Women have questions about conception. What does conception mean anyway? To know the answer, you need to understand what ovulation means. One to three eggs become mature in one of your ovaries during each menstrual cycle. Your ovaries will release the ripest egg and the process is called ovulation. The egg will then move into the fallopian tube – there are two fallopian tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus.
Ovulation occurs about 12-14 days before your next period, but it usually depends on the length of your cycle. The egg usually lives for 24 hours after release, and if it is fertilized by a sperm within this period, the conception will take place. It is important for the egg to be fertilized by a sperm on its way to the uterus for you to conceive. If that does not happen, the egg will move to the uterus and disintegrate.
What Does Conception Mean?
Conception basically means you are pregnant with a baby. It usually refers to the moment when a sperm fertilizes an egg. During a vaginal intercourse, a fertile man's sperm cell swims up through the vagina and reaches the uterus where it fertilizes the woman's egg cell. A fast-swimmng sperm can reach an egg in only 30 minutes which then leads to conception!
The Complete Process of Conception, Implantation and Baby Development
- After fertilization, the egg keeps moving down the fallopian tube. As it moves, it begins to divide into more cells. The division continues and there is a cluster of about 100 cells by the time the fertilized egg enters the uterus. This growing cluster is called a blastocyst that attaches itself to the uterine lining, called the endometrium. The moment it attaches itself to the lining of the uterus, some bleeding takes place, which is called implantation bleeding. This is nothing serious and is usually a small amount of bleeding that you only notice when using the bathroom. The blood is brown or light pink in color and is much less than what you experience during period.
- After implantation, there will be an increase in the levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones that ultimately cause the endometrium to become thick. All this is required to provide essential nutrients to the blastocyst that help it grow and develop into a baby.
- These cells continue to divide – some of these cells develop into the baby, while others from the placenta that supplies nourishment and oxygen to the growing baby. Your body will release hormones that signal the uterus to not shed its lining, which usually happens when you have your period. You will not have a period in that month, and this lets you know that you have conceived and are pregnant now.
Does Conception Happen on the Same Day I Had Sex?
Many women think that their conception date is when they had sex. It definitely makes sense, but that is not always true. The reason is that sperm can live in a woman's body for up to 5 days, and it can fertilize an egg during this time. If means that conception can happen as long as 5 days later than you have sex, provided that ovulation occurs on the 5th day after sexual intercourse.
Getting an Ultrasound
It is possible to go for an ultrasound screening to know the date of conception. It tells you the date within one week depending on gestational age. There may be some issues here because they do not measure gestational date by conception date, but they consider the first day of your last period to be the first day of gestation. What it means is that if you have a normal cycle and you are 6 weeks along, your baby is about 4 weeks old. It is important to note that your ultrasound technician can also measure the size of your baby and use this information to determine when you conceived.
Even though technology helps, there is no surefire way of finding the exact conception date. It is necessary for conception to occur within 24 hours of ovulation. It is however possible to tell when conception occurred when you go for in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination.
What Happens After Conception?
You may now be wondering exactly what happens after conception. The first thing you notice is that your period has vanished. If you miss your period, you may want to perform a pregnancy test to confirm.
Can I Calculate Myself to Know When Does Conception Occur?
Once you know the answer to your question, "What does conception mean?" you may also want to know when conception occurs. It is not possible to be sure of the exact date, but you can use certain methods to get an idea about it. For this, you need to have some knowledge about your body and menstrual cycle.
Calculating Conception Based on Ovulation
It is not possible to conceive if you have not ovulated yet. Therefore, you can calculate your ovulation date to get an idea about when conception occurred. In a 28-day cycle, conception is more likely to occur about 14 days after the first day of your last period. It means that if you had your period on October 11, your conception may have occurred around October 25.
Determining When You Ovulate
What does conception mean? You already know it. You also know you need to know when you ovulate to get an idea about when conception occurred. The problem is that a large majority of women do not have a 28-day cycle, which means they may not ovulate 14 days after the first day of their last period. It means you should chart your cycle and know how many days between periods to be able to determine ovulation.
For a cycle longer than 28 days, you need to add an additional day to the number 14 for every day that is in addition to your 28-day cycle. You need to subtract days if your cycle is shorter than 28 days.
It means that for a 30-day cycle, you need to add another two days to the number 14. So, you ovulated 16 days after the first day of your last period. For a 24-day cycle, you need to subtract four days from the number 14, which will leave you with 10 days.