The Joy of Motherhood

Watching the Growth of Life

The miracle of PREGNANCY on the average takes nine months although it might take longer or shorter. Watching a child grow from the moment of conception is an amazing thing especially for those that are not immediately involved as they are spared of the morning sickness and other challenges that comes with pregnancy. To the mother's the pain is usually worth it after a successful birth.

Fetal development

Conception

Conception is the process of becoming pregnant. Most women ovulate each month, this is when an egg is released by the ovaries. For women with a 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation typically occurs on day 14.
During intercourse the man will ejaculate and sperm will be passed from the testicles via the penis into the woman's vagina. If a sperm meets the egg, fertilisation may occur. There are anywhere between 60 million and 500 million sperm that have a go at the 'big race'. They cross the collar of the uterus pretty much within ten minutes. Only about 100 to 200 of the 'chosen ones' will arrive at the most strategic place. The egg can be fertilized within approximately 24 hours from when it leaves the follicle. Once one sperm is successful and penetrates the egg it will lose its tail and its head will increase in size. This entrance creates an 'activation' in the egg and it too begins to enlarge.

If the egg has been fertilised (the process of the sperm fusing with the egg) it will move to the uterus and attach itself to the uterine lining, a process called implantation. The cells which are called zygote will begin to divide which will lead to the development of an embryo and hopefully produce a baby in nine months. A simple game of genetics will determine the sex of your baby. Every man and woman constitutes 22 pairs of chromosomes plus one pair that is the difference between them; these are the sexual chromosomes X and Y. Men have the chromosomes pairing of XY and women have the pairing of XX.

  • Both the egg and the sperm have 23 chromosomes

  • The egg is always the carrier of the X chromosome

  • The sperm can carry either an X or a Y chromosome

This means that it is the male that determines the sex of the baby.

One Month

Your baby is an embryo consisting of two layers of cells from which all her organs and body parts will develop. It’s about the size of an apple pip. The next five weeks are especially critical to your baby's development. The rudimentary placenta and umbilical cord, which deliver nourishment and oxygen to the baby, are already functioning.

Two Months

Your baby is now about the size of a kidney bean and is constantly moving. He has distinct, slightly webbed fingers. The tiny tail is disappearing and so many changes have taken. Your baby has changed from an embryo and is now officially a fetus. This is the critical stage when your baby's organs are forming.

The arms have grown and the hands are now flexed at the wrists and meet over the heart. The legs are lengthening and the feet may be long enough to meet in front of the body. It's still almost impossible to tell whether you're going to have a boy or a girl - although reading old wives' tales for predicting gender can be fun.

Three Months

This is the end of the first trimester and by now your baby is around 7 to 8 centimetres (3 inches) long and weighs about the same as half a banana. Her tiny, unique fingerprints are now in place.

Four Months

At the beginning of the second trimester your baby is about 13 centimetres (5.5 inches) long and weighs 140 grams (5 ounces), this is about the size of a pear. His skeleton is starting to harden from rubbery cartilage to bone. Some of the more advanced body systems are working now, including his circulation and urinary tract. Your baby may be playing with the umbilical cord too.

Five Months

Eyebrows and eyelids are now in place. Your baby would now be more than 27 centimetres (10.5 inches) long if you stretched out her legs. Your baby's putting on weight now and has turned into a slippery little thing - a greasy white substance called vernix caseosa coats the entire body to protect the skin during its long submersion in amniotic fluid. Some babies are still covered with this whitish goo when they're born.

Six Months

Your baby weighs about a 660 grams (1.5 pounds). His wrinkled skin is starting to smooth out as he puts on baby fat. His skin is thin and fragile but his body is filling out and taking up more room in your uterus. He may also be developing a weakness for sweets. Taste buds are now forming, and, believe it or not, acquiring a sweet tooth is all part of it. The other big milestone your baby reaches at this stage of pregnancy is that she may now survive, with special care, if she is born prematurely - otherwise known as becoming "viable".

Seven Months

By now, your baby is more than 40 centimetres (15 inches) long. She can open and close her eyes and probably see what's around her. Your baby can now open his eyes and will turn his head towards the source of any continuous bright light. His fingernails are budding, and fat layers are beginning to form as he gets ready for life outside the womb. If you like the thought of interacting with your baby while he's still in the womb, then singing and reading to your baby is a good way to do it - but don't worry if you feel uncomfortable.

Eight Months

Your baby now weighs around 2.2 kilos (4.7 pounds). His layers of fat are filling him out, making him rounder, and his lungs are well developed. If your baby's a boy, his testicles have probably moved into his scrotum. Sometimes, one or both testicles don't get into position until after birth but don't worry. Undescended testicles often correct themselves before the first birthday.

Nine Months

Your baby is almost due. At birth, the average baby is more than 51 centimetres (20.5 inches) long from head to toe and weighs approximately 3.4 kilograms (7.5 pounds), but babies vary widely in size at this stage. The big day is almost here and it won't be long before you're able to cuddle your baby. But don't worry if by the end of this week you're still waiting - only 5 per cent of babies are born on their expected due date and a whopping 75 per cent are born later.

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Comments 4 comments

toyin 7 years ago

hey, can't wait to have one


Chris Eddy111 profile image

Chris Eddy111 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

It's a beautiful experience combined with lots of emotional highs and lows.


fiksy02 profile image

fiksy02 6 years ago from London Author

Thanks Chris.


Ayoku 5 years ago

Can't wait 2 start avin babies

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