I can not think of a more exciting and possibly stressful time in a woman’s life then when she is pregnant, especially for the first time. Anxiety over getting enough sleep and making sure you are eating a proper diet to take care of the tiny little being growing inside of you. I am sure you are curious about how the baby is doing, where it is at development wise, when is gender determined and the list of questions go on and on. This is an exciting time! So let’s take a look at our growing baby through the nine months, see where you are and what you have to look forward to.
In the first month, most women do not even realize that they are pregnant. It is now that the egg is fertilized and conception occurs. You may find it funny to know that your uterus will increase 1000 times its current capacity. Once the egg is fertilized gender is determined immediately. It is important to note that it is not the woman that determines gender, it is the sperm from the man that determines gender. Implantation usually takes place 10-14 days after conception. This can cause some spot bleeding and can make some women think they are starting their period. This spot bleeding is usually light and only last a day or so.
The first month also is when the foundation for the nervous system is developing. The brain, spinal cord, hair and skin are already there. The heart and circulatory system is rapidly forming as well. Though the heart and circulatory are only in their very primitive they are the foundation for the life support system that will support your child for the rest of their life.
Starting the second month, the embryo is about 1/5 of an inch long. The very first heartbeats begin. If you were to have an ultrasound right now, you probably won’t even recognize the little being as a baby. While you can’t hear the little heartbeats, you can see them on the screen during your ultrasound. The wonderful rhythmic beat of the baby’s heart echoes with your own heart beat.
In the second month, the umbilical cord also develops and this is baby’s lifeline while in utero. The blood is pumping now and all four heart chambers are working and making sure that the baby’s body is getting what it needs. The other organs in the body begin to develop now as well. Arm and leg buds appear.
Once you get to ten weeks, the embryo is a whole inch long. The facial features, limbs and hands and feet as well as fingers and toes are noticeable. The nervous system is now responsive.
Looking into your second trimester the fetus is over 3 inches and weighs about an ounce. Muscles and sex organs begin to form. The eyelids, fingernails and toenails form and you will see some spontaneous movements. At week 18, your fetus is 5 inches long and can act like a “baby.” The baby blinks, grasps and can move his or her mouth. Now hair is growing on the head and body of the baby. The fetus is able to suck, swallow and make irregular breathing sounds.
During the second trimester, the fetus can also feel pain. The skin is rather transparent and the muscles begin to lengthen and the bones get harder. The liver and other organs are now producing appropriate fluids. The eyebrows and eyelashes are appearing and the fetus is making more active movements. By the 22nd week the fetus weighs almost a ½ pound and is about 10 inches from head to toe. The sweat glands have developed and the skin is now more opaque then transparent.
The third trimester is probably the most exciting time as the arrival of your new baby is fast approaching. By week 26, your baby can inhale and exhale and even cry. The eyes are formed completely and the taste buds have developed on the tongue. If the baby was to be born now, if the baby received intensive medical care, it would have a 50% chance of survival.
The fetus is perfectly able to survive outside of the womb at week 30. If born now, the baby would be considered premature. The baby is ready to live outside the womb at 40 weeks. This the end of the normal gestational period. When your baby is born, it is born with a waxy protective substance all over the baby called Vernix. This vernix will absorb quickly once the baby is outside of the womb.
This is the progress of your baby from conception to birth. This is an exciting time, take care of yourself and your baby.
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