How does Conception work?

How does Conception work?

Ovulation is the process of releasing of an egg (ovum) from one of both ovaries every month which is then fertilized by mature sperm and conception occurs.

Ovulation lasts for 12 to 48 hours, but you are potentially fertile for up to seven days, and maybe up to 10 days, according to the most optimistic studies. This is because sperm can survive up to five days in the female reproductive tract.

Growth of an Egg

In every menstrual cycle numbers of small follicles start growing. Among these follicles only one follicle is converted into mature Graafian follicle.

This Graafian follicle releases an ovum in the middle of this cycle and itself is converted into corpus luteum which releases a hormone named progesterone which causes the thickening of lining of uterus for the growth of the fetus.

Travel of ovum from ovary to Fallopian Tube

Ovum travel from ovary to fallopian tube and stay there for 24 hours. During this time period if any sperm succeeds in entering into the fallopian tube then conception occurs.

How long can it take from ovulation to conception?

It can take only 24 hours from ovulation to conception so within 24 hours if any sperm enters into fallopian tube and meets the egg and fertilizes it, a growth of new life starts. All this happens about 2 weeks after your last period.

Life span of ovum and sperm

A woman’s cervical fluid provides the sperm the essential nutrients so sperm can survive up to 3 days in normal conditions. Ovum’s life span is short, it can live for 24 hours after ovulation.

When to have sex to conceive after ovulation

To conceive after ovulation, it is better to have sex 2 to 3 days before ovulation so that sperm is already be there to greet the ovum instantly and move you from ovulation to conception.

Sex of your Baby is determined at the time of fertilization

If sperm makes its way to fallopian tube and fertilizes the egg, ovum changes in such a way that no other sperm can fertilize it again. At the time of fertilization your baby’s sex is set. If sperm has Y chromosomes, you will have a baby boy and if sperm has X chromosomes, you will have a baby Girl.

After fertilization occurs, ovum stays 3 to 4 days in fallopian tube though it starts changing itself within 24 hours of fertilization and divides quickly. It keeps dividing itself while moving to uterus through fallopian tube. In this stage it is called blastocyst.

Implantation into uterus

After the egg is fertilized successfully it travels to uterus and attaches itself into the lining of uterus for its food and nourishment so it can grow properly. This process is called implantation. The whole process from fertilization to implantation takes 9 to 12 days. If it fails to implant itself properly, it is destroyed and flushes off in the next period.

Stages of implantation

There are 2 stages of implantation. First, the blastocyst simply attaches itself to the lining of uterus. In the second stage it embeds deeply in the lining of uterus with the help of special enzymes.

Vital Role of Hormones in early pregnancy

Estrogen and progesterone plays a vital role in the implantation and growth of a baby. Both hormones work together. Corpus luteum is formed in the ovaries after the shedding of ovum. Estrogen and progesterone are produced by corpus luteum in the second half of the menstrual cycle and later on during pregnancy corpus luteum continues to produce progesterone until the placenta takes over its function completely in 12th to 14th week of pregnancy.

Growth of uterine lining

Progesterone keeps the placenta functioning properly. It makes the uterine lining healthy and thick to provide the nourishment of the baby till 9 months of pregnancy. It also slows down the pre pregnancy contractions of smooth muscles of the uterus so your baby is kept safely in the extending uterus.

Helps in development of Lactation

Estrogen and progesterone both help in preparing a woman for motherhood by stimulating the growth of the breast. Estrogen stimulates the growth of duct cells of the breast while progesterone stimulates the growth of milk producing cells in the glands. Estrogen further stimulates the production of prolactin, a hormone that promotes the breast growth and milk production. Estrogen helps in maintenance of blood circulation and gives strength to your bones and your baby’s bones.

Body changes during pregnancy under the effects of Hormones

As estrogen and progesterone are produced in heavy amounts during pregnancy. These produce significant changes in body which could be more or less troublesome.

Your ligaments get loose so be aware

By the effects of these hormones your ligaments get loose so you can have easy sprains of ankles and knees. So while doing exercise during pregnancy, keep an eye on your posture to be safe from injuries.

Fluid retention and weight gain

Pregnant women experience weight gain and fluid retention in body especially around ankles, legs hands and even face can look swollen. This water retention is caused by hormonal changes.

Changes in skin, hair and Nails

Some women may experience changes in hair, nails and skin and while they may complain of having hair loss due to hormonal shift. They should not be worried because these issues resolve automatically as time passes.

Pregnant woman’s breasts undergoes lots of changes due to its preparation to supply milk. Pregnancy hormones cause changes in pigmentation of the skin around the areola and some women may have stretch marks on their breasts. Breasts increase in size and sometimes tenderness of the breast may result by the action of her hormones. Cervical changes The cervix of pregnant women undergoes changes. The cervix in some women gets thicker and firmer. It produces thick mucus to cover up the uterus. Few weeks before baby’s birth cervix gets softer and dilates allowing baby to pass through it at the time of delivery.

