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Fetal Development Week by Week
Posted By:jasmin On 6/29/2008


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Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 1

By : Angie Younce

Your first week of pregnancy is actually begins the first day of your last period.  At this point, you are not pregnant, but this is when the counting begins!  What this means is that at conception, your fetus is already considered 2 weeks old.


While you are trying to get pregnant you should take very good care of your body.  Most experts suggest you increase your folic acid intake to about 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) every day.  You should begin this increase at least one month before conception and for three months after conception.  This important vitamin is vital in the development of the fetus, helping to prevent neural tube and other birth defects.  Additionally, you may want to avoid caffeine, keep a healthy, balanced diet and try to get some moderate exercise.

To figure your due date you should count 40 weeks (or 280 days).  You can count back from the first day of your last period by three months and add 7 days.  So, if you last period started on June 12th your due date would be March 19th.


In just 40 short weeks you’re child will have grown from a single cell into a wonderful, fully formed infant!  Good luck on your journey.



Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 2

By : Angie Younce

At the beginning of week 2 the egg implants into the uterine wall.  Even though you are just becoming pregnant by fertilization you are considered two weeks pregnant at this time.


Typically the egg will implant into the upper portion of the uterus.  The placenta will begin to form and prepare to provide blood and nutrients to the baby during the pregnancy.  The embryo is getting ready to begin splitting apart and become separate parts of the anatomy.  By this point the sex of your baby has already been determined and other defining characteristics such as eye and hair color.


Etopic pregnancies can occur at this time.  Often an etopic pregnancy will go unnoticed for several weeks, up to 16 weeks, at times.  If it is caught early enough it can be handled without invasive surgery.


Although you won’t know for several weeks, fraternal or identical twins would begin at this point.  Fraternal twins (or other multiples) result from more than one fertilized egg implanting.  Identical twins result from a single egg splitting into two identical parts and starting to grow separately.  


An amazing process has begun and soon, you will find out you are pregnant!




Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 3

By : Angie Younce

You still may not know you are pregnant by week three, but your baby is developing in leaps and bounds. 


During the last week the eggs has divided hundreds of times and become a hollow, fluid filled blastocyst.  The blastocyst is barely visible to the naked eye.  Between days 4 and 7 the blastocyst will implant itself into the endometrium which will eventually become the placenta. You may have a small bit of spotting when the blastocyst implants itself.  You might think you’re period is starting, but this spotting is usually a very small amount and only lasts a day or two. 


By the end of this week your egg has become an embryo and would be visible to the naked eye, being about the size of the head of a pin.  While this embryo doesn’t look anything like a fetus or a baby at this point, the brain, backbone, and the cardio-vascular system – complete with a beating heart are beginning to form!  If looked at very closely you would



Fetal Development Week By Week � Week 4

By : Angie Younce

Your fetus is about the size of an apple seed at this time.  You may begin to have signs that you are pregnant at this time, as by the end of week 4 you will have missed your period.  Other signs that you are pregnant include:


-  Nausea and vomiting
-  Breast tenderness and darkening of the areolas
-  Excessive salivation
-  The need to urinate more frequently
-  Skin changes, including breakouts
-  High basal temperature, a temp over the coverline for 18 days in a row
-  Fatigue
-  A missed period


At this point your embryo has three main brain sections: the forebrain, middle brain and hindbrain.  Parts of the eye, including the pigment and optical stalk are visible.  The beginning of a mouth with tongue is distinguishable and the thyroid and lymphatic system is forming.  Lung buds are forming and the heart is quite large, with circulation well established.  The first thin layer of skin is formed and buds that will become arms and legs are becoming visible.


At this point you may take a home pregnancy test.  Be sure and read the directions carefully and contact your healthcare provider with the results.  If you haven’t already researched OB/GYNs in your area, this is the time to do this.  Prenatal care is imperative to the development of a health baby.




Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 5

By : Angie Younce

At this point the embryo begins to have a defining shape.  The placenta and umbilical cord are providing nourishment to the baby.  The first system to form, the circulatory system is now functioning with all four chambers of the heart present.  An ultrasound would show the first signs of a beating heart.


It’s easily possible to tell the difference between the head and tail at this point.  Depressions in the face that will become facial features are forming.  The eyes, ears, mouth and nose will become more pronounced and the small fold beneath will become the neck and lower jaw.  The arms and legs are becoming more formed and can be distinguished.  Fingers begin to grow.  A footplate begins to grow on the bottom of the legs. 


Your pregnancy may be affecting your emotions at this point.  Hormone increases may have you feeling a little out of whack.  This is normal and may be a first sign for some that they are pregnant.  Additionally, you may find yourself very tired during this time.  If you’ve seen your doctor, you’ve probably had a pelvic exam and possibly an ultrasound.



Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 6

By : Angie Younce

During this week your baby will undergo a growth spurt and is about ¼ inch long.  The embryo looks a bit like a tadpole.  The first movements will take place halfway through this week, although you will not be able to feel the movement until sometime in your second trimester.  The amniotic sac has completely formed and the baby is moving around inside this sac.


Nostrils are beginning to form and the neural tube that connects the brain and spinal cord will close this week.  The skeleton is formed.  The appendix is in place and intestines are developing.  At this point, brain hemispheres have formed and brain waves can be recorded. The heart has four separate chambers and the heartbeat will soon become more regular.

A cluster of cells that will become the reproductive organs has formed and, if you are having a son, a penis will form.  Mammary glands begin to mature and the pituitary, which controls the growth hormones for other organs, begins to form.


You’ve been pregnant for a month now and you may start to notice your body changing.  Your clothing might feel a little tight.  If this is your first pregnancy, this may not happen until later.  You might be very sensitive to the smell of food and other certain things.  Avoiding these smells can help you overcome morning sickness, if this has been a problem.

This is a critical time in your baby’s development!  Make sure you are making healthy diet choices and avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.  Check with your health practitioner about what over-the-counter medications are safe for you to take during pregnancy.



Fetal Development Week by Week� Week 7

By : Angie Younce

The embryo is about the size of a small bean – about ½ an inch long this week.  If you could reach the baby and try to tickle its little nose it would jump and respond to your touch now! 


The head is very oversized and all of the facial features are becoming more defined.  The eyes are formed and sealed shut until the 28th week of pregnancy.  Eyelids are beginning to form.  Ear indentations and the semicircular canals begin to form in the inner ear to help with balance.  The brain is close to completion at this point and is growing at an amazing rate.


The buds that will become the arms and legs are very noticeable now.  Hands and feet look like paddles. 

This is the point where the critical development of the arms ends, but the hands will continue to develop over the next few days, although they have indentations where the fingers will separate now.  The critical development of the legs will end soon, but the knees and ankles can be distinguished by small dots on the legs and the toes are notched and toenails are beginning to appear.


You can’t tell the difference from boys and girls yet by sight, but the gonads are formed.  The gonads are either the testes in the male, or the ovaries in the female.  These will be responsible for producing sperm and ova, but also secrete hormones and are considered endocrine glands.


The heart is beating at around 150 beats per minute, about twice your heart rate, and will continue to do so throughout your pregnancy.  The kidneys produce urine for the first time.  Your baby will rapidly go through three sets of kidneys, the second set will form this week.  When bone marrow forms later, it will take over the production of red blood cells, but for now the liver is working over time to produce these.




Fetal Development Week by Week� Week 8

By : Angie Younce

This week your baby is no longer considered an embryo, but a fetus.  The fetus is now the size of a grape and has doubled in size in the last two weeks.  The body parts that have formed up until this point will now begin to become more specialized.  This is a very busy developmental period that will last until about 20 weeks. 


Right now the fetus is developing teeth and it’s palate.  The ears continue to develop, although right now they are located low on the head, and will move up as the head grows.  Skin is paper-thin and veins are clearly visible.  Fingers and toes are forming now and the arms can flex at the wrists and elbows.  The bones for arms and legs begin to harden and joints are forming. 


