The second week (out of forty) is seven days after your last menstrual period began. During this week of your cycle, your period is over and your bleeding should be done with. Your endometrium (the lining of your uterus) is building a new layer to prepare for possible implantation, by becoming engorged with blood and thickening. Your uterus is almost ready to receive your new little miracle! Besides changes happening in your uterus, in one of your two ovaries, a fully-ripened egg (also called an “ovum”) is getting ready to be released for fertilization. This is because follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), is secreted by your body, which, in turn matures an egg.

At the end of this week, you are at the midpoint in your cycle and it”s the most fertile time of the month. If you are trying to conceive, this is the time to make love without protection at least every-other-day to maximize your odds of getting pregnant. Before this week is over or possibly during the first part of next week, you will most likely ovulate (meaning, an egg will be released from your ovary) and the egg will be waiting in your fallopian tube for fertilization by one of your partner’s millions of sperm. If you are charting your basal body temperature (BBT), you may notice a slight decrease in your temperature all-of-a-sudden right before ovulation. This is brought on by the normal surge of estrogen.

A few days before ovulation, you may begin to notice an increased production of cervical fluid or “mucus”, as a result of heightened estrogen levels. This is a sign of increasing fertility and will assist your partner’s sperm in swimming to meet your egg in the fallopian tube. This cervical mucus may feel watery, slippery and usually is stretchy; similar to raw egg whites. Around the time of ovulation, you may experience some mild lower abdominal cramping, which may feel similar to menstrual cramps. Usually the cramping is more to one side or the other. This sign of ovulation is called mittelschmerz (MITT-ul-shmurz) and is quite possibly caused by irritation from fluid when the follicle ruptures. Not all women experience mittelschmerz and sometimes women will only notice it occasionally.

If you smoke cigarettes, now is the time to kick the habit, before it has a chance to harm your baby. Tobacco smoke contains numerous substances that are harmful, particularly to a developing baby. Smoking during pregnancy is extremely risky and increases the chance of miscarriage, stillbirth and even SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Smoking interferes with your absorption of vitamins B and C and folic acid. Lack of folic acid during pregnancy may result in your baby developing neural-tube defects. It also puts your baby at a greater risk of being born with a low birth weight because smoking impairs fetal growth. Second-hand smoke is also harmful, so pregnancy should be a good motivation for everyone that smoke in your family to stop!

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