Some women experience myopia or nearsightedness. Some can have the troubles of intra ocular pressure so they may prone to increase risks of eyes trouble especially in diabetic pregnant women. Other vision troubles like blurry vision and foggy vision can be experienced but you don’t need to be worried because these will be resolved after giving birth to baby. 

Some women may experience changes in sense of taste and smell like heightened smells are observed as compared to non-pregnant women. Some pregnant woman may experience metallic taste in mouth which increases nausea. All these changes are caused by the increased amount of hormones and settle down after pregnancy.

Signs of successful implantation

It is interesting and somewhat frustrating that signs of implantation are similar to those of premenstrual syndrome, and you can sometimes be confused about your early signs of pregnancy When the egg is successfully fertilized and reaches the uterus, it gets implanted into the wall of uterus. There are few signs which makes you understand that implantation has taken place and you are on the way to pregnancy. 

Some women may experience the light spotting of blood when implantation takes place. The color of blood is not like the ordinary menstrual blood and is not a regular flow. It just colors light pink and in the form of spotting. Spotting occurs when blastocyst deeply embeds in the lining of uterus and under the effects of hormones spotting can happen.

When implantation takes place it causes light cramp-like condition in your lower abdomen. This cramping pain would be different from the cramps of menstrual periods and it can persist for 5 minutes. Sometimes it is very mild and many women don’t notice this pain. 

Soon after the implantation body starts changing under the effects of hormones. These changes could result in the swelling and tenderness of breasts as hormones increase in quantity. Some women may experience breast pain and soreness soon after the implantation even 7 days after the ovulation.

Soon after the implantation when the pregnancy starts basal body temperature continues to increase about 0.5 to 1.0 degree. This rise in temperature is caused by high amount of progesterone produced during pregnancy.

After the implantation cervical mucus changes in color, amount, and consistency ass the hormones affecting its thickness and quantity. These changes can be felt by pregnant women as wetness of underwear increases. Mucus increases due to increase blood flow to the vagina.

The most important and accurate sign of early pregnancy is missed periods. If you have missed your periods you should make it confirm by test. This is the most accurate time to take a test to confirm it.

Though it is not very early sign of pregnancy but after a month of pregnancy some women may feel frequent urination. This could be due to pressure on a bladder produced by a fetus even if he is of the size of pea, it starts producing pressure on surrounding organs and bladder.

Desire of certain foods and aversions to specific foods

After the implantation in uterus, body changes and with that change it demands for certain food items and shows its aversions to specific things. The action of hormones often change a woman’s taste buds and alterations in taste and smell often take place.


Fatigue is another symptom which is felt in some women after implantation has occurred. Again this is not a clear cut symptom of pregnancy as it could be due to some other reasons. All these signs and symptoms are not as valid as pregnancy test. So make sure you have pregnancy test to be sure of pregnancy.

Types of Pregnancy Tests

Home pregnancy urine test

After 6 to 7 days of implantation women can use a home pregnancy urine test. It can be done 2 to 3 days before missing next periods. This test can be done by urinating on a pregnancy strip and noting its change of color.

Blood HCG level for pregnancy

Human chorionic gonadotropin is a pregnancy hormone. This hormone is present in blood in considerable amount after 8 to 10 days of implantation. Test will be positive 7 to 8 days after implantation.

Consult a physician

To confirm about pregnancy you must consult to a physician and he might check through ultrasound examination to make the diagnosis confirmed.

Precautions to take after conception has occurred

There are some precautions which you must need to take once implantation has happened and you must be conscious of them. Avoid Alcohol If you were taking alcohol before pregnancy, just leave it alone for now. Though it does not look more harmful to your baby but it is harmful and can produce some serious behavioral disorders. Alcohol is one of the most common reasons of physical, mental and behavioral disabilities. Alcohol can easily pass to baby’s body and can damage its nervous system. Avoid Smoking If you are used to of smoking before pregnancy, it is the right time to leave this habit. Smoking is also injurious to your health as well as the health of your baby. It is not good for its peaceful growth. Make sure you don’t smoke at all to avoid any kind of complications in pregnancy. Be Relaxed and Avoid Stress Once conception and implantation has taken place and you decided to get pregnant, now it is the time to be relaxed and avoid all sorts of stress. It directly affects your health and your baby’s health as well. Try to be happy and contented. Stay away from worries. Eat well, live well, take plenty of water, have a healthy and nutritious diet and get proper sleep to give birth a healthy, happy child. Healthy mothers give birth to healthy child.

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