The head has grown quite quickly and is still quite large in comparison to the rest of the body.  The hindbrain, which is responsible for breathing, heart regulation and muscle movements, is beginning to develop now.


The critical period in heart development ends now.  The heart will continue to develop, but at a much slower pace.  Blood has begun to flow through a basic circulatory system.  The tubes from the throat to the lungs are now formed.


The intestines are beginning to develop within the umbilical cord.  When the body is large enough, they will move into the proper area.  Your fetus still has a tail, but it is smaller than in the past, and its entire body is straightening out. 




Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 9

By : Angie Younce

Your uterus has now grown to about the size of a grapefruit to accommodate your baby, which is about one inch long and weighs 4 grams.  Now it may be time to make some changes in your wardrobe, as your favorite jeans may be a bit tight at this point.

The tail disappears this week and all the baby’s organs, muscles and nerves are beginning to function.  Eyelids are starting to cover the eyes.  The baby is beginning to look more and more like a human at this point.  They can make a tiny fist, and suck their thumb already!  They can make all sorts of facial movements, including frowning, swallowing motions and moving the tongue around. 


The placenta is nourishing the baby now.  Chorionic villi are a tissue that is part of the placenta.  Since these cells are made of the same material as the baby, it can give very important information about the baby.  CVS testing  is typically done between weeks ten and twelve and will screen for birth defects and other abnormalities.  CVS (or chorionic villus sampling) is typically done for woman over 35, or if you have a family history or genetic illness.  This test has some risks, so be sure and talk with your health practitioner if you are considering this procedure.




Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 10

By : Angie Younce

Your baby is now about 1 ½ inches long and weighs about 5 grams, it resembles the shape and size of a peapod.  Hormones may be raging for you at this point, and you may feel sad and tearful one moment and happy the next.  This emotional roller coaster is normal and it will even out some over the next few weeks.


Even though it is very difficult to discern the sex of your baby by ultrasound at this point, the genitals are forming.  Your baby’s brain is forming 250,000 neurons every minute.  Brain development is very rapid at this time. 


The head is upright and your baby can turn their head, open their mouth, smile and practice breathing.  The outer ear is completely formed and the inner ear is nearly complete.  The intestines begin moving from the umbilical cord to the abdomen and all the vital organs are formed and starting to work together.  The lungs are continuing to develop.


The arms and legs are well formed and fingers and toes are not webbed any longer.  All of your baby’s joints are formed, so they can bend their fingers and make a fist.  The can kick and curl up their toes.


If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to make a decision about CVS testing. 




Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 11

By : Angie Younce

Your baby is about the size of a lipstick tube at this point; weighing in at about 9 grams and measuring around 2 inches long.  With a dopler, a handheld sound wave stethoscope, you should be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat at this point.  All of the critical development is done at this point, now all that needs to happen is for your baby to grow.


Right now, your baby’s head is about half of it’s length..  The forehead bulges and sits very high on the head.  On an ultrasound you would be able to see the clear outline of the spine.  Spinal nerves are stretching out from the spinal cord.


The reproductive organs develop very rapidly this week.  The external genitals are developing into either a penis or a clitoris and labia majora.  By the end of the week these external genitals are recognizable and it should be easier to see if parents are having a boy or a girl.

All of the vital organs are functioning by the end of the week. Kidneys are producing urine and the pancreas is producing insulin.  At this point, only growing and becoming more efficient is left to do.




Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 12

By : Angie Younce

This week your baby weighs about ½ an ounce and is about 3 inches long.  If you could see your baby, you’d see quite an active little one – twisting, turning and kicking.  The baby is completely engulfed in amniotic fluid at this point.  This fluid is about 1.5 ounces in volume.


