Mother and Baby

3 weeks pregnant: advice, symptoms and what to expect

Week three pregnancy

At three weeks pregnant, it is time for the sperm to meet the egg. As we mentioned in week two, your partner’s sperm goes on a very difficult journey to fertilise your egg, but if it’s made it and you’ve conceived, this is the week when your baby will first start to form. What symptoms do you need to look out for and what advice is helpful at this stage?

How big is my baby at three weeks pregnant?

Right now, your baby is a ball of around 100 cells about the size of a pinhead. This is officially referred to as a blastocyst.

What is my baby doing at three weeks pregnant?

Within hours of being fertilised, your egg will start to travel from your fallopian tube to your uterus, and the fertilised egg (now medically referred to as the zygote) will divide into 16 identical cells. This journey can take up to six days, so implantation probably won’t happen until week four. The inside of the cell mass will become the embryo itself and the amniotic sac. The outer cell mass will become the placenta.

Common symptoms to look out for:

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1) A heightened sense of smell

Changes to your sense of smell are a side effect of oestrogen. If you find like every little fragrance around you has been magnified, this could be an early sign that your body is getting ready for a baby. This may cause morning sickness in the next few weeks, so you might want to think about switching to unscented toiletries.
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2) Abdominal pressure

Don’t worry, a feeling of pressure or even the feeling of period cramps without the bleeding is nothing to panic about. You might be feeling the sensation of embryo implantation, an increased blood flow to this area or even the thickening of your uterus. If you’re worried, we recommend you book an appointment with your GP.
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3) Metallic taste

A common side effect of pregnancy is a metallic taste, caused by the changing hormones in your body. These side effects will usually settle in the second trimester, although this can feel a long way away right now, so try sipping lemonade and other citrus juices to try and help.
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4) Nausea

As the pregnancy hormone hCG appears in your body you may feel queasy or nausea or even be sick. If you are suffering with morning sickness already, there's a chance you could be further a long than you thought.
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5) Implantation bleeding

If your little soon-to-be-embryo has already made it to his or her new home, you may see a bit of spotting as the fertilized egg burrows into the wall of your uterus. There are certain ways you can tell the difference between implantation bleeding and a period.
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6) Missed period

If you often find your cycle is shorter than the standard 28 days, you may realise by the end of this week that you have missed a period. If this is the case, it's time to take a pregnancy test.
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7) Positive home pregnancy test

Certain pregnancy tests are better suited to detecting early pregnancies so make sure to check the box. The amount of pregnancy hormone hCG in your body may not yet be high enough for a pregnancy test to detect it. However, the hormone doubles every 48 hours and if you get a negative result you can always take a second a few days later.

What is my body doing at three weeks pregnant?

From the outside, it probably won’t feel like much is happening right now, but if you’ve timed things right, that precious blastocyst is starting out on its journey and heading for your uterus. Just after the egg is released from the follicle it came from, it will be replaced by a yellow group of cells called the corpus luteum. This, in turn, produces enough of the pregnancy hormones progesterone and oestrogen, to support your future baby for the next ten weeks, until the placenta is ready to take over.

At this point, you still probably won’t get a positive pregnancy test, but in the next few weeks, once the blastocyst has made its way into the uterus, the cells of the developing placenta will make human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This surges in your first trimester and tells your ovaries to stop producing eggs and start making more progesterone and oestrogen.

What should I be doing when I'm three weeks pregnant?

You need to make sure you are eating healthily and getting the right nutrients and vitamins when trying to conceive or during the early stages of pregnancy.

Up the protein

Your baby will need extra protein to help it grow, so try and make sure you get three servings of protein a day in these first few weeks.

Make sure you’re getting enough calcium

It might seem obvious, but if you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet when you’re pregnant, your baby will start taking it from your bones! Now’s the time to up the intake – foods like Greek or frozen yoghurt will help. If you’re still struggling, it might be worth looking for a calcium supplement. 

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