Watch Your Unborn Baby Grow and Develop

Whatever stage of pregnancy you are at right now, I'm sure you're eager to know how your baby is growing inside your tummy on a weekly basis.

Here are some important facts on the week by week development of your most awaited baby girl or baby boy.

Weekly development of your baby

At 8 weeks

By the eighth week of pregnancy, the baby's arms and legs, fingers and toes are getting to be visible. The ear, nose and mouth openings are now present and prominent.

The eyes have formed but are still covered by the eyelids.They do not open until about the baby is 24 weeks old.

The heart is one of the first organs to form very early in the development stage, and by six weeks, the heartbeats become active and visible.

Also by the eighth week, the blood vessels which carry blood between the embryo and the developing placenta are coming together at the site of the future navel to form the main umbilical cord.

The developing heart pumps blood through the umbilical arteries to the placenta where oxygen and nutrients are picked up by the baby from the maternal circulation.

Thereafter the blood returns and nourishes the embryo through the umbilical vein. At this stage, the baby’s size is approximately 2.5 cm (1 in) long and its weight is about 2g (0.070 oz).

By this time, you have also become aware about what foods to eat and what to avoid taking into consideration the health and safety of that precious one inside your tummy. Your immune system has undergone changes making both you and your baby susceptible to diseases caused by eating certain foods.

A study published in the Journal of American Diabetes Care reported that abnormalities that occur in babies with mothers who are diabetic usually appear by the seventh week of pregnancy. This means that any treatment to prevent the incidence of these abnormalities should be administered during these important time.

At 12 Weeks

The embryo has matured and is now appropriately called the fetus, a Latin word which means "young one". It is much more like a full term baby although the head is still disproportionately large. Movement of the limbs are more coordinated and the baby now gets to swallow of the amniotic fluid. As if to compensate for fluid intake, the fetus passes a small amount of urine back into the amniotic sac.

The fetal heart is now beating strongly and although it cannot be heard by an ordinary stethoscope yet, it can now be heard using an ultrasound. At this time the external genitals have appeared, making the sex of the baby obvious.

This is the reason why ultrasound examination to determine the baby's gender is usually done on the 3rd month of pregnancy. The fingers and toes are fully formed by this time as well.

At 20 Weeks

By this time, the fetus has grown considerably and the details of the human form has appeared at this stage. It is now covered by a fine hair called lanugo and some coarse hair has started to appear on the head and eyebrows.

The eyes remain covered by the eyelids and are still firmly closed. The fetus moves about freely in the amniotic sac and by this stage the mother is usually aware of the movements. The baby’s length has now extended to some 61/2 inches (16cm) and weights about 300 gms. (10.58 oz).

At 28 Weeks

The fetus has developed into the stage where it can survive if it is born at this time. A fetus born before 28 weeks is classified as abortion or miscarriage. After 28 weeks it is classified as a baby. Survival after a premature birth at this time is by no means guaranteed although many babies do survive nowadays.

Occasionally babies born before 28 weeks also survive but this is unusual. In appearance the fetus is still very much wrinkled and red but the skin is now covered by a white soapy substance to as vernix to prevent the skin from becoming waterlogged.

The baby’s head and limbs can easily be felt through the mother’s abdominal walls at this time and the fetal heart can now be heard with an ordinary stethoscope. The baby is now 91/2 inches (24cm) long weights 2 lbs and 5

At 36 Weeks

The birth of the baby is approaching. It has become bigger and the earlier wrinkled appearance has disappeared. The vernix (a cheesy substance that covers the baby’s body) is still present but is less prominent and the soft lanugo or body hair is starting to disappear. Space is more confined so the baby has less room to move about.

The head now occupies its correct position in the lower part of the uterus so that in labor the crown of the baby’s head will appear in the vagina first. The baby now measures approximately 12 1/2 inches long (31cm) and weights 5 lbs. and 4 oz. (2.4 kg.)

At 40 Weeks

Everything is now ready for labor to start. The baby’s head has now moved further down into the lower part of the uterus. In many cases it has passed through the entry into the bony pelvis and is said to be engaged. Because it has descended the mother notices less pressure in the upper part of her abdomen, a phenomenon is called lightening.

The pressure of pregnancy is now transferred to the bladder so frequent trips to the lavatory may have to be made. The fetus now looks like a normal baby. Its features are now well-formed, open eyes and a heartbeat which can be easily heard with a stethoscope. Fetal movements are more vigorous.

There are more interesting information about pregnancy in my other hubs:

Folic Acid Protects Pregnant Moms And Unborn Babies From Birth Defects

Folic Acid is a B Vitamin that is naturally produced in the body. It protects both the mother and the unborn baby when taken by the mother before and during pregnancy.

Fertilization - When Does Conception Begin?

Even before undergoing a pregnancy test and getting a positive result, the fertilized egg has already started the process of development. Within the first five days of fertilization, the egg will have moved down the fallopian tubes into the uterus to begin its 9-month journey


© 2012 WAHmom

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