The growth of the baby’s head slows down considerably by the end of this week.  The brain has the same structure it will have at birth, although it will be quite larger.  Hair is beginning to grow on the baby’s head now and teeth are forming as well as taste buds and vocal cords.


The intestines are beginning to contract as if they were digesting food and are moving from the umbilical cord into the body cavity.  A large portion of the amniotic fluid will be the baby’s urine from this point on as the kidneys begin to excrete urine. 


If this is your first pregnancy, you probably aren’t showing yet, although your clothing and bra is probably feeling very snug.  If this is not your first pregnancy your abdominal muscles are not as strong and you may be starting to show.  You might want to invest in some looser clothing, although you may not be quite ready for maternity clothes just yet.



Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 13

By : Angie Younce

As you near the end of the first trimester, your baby is almost 3 inches long and weighs about ½ an ounce.  At this point you are probably ready for looser fitting clothing, soon you won’t fit into your regular clothes at all.


The baby’s face is looking more and more human.  The eyes have moved closer together and the ears are near their normal position on the side of the head.  The head now rests on it’s neck as opposed to the shoulders and is still roughly half the entire length of the body.

Right now, your baby’s heart is pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day.  At birth about 300 quarts of blood per day are pumped.  The liver is making bile and is supervising the activity of the fully working spleen.  The spleen removes old red blood cells and produces antibodies.  Your baby is able to absorb sugar, or glucose, at this point..


A girl will have about 2 million eggs inside her ovaries at this time, although by birth this number will drop down to about 1 million, and when she older – around 17, she’ll have a mere 200,000 eggs. 


The fetus is rapidly acquiring reflexes they will respond to touching the palms by closing their fingers, or curling their toes if you tickled their feet.  Sweat glands are beginning to emerge and veins remain very visible, since the skin is still very thin.


Your health practitioner can feel the top of your uterus, or fundus, when they push on your abdomen.  You haven’t reached the advanced stages of pregnancy yet, so you are probably still pretty comfortable and many of the early pregnancy symptoms (such as morning sickness) should begin to diminish at this point.  At this point in your pregnancy the risk of miscarriage greatly decreases.



Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 14

By : Angie Younce

As you begin your second trimester your little weighs in at a little over an ounce and at 3 ½ inches – about half of a banana.  Impressive as the growth ha s been in the last few weeks, in the next four weeks your baby will grow to nearly a pound in weight!  The body will finally start to catch up with the head and be more proportionate. 


If you poke at your abdomen and the baby feels it, it will begin to root around as if looking to suckle.  Their little face starts to resemble Mom and Dad as they continue to develop more normal looking facial features.  Baby can hear sounds now and are able to feel pain.  They have hair and eyebrows beginning to grow, as well as Lanugo – the fine hairs that cover the baby’s body and protect the skin.  The baby now has unique fingerprints.


Inhaling and exhaling movements have begun and the torso is growing very quickly to make up the difference in body and head size.  All nourishment is received through the placenta.  The intestines continue their migration into the body from the umbilical cord.


At this point you may begin to feel “quickening”: a fluttering sensation in your abdomen.  This is actually your baby moving around!  It might be several weeks before you notice it, but some Mom’s notice this as early as 14 weeks. 




Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 15

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 15

Your baby now weighs in at about 1 ¾ ounces and is about 4 inches long.  Finally the growth of the body is catching up with the head so that they the baby doesn’t look so top heavy. 


The hair follicles begin to make pigment for dark haired babies and their bodies are completely covered with lanugo, fine hairs that protect the skin.  These hairs will disappear before birth, usually.  Hearing is becoming more sensitive and if you play music or sing your baby can hear it.  Loud noises can startle the baby at this point in time.  The heart is still pumping away, practicing for the larger volume of blood it will pump when born. 

Babies are practicing inhaling and exhaling movements. 


 Fingernails are completely produced and the legs are getting longer than the arms.  The skeleton is getting harder and taking in calcium quickly.  Muscles are developing, as is the very thin skin.


