient-rich environment. If the egg is not fertilised, it continues down to the uterus and is expelled through the cervix and vagina.
Fertilisation takes place when the sperm enters the egg
The sperm can remain fertile for up to five days. It takes between 30 minutes and 48 hours for a sperm to reach the egg. Around the time of ovulation, the woman's cervical mucus becomes thinner and more elastic to make it easier for the sperm to swim to the egg. There may initially be many sperm competing side by side to burrow through the protective, nutrient-rich outer layer of the egg.
When the first sperm enters the egg, fertilisation takes place. Soon the sperm shakes off its tail. Its head quickly grows to becomes the same size as the core of the egg. Both the cores find each other and merge together into one unit. This process results in the beginning of a new life. A new person is created. Some women claim they could feel the moment the egg was fertilised...
The egg divides repeatedly
The fertilised egg remains in the outer part of the fallopian tube for several days, where it divides again and again. The egg multiplies into four cells after about 48 hours, eight cells after 72 hours and continues multiplying accordingly. On the fourth day, the egg will resemble a blackberry. At this stage, the egg is called a morula. It is the size of a pinhead and consists of 32 cells. Some of the cells have the task of developing the embryo, while others will create the placenta.
The morula absorbs liquid and soon resembles a small bubble. On the fifth day, it passes into the womb. This journey takes a few hours. There is far more room in here. The womb has developed a thick mucous membrane lining in preparation for receiving the fertilised egg, which now consists of approximately 100 cells. The process from ovulation up to this stage takes about a week.
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