Hear The Heartbeat
The baby's heartbeat begins early in the
pregnancy. You can download the heartbeat by
The age of an unborn child (gestational
age) is measured in two different ways. Embryologists (doctors and
scientists who study the early stages of pregnancy) measure the age
of an unborn child from the estimated day of conception (the time
when you actually become pregnant). On the other hand, practicing
doctors measure an unborn child's age from the first day of your
last normal menstrual period, which usually occurs two weeks before
conception. The development of the unborn child is described below
from the day of conception also called fertilization. Stages of
development and time periods are approximate and drawn from several
Scientists and doctors sometimes use other
terms to refer to the unborn child as it develops before birth.
Therefore, in the early stages of development (up to 8 weeks
generally) the unborn child may be referred to as an embryo, and in
the later stages, the unborn child may be called a fetus.
For additional information on fetal development and abortion,
please review this document published by the Pennsylvania Department
Click Here to View Document
Day 1 Fertilization (24 hours)
Sperm joins with the egg, or ovum,
to form one cell smaller than a grain of salt. Twenty-three
chromosomes from each parent join to form every detail of human
development: sex, hair, eye color, height, skin tone, personality,
emotional make-up and other inherited characteristics. Everything is
in place so that if development continues normally, a baby will be
born in 38 weeks.
The fertilized egg is rapidly dividing as
it travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus where for the
last two weeks, the lining has been preparing for it. It becomes a
cluster of tiny human cells.
The fertilized egg begins to implant in the
lining of the uterus where it will draw nourishment, which enables
the baby to grow. It takes until about day 14 to fully
implant. The tiny human being has approximately 500 cells. Some cells split off to
become the placenta which will provide nourishment for the unborn
The unborn child at day 14 is 1/25 of an
inch or the size of a period at the end of a sentence. The early beginnings of organ
systems are forming
as cells are dividing that will later become a brain, spinal cord, heart,
kidneys and other organs.
Placental chemicals and hormones will
prevent the mother from menstruating. The unborn child is now about
1/17th of an inch. The heart and circulatory system are developing
and will be the first organ system to function.
The cluster of heart cells about the size
of a poppy seed begins to beat.
The backbone and muscles are forming.
Buds that will become arms and legs are appearing. Eyes and ears
are beginning to develop. The stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, thyroid gland and lungs are
form though not yet working.
The heart is pumping increasing
quantities of blood through the circulatory system.
head becomes larger. An umbilical cord appears. Tiny
nostrils and ear indentations can be seen. Baby is about 1/3
inches or the size of a pencil eraser.
Webbed fingers can be seen in the hand. The
eyes darken as pigment is produced. The unborn child is now
approximately the size of a kidney bean or just over 1/2 inch. The
beating heart may be detected on an ultrasound. Early brain
waves can be recorded. The body may respond to touch or twitch
liver is now taking over the production of blood cells. The heart when fully
developed can beat at 150 beats per minute.
Photo at 6.5 weeks
The uterus can be about the size of a
tennis ball. The unborn child now about one inch long may begin making
purposeful movements by the
end of the week. The jaw forms, including teeth buds in the gums.
The eyelids seal to protect the child's developing light-sensitive
eyes. Some pain receptors appear around the mouth and will
spread over the entire body by 20 weeks.
Now a little more than an inch long, the
unborn child has all major organs and body systems. The brain
is making 250,000 new neurons every minute this week. The
embryo has distinct human characteristics. Forty muscle
sets operate in conjunction with the nervous system and the baby might respond to touching
its mouth by bending its head away. Bones begin
to form. Fingers, toes, elbows and shoulders can be seen. The tiny
tongue has taste buds. The placenta takes over the job of nourishing
The unborn child is now called a fetus. The child
can now weigh
over 1/4 ounce and be 2 inches long. Fingernails and hair are
Genitals have begun to form. The kidneys begin to make urine between
9 and 12 weeks.
The baby is nearly 3 inches
long crown of head to rump and can weigh 4/5 of an ounce. Fingers and
toe nails appear. Baby may make a tight fist if palm is
The unborn child is now almost
3.5 inches long crown to rump. Chest muscles move as in breathing
and can be seen on ultrasound. The sucking reflex can occur
and thumb-sucking has been photographed. Face, arms
and legs are sensitive to touch. The nervous system is
making 2.5 million new neurons per minute.
