When planning to become a mother, it’s important to pay extra attention to your body and more specifically, your menstrual cycle to be able to know when you are most fertile. This is known as charting. The process of becoming a mother starts when you become sexually active and refrain from using protection. If you are fertile at the time of unprotected sex, after ovulation, then the egg will fuse with the sperm and this will be the onset on your journey to motherhood. 

The process of the fusion of the egg and the sperm is known as conception. Here is more information about it and how it takes place.

How Does Conception Occur?

Unlike what many people think, pregnancy does not start on the day that two partners get sexually active. Instead, it can take up to five days after intercourse. This is because the sperm and egg need to first come into contact. When the two meet and their genetic material combine, conception is said to have taken place. At this point, your body releases hormones to prepare for pregnancy and thus, ovulation will not take place.

You will also realize some of the signs of conception such as

  • Sore breasts 
  • Backaches and cramps
  • Fatigue 
  • Darkening of nipples (Pregnancy nipples)
  • Nausea 
  • Bloating
  • Cravings 
  • Peeing more often 
  • Constipation 
  • Headaches 
  • Mood swings 
  • Nose nuisance 
  • Implantation bleeding  

After conception has taken place, the fertilized egg will take about six-ten days before attaching itself on the lining of the uterus, at which time the pregnancy will begin. 

Calculating the Date of Conception

For you to be in a position to tell your due date, you need to know the day conception took place. In case you had a case of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), then your transfer date becomes the date of conception. On the other hand, you will get the first day of your last menstrual periods and that becomes your conception day. You can also use a due date calculator to estimate the probable date which you could conceive as well as a corresponding due date. 

When Implantation Occurs

As the fertilized egg moves through the fallopian tube to attach itself to the lining of the uterus, it is likely to disrupt tiny blood vessels at the place where it burrows too. Though this does not cause problems to the lining of the uterus, some women may experience some light bleeding, known as implantation bleeding.

Ideally, it is possible to confuse implantation bleeding for a normal period and you may think that you have not conceived. However there are ways that can help you know that it’s indeed implantation bleeding. These include:

  • Unlike periods that could last for up to five days, this lasts for at most 48 hours
  • They present milder uterus cramping
  • Bleeding is light and usually pinkish, blackish or brown


Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019 

Sources: clevelandclinic, webmd, bounty, healthline, calculator, parents

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