Fetus Development Through the Trimesters

Once pregnancy is confirmed, many women want to following the baby's development through the days and weeks leading up to birth. One effective way to do this is through the use of a pregnancy calendar which not only tells you when the baby will be born, based upon ovulation dates, but gives you a pictorial and written description of the growth of the fetus throughout the stages of pregnancy.

The First Stage - Embryonic Development

The first stage of baby development is called the embryo development stage, known also as the first trimester. It is during this stage that your baby does some incredible developing with the most profound physiologic changes happening during these beginning days. Thanks to modern science and the efforts of such places as the National Institutes of Health, Carnegie Collection of Embryos, we are now able to see and understand embryo development in the very early stages of pregnancy. Much of the physical evidence was secured through the collection of embryonic specimens collected as a result of abortion - spontaneous and planned.

The first nine weeks of pregnancy, considered the bulk of the first trimester which ends at week 13, sees the embryo developed to the place of having all the essential internal organs present, although unable to sustain life. The heart tube begins forming within a couple of weeks of conception. Within 30 days post-ovulation, the brain and spinal cord take up most of the tissue of the embryo and the neural tubes are closing - the eyes and ears are forming. Think of it - only a month past ovulation.

Moving Into the Second Trimester - Baby Can See, Swallow, and Make Faces

The second trimester, which begins at about week 14 is when the new life changes names from embryo to fetus. Fetal development in the second trimester is astounding. By week 14 the baby is able to make facial expressions and the arms lengthen into proportion with the body. You can follow the growth of the fetus by using an internet fetal development site or by getting a good book on fetal growth. Fetus development images give you an excellent perception and concept of just how quickly your baby is forming and changing. You also gain an appreciation for how important it is for you to care properly for yourself and your developing baby. By week 20 the baby is about the length of a banana and weighs about 10 ounces. Baby can swallow and is developing the digestive system. Meconium, a by-product of digestion will accumulate in the bowels and will constitute the first soiled diaper after birth.

Finishing Touches to a Perfect Picture

Fetal development in the third trimester, which begins at week 28 of the gestational period, is like putting some of the final touches on an exquisite painting. With only 12 weeks to go, baby weighs just over two pounds and is about 14 inches long. Eyesight is developing, eyelashes are growing and the baby can blink. By week 34 fat layers are developing to keep baby warm and the central nervous system and lungs are continuing to mature. Generally, a baby born during the period of 34 to 37 weeks with no other health problems, does quite well. A stay in the neonatal nursery to deal with anything short term may be necessary, but otherwise, they usually flourish. Gestation ends around week 40, and from that point forward, life with never be the same.

As you observe the changes in your own body over the months of pregnancy, it is now possible to observe what is happening inside as well. It's a fascinating journey and one that you will never forget. Travel together with your baby through the experience of pregnancy, there's no trip like it. Check out fetal development on the internet to get pictures and information on the various stages of pregnancy and the growth and development of the baby you have conceived.

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