The unborn child can now exercise,
cover its face, turn its head, bend elbows, curl its toes, form a
fist, open and close
its mouth, squint and frown. Taste buds continue developing. Heart beats at
157 times per minute. Baby can make bouncing and stepping moves inside the
womb. The weight can be 1.5 ounces and length 3.5 inches crown to
Eyebrows have begun. The
sex of the baby might be apparent. Eyes and ears can look like a
It's easy to tell if it's a boy or a girl as sexual
differentiation can be seen. Baby is now between 4 and 5
inches long crown to rump and weighs approximately 4 ounces. Baby can hiccup
and facial muscles are better able to do a variety of expressions.
Fat will build up under the skin to give
nourishment and warmth after birth. Fine hair has begun to grow on
The unborn child is about 5.5 inches
in length crown to rump and weighs a half pound or more. The mother will probably
begin to show now. The ears are functioning and can hear the
mother's voice and heartbeat as well as loud external noises. The
umbilical cord transports 300 quarts of fluids per day and completes
a round trip of fluids every 30 seconds. The tiny hands begin
to grasp and baby is learning to swallow.
Fine lanugo hair is growing and helps keep baby warm. The unborn
child is growing a waxy coating called vernix, which coats and
protects the skin, making delivery easier.
The unborn child weighs about 12 ounces an
is over 6 inches long crown to rump. The mother may feel small movements.
Some babies can open their eyes.
The unborn child is about 7.5 to 8 inches
long crown to rump and weighs about 1 pound. The mother is feeling stronger
movement. Baby can grimace or smile. Pain receptors are found
throughout the body. Nerve endings and brain can process sensations
of touch. Anesthesia may be recommended for any fetal surgeries. The child can touch its face and other body parts. Females
will have a lifetime supply of eggs in their ovaries.
Baby can breath in and out the amniotic
fluid that surrounds it. Fat is being added to the body
causing it to look more like a baby.
The Hand of Hope
Photo (21 Weeks)
famous photo was taken by Michael Clancy in 1999 during a spina
bifida corrective surgical procedure performed on a twenty-one week
old fetus in utero at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The baby
reached out and grabbed the doctor's finger.
Copyright © 2001 Michael Clancy
Baby can weigh 1.5 pounds and is about 8.25
inches long crown to rump. Sleep and
wake cycles will appear. Baby may react to loud and startling noises.
The mother may feel more movement
because the unborn child may start hiccupping or be moving more inside the
Baby can weigh 1.5 to 2 pounds and is about
9 inches long crown to rump. Oil and
sweat glands are functioning. All organs are in place. Baby
can stick out the tongue and open and shut eyes. Finger nails,
eyebrows and lashes are clearly present.
The unborn child could be born in this
month and survive with the proper care.
sensing vibrations. Baby can suck a thumb.
The unborn child is about 10 inches long
crown to rump, weighs between 2 and 3
pounds, and can double or triple in weight between now and birth.
Eyes can open and close. Baby sleeps 20-30 minutes at a time.
Bones are fully developed. Lungs are
capable of breathing air. The mother may feel jabs from the
baby moving about in the womb.
The child's hair and eyelashes are visible.
The unborn child now uses the senses of vision, hearing, taste and
touch. He can recognize his mother's voice among other voices.
The baby is nearly 3 lbs and 10.5 inches crown to rump.
Many babies have inverted to a head down
position in the uterus now. The mother will probably begin to feel
powerful kicks under her rib cage and the ball of the baby's head on
the pelvic floor. Now measuring about 11 inches crown to rump, the unborn child
weighs about 4 pounds. The baby can see light through the walls of
the womb and may blink as a response to it.
The white skin coating (vernix) begins to thicken with a layer of
fat stored underneath for insulation and nourishment. Antibodies
increase, and the unborn child absorbs about a gallon of amniotic
fluid per day. The mother's body completely replaces amniotic fluid
every 3 hours.
If played near womb, fast music can excite
while soft music can calm a baby.
The baby's toenails have reached the tips
of his toes. The umbilical cord is about 20 inches long and can be
22 inches at birth. The unborn child may be up to 12.5 inches crown
and can weigh 5.5 pounds.
Baby's hand has a firm grasp. The baby's head will dip or drop into the
pelvis, alleviating the woman's difficulty in breathing that was due
to the high position of it previously. The uterus
will begin small contractions called Braxton-Hicks.
The heart is pumping 300 gallons of blood per day.
Weight can be 6.5 pounds and length13.5 inches crown to rump. He is fully
capable of life outside the womb with minimal intervention. The
baby's downy hair and vernix is absorbed into the amniotic fluid and
swallowed by the baby. This will produce the baby's first bowel
movement after birth.
Week 38 The child's
average weight is about 6-8 pounds. Now measuring 19-20 inches crown
to heel, the baby's heartbeat can be heard outside
the womb. The baby is ready at any moment to come into the world.