Conception - Definition, Tips and Signs

Conception is the earliest form of human life. According to the conception definition in the dictionary, it is "the entity formed by the union of the male sperm and the female ovum" (egg).


In order for pregnancy to occur an egg needs to be released from the ovaries in a process called ovulation. Every month fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries called follicles start to develop immature eggs. A dominant follicle suppresses the development of most of these immature eggs in the other follicles so that they degenerate. Then the dominant follicle continues to grow its single egg which ruptures through the follicle and releases from the ovary. This is called ovulation and it typically happens approximately two weeks before a woman's period.

After the egg is released, the follicle morphs into the corpus luteum which helps prepare the uterus endometrium (lining of the womb) for possible implantation through the secretion of estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones thicken the uterus lining.

The released egg moves into a fallopian tube and stays there until it becomes fertilized by a sperm. Fertilization and pregnancy can happen approximately 24 hours after fertilization. If there is not sperm to fertilize the egg, the corpus luteum destroys itself, hormone levels drop and the thickened uterus lining sloughs off in a process known as menstruation.


According to the conception calendar created by medical professionals who have studied how babies are conceived and born, the egg remains into the fallopian tube for about three days after it has been fertilized. At this point it's changing rapidly and dividing into many cells. In the medical world this fertilized egg is called a zygote. The zygote moves towards the uterus and transitions from a solid ball of cells to a hollow ball of cells. This hollow ball is called a blastocyst and this is what attaches itself to the uterus lining in a process referred to as implantation.

One of the earliest signs of conception for some women occurs one or two days after the blastocyst attaches to the uterus lining. Some women may get some light spotting or light bleeding that can occasionally be misinterpreted as a period. Sometimes women experience slight cramping as well.

The developing baby is now considered an embryo until eight weeks when the unborn child is called a fetus. At this point diagrams of the fetus' development start to look more human.

Other Signs of Conception

Many women don't experience any signs of conception until they miss their period. A woman who has regular periods and knows when she has had intercourse without birth control will likely immediately suspect that she's pregnant, especially if her and her partner is trying to conceive. A woman with more irregular cycles may need to use a conception calendar if she wishes to estimate the date of conception.

Morning sickness is an obvious sign of early pregnancy. Some women experience it as early as two weeks after conception. Other possible signs of conception are swollen breasts, darkening of the areolas, food cravings or aversions and backaches.

Conception Tips

There are a few things you can do to increase your chances if you're trying to get pregnant and you would like to get pregnant quickly. In order to get pregnant, your body needs to release and egg and you need to time sexual intercourse when the egg is released. This means it's crucial that you know your fertile time. Women with a 28-day cycle tend to have a higher chance of conceiving the 14th day after their last period. Those with a 30-day cycle have a greater chance of pregnancy the 16th day after their last period.

But don't necessarily depend on these days as a guideline since stress, diet or other lifestyle factors can delay or cause ovulation by a day or more. Monitor your basal body temperature with a basal thermometer. Tiny increases in your body temperature will show when you're most fertile. Also monitor your cervical mucus. Vaginal discharge is similar to egg white when you're most fertile.


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