When Did You Conceive?Katlyn Joy | 6, March 2013
The pregnancy test was positive so the big question has been answered. However, the next question may be when did I conceive the baby. For some women this may be a simple calculation but for others it may be a more difficult mystery to solve. Here are some ways to determine when you conceived.
Starting at the Beginning
When dating pregnancies you will often encounter the abbreviation LMP. This means the last menstrual period and refers to the first day of your cycle or the day your period actually began. If you keep good track of such things such as the standard date circled in red on your calendar, you will be ahead of the game in determining the date of conception which in turn helps you be more confident of your due date. If you are a bit fuzzy on the exact date of your LMP, how about the cycle previous to it? You may need this info to help your doctor date your pregnancy.
When Conception Normally Occurs
For most women, ovulation happens around 11 to 21 days after the first day of the cycle or day one of the menstrual period. While many women ovulate between day 14 and day 16, every woman has her own unique biological clock and timing. Making things even more challenging, just because you ovulated on day 15 last month doesn't mean you will again this month. The reproductive processes are individual and fluctuating.
You may have some insight into when you ovulate most months by being observant. You may notice abdominal pain around the time the egg is released each month. If you were trying to conceive, you may have been taking your basal temperature and recording it as well as watching the changes in your cervical mucus each month to determine a time of ovulation. Knowing when you ovulate will increase your odds of timing sex just right to get pregnant.
If you've kept a watch and have a good idea of when ovulation occurred and noted this on a chart along with when you had sexual intercourse you'll have an excellent chance of narrowing down your date of conception.
Other Methods for Determining the Date of Conception
If you are unsure on when your LMP was, your doctor may be able to make a pretty good guess based on an early ultrasound. Ideally, you'll want to have the ultrasound performed before the 12th week of pregnancy. The doctor will look at measurements to determine the development of the embryo and give a good estimate of the baby's gestational age.
Another medical option is for your physician to perform a blood test to check the levels of HCG hormone to date the pregnancy. This is only helpful in the early weeks of pregnancy however.
Complications in Determining the Date of Conception
Usually the difficulties in dating a pregnancy occur when a woman is unsure of her cycles or has irregular periods. Should this happen, a variety of methods may be used to make an educated guess such as looking at an early sonogram and going with when the woman thinks her period started and when she had sex the last month.
Another difficulty may be that a woman may have had multiple sexual partners within her fertile window. If sex occurred with more than one partner in a few days time particularly between days 11 and 21, it may mean that a paternity test will be required in order to determine the father.
Simple Way to Determine the Date of Conception
Of course if you have a pretty good idea of your LMP, and an ultrasound that confirms those dates, you will be given a due date.
Barring such special circumstances such as in vitro fertilization where a woman knows exactly when conception occurred, any conception date or due date will be at best a really good guess. Furthermore, babies aren't born on exactly nine months from conception. Babies are individuals with their own sense of timing and you never want to rush baby to be born before the child is fully ready.
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