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Fetal Developement

Life is truly wonderful! In fact, the development of human life in the womb is just amazing. Did you know that everything about you — including how tall you would be, the color of your eyes, and the color of your skin– was all determined at the time of fertilization? Month-by-month you grew in the safety and comfort of your mother’s womb until the big day of your birth finally arrived!

Too many people today ignore the facts about human development, claiming that it’s too “political” or “controversial”. More to the point, the unfolding story of life in the womb tends to make these same people uneasy because it places a miraculous – and human – face on the lives of the unborn.

So just how did you develop in the womb? What were your first nine months like. Join us as we journey into the awesome world of life in the womb month-by-month.

Month 1: This is the stage of fertilization and implantation. After a woman ovulates, the egg is normally fertilized within 24-48 hours. The single fertilized cell begins to rapidly divide and at this point in time is called a zygote. Many amazing things happen at fertilization. Your physical attributes are determined including gender, hair color, and eye color. Between days 7-10 from fertilization implantation usually occurs. Implantation should occur within the uterus if it does not this is considered an ectopic pregnancy. The amniotic sac, umbilical cord and yolk sac are already beginning to form. By the end of this month a baby is approximately 2mm long and beginning early stages of development.

Month 2: The baby’s heart, neural tube, arms and legs, liver and other major organs begin to form. The baby’s heart will be beating and visible via ultrasound. The placenta also begins to form as well as the eyes, ears, mouth, and bones. In this month, the baby’s fingers and toes will become present, however, they may still be webbed. Her brain and cranial nerves will also begin to form this month. Baby’s sex organs begin to become visible. Babies at this stage are approximately 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch long and weigh about 1-2 grams by the end of this month.

Month 3: If given an ultrasound now, you would be able to see a baby’s arms and legs moving. Baby’s heartbeat can be detected by doppler beginning in the third month. Development of the heart and all major organs is complete by the end of the third month. Baby’s sex organs continue to develop, but it is still too difficult to differentiate gender. Baby’s muscles in trunk, limbs, and head are developing. Baby’s face is well formed and your baby looks like a baby. By the end of the third month, the baby is 3-4 inches long and weighs about 1 ounce.

Month 4: During the fourth month the baby’s hair and teeth begin to form. The baby will be moving and active now and moms may begin to feel baby’s movement this month, however, not feeling movements till next month is perfectly normal as well. A baby’s digestive system is forming and the intestines are present. Meconium, a baby’s first stool, is present in the intestines as well. By the end of this month it may be possible to determine baby’s gender. Babies are approximately 5-6 inches long and weigh 5-8 ounces by the end of the month.

Month 5: The baby is developing a fine hair, called lanugo, which covers the body. Likewise, her eyelashes and eyebrows are developing. Her fingerprints and footprints are now developed. She begins to suck and swallow and may even be found sucking her thumb. Vernix, a white lanolin-like covering, appears on baby to protect her skin. Her ears are developed as well and she may be able to hear you now. The baby is approximately 7-8 inches long and weighs 3/4-1 pound by the end of this month.

Month 6: The baby’s immune system is developing and she is beginning to create her own antibodies. She has developed a hand grip reflex and startle reflex. Her lungs are beginning to develop and alveoli are forming. She is growing and filling out. She looks more and more like the person she will be when she is born. By the end of this month, she is approximately 9-10 inches long and weigh in at about 1 1/2-2 1/4 pounds.

Month 7: The baby’s eyes are open and she is able to cry. She may be very active now and others may be able to see her movements. She may have hiccups which will feel like a jumpy movement. She is increasing in body fat and her bones are fully developed now. By the end of this month, she is approximately 11 inches long and weighs around 3-3 1/2 pounds.

Month 8: At this point of a pregnancy, there is not a whole lot of new development. However, the baby is growing and maturing and preparing for life outside the womb. Baby sleeps most of the time now and has periods of REM sleep. Baby is becoming increasingly cramped for space, but she is still very active. The baby is approximately 13 inches long and weighs around 5-6 pounds at the end of this month.

Month 9: In the 9th month, which actually extends a little further than 9 calendar months, the baby is preparing for birth. She will spend a lot of time resting, but she should still have plenty of active periods. She should be facing head down in preparation for birth. Babies weight and length vary considerably at birth, but a typical range would be between 7-8 pounds and 19-21 inches in length

<For more great information, check out these links:

www.pregnancy.org
www.bellaonline.com