Getting pregnant and conception can be complicated. On this page we describe in 7 steps the physiology of getting pregnant and conception.
There are several parts involved in conception and getting pregnant:
- Hormones Rise
- Egg Travel
- HCG The Pregnancy Hormone
Each month shortly after your menstrual period ends there are certain hormonal changes in a woman body that stimulate one or more eggs in the ovaries to mature.
The hormonal changes cumulate in ovulation, when one or more of the eggs erupts from the follicle. Ovulation usually happens about two weeks before your next period.
After the egg leaves the follicle and the ovary, the follicle develops into something called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum releases a hormone called progesterone that helps thicken the lining of your uterus, getting it ready for the egg.
The Egg Travels to the Fallopian Tube
After the egg is released, it is picked up by the "fimbriae" of the fallopian tube and moves into the fallopian tube. It is there that a sperm reaches the egg and fertilizes it. If no sperm is around to fertilize the egg, the egg moves through the uterus and disintegrates and a menstrual period happens.
If a sperm does make its way into the Fallopian tube and burrows into the egg. That is also known as fertilization. When the egg is fertulized by the sperm, the baby's genes and sex are set. If the sperm has a Y chromosome, your baby will be a boy. If it has an X chromosome, the baby will be a girl.
Travel through the Fallopain Tube after Fertilization
After fertilization, the fertilized egg, now called a 'morula' and 'blastocyst' moves through the Fallopian tube towards the uterus, a travel that takes about three to four days. The fertilized egg keeps dividing as it moves through the fallopian tube to the uterus.
Implantation Inside the Uterus
After about 3-4 days of travel through the Fallopian tube the blastocyst has reached the uterus. Once it has reached the uterus, it starts to attach to the lining of uterus. This is called implantation.
Some women notice spotting (or slight bleeding) for a very short time around the time of implantation. The lining of the uterus gets thicker and the cervix is sealed by a plug of mucus. It will stay in place until the baby is ready to be born.
Pregnancy Hormone HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Within the first week after implantation, a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can be found in your blood. It's made by the cells that eventually become the placenta. A blood or urine test at your doctor's office will usually detect hCG within a wqeek after implantation.
Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) is a pregnancy hormone present in your blood from the time of conception; it is produced by the cells that form the placenta. This is the hormone detected in a pregnancy test, but usually, it takes three to four weeks from the first day of your last period for the levels of hCG to be high enough to be detected by pregnancy tests.