If you are going to have a triple test or amniocentesis this is the time frame for these tests.  Check with your health practitioner to see if either of these procedures are right for you.




Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 17

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 17

About the size of an avocado now, your baby weighs about 6 ounces and is about 5 inches long.  Over the next few weeks your baby is about to make a huge jump in size, nearly doubling their weight and getting much longer as well.  This will help them to be more proportionate in size, letting the body catch up with the head.


Now the eyes are in the final position and the ears are just about done moving as well.  Permanent teeth buds are forming behind the baby teeth buds that are already in place.  The baby’s heartbeat can be clearly heard in the doctor’s office with special equipment.

Baby’s bones are becoming harder and a special substance, called Myelin, slowly forms a protective barrier for the spinal cord.  Vernix, the protective sealant for baby’s skin is starting to form and cover the skin now, too.


As your uterus begins to grow and make room for the baby you may begin to experience round ligament pain now.  This is normal and should subside with rest.  Round ligament pain is felt on the sides of your abdomen.  If the pain is severe or does not subside with rest you should talk with your health practioner.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 18

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 18

Your baby is now about 5 ½ inches long and weighs about 6 ounces.  During this week the baby will gain weight at an incredible pace!  Now that all of the organs have developed the baby’s body will focus on gaining weight and size.  You may begin to feel a bit off center as the baby and your uterus is getting larger.


Because the baby’s inner ear has formed its bones and nerve endings from the brain have formed, hearing has become very acute.  Your baby can hear your heartbeat and the blood moving through the umbilical cord as well as your voice.  They will even try to cover their ears if they hear a loud sound! 


Baby becomes sensitive to light now, as the eyes are further developed and the brain is growing very fast.  A little girl will have all the eggs inside her ovaries that she will need for her entire life.  Little boys begin to develop the prostate gland.  Meconium, or the first bowel movement continues to accumulate inside the bowel.  Brown fat begins to cover the baby, so their skin appears less transparent.


This is the last week you would normally have an amniocentesis, if your health practitioner has suggested this test.  Often between 18-22 weeks your health practitioner will order an ultrasound.  You may begin to experience heartburn now, as the uterus begins to push upward on your stomach.  Try to eat several small meals and stay away from high fat items..  If you prop yourself up with pillows it can help with heartburn, too. 


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 19

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 19

Right now your baby is about 6 inches long and weighs about 7 ½ ounces.  If you haven’t felt baby move yet, hang in there, because baby is moving all around and soon you’ll recognize and feel those movements.


Your baby’s brain is continuing to develop at an amazing rate.  Millions of motor neurons are forming inside the brain, this allows the baby to make voluntary muscle movements, including thumb sucking and moving away from lights.  The forebrain is dividing into two hemispheres that will become the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain.  The nerve cells that serve the senses are also developing quickly now.


Your baby continues to mimic breathing, with their chest moving up and down taking in amniotic fluid to practice for their birth.  Reproductive organs will continue to grow and develop and can be distinguished on an ultrasound.  Be sure and tell your technician if you do not want to know the sex of your baby so that they won’t spoil your surprise!


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 20

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 20

Your baby now weighs about 9 ½ ounces and measures about 6 ½ inches long.  You’re halfway through your pregnancy and baby is very active by now!  Over the next few weeks the baby will move so much that it may be hard to sleep.  This will continue until it gets very crowded for the baby.  Babies that are born at 20 weeks have a 50% chance of survival.


From now until your little one is about five years old the brain is developing very quickly.  Nerve cells that have already developed are making complex connections and sensory perception development peaks this week.


Little boy’s testes will begin dropping from the pelvis into the scrotum.  Legs have getting close to the final length and are very proportionate at this point.  The skeleton is getting harder and the hands are getting stronger.  Babies will blink more now and the lunago (fine hair that covers the body) is very thick around the head, neck and face..  Hair on the scalp is growing as well.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 21

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 21

Your baby is now about 10 ½ ounces and measures about 8 inches long – about the size of a large banana.  The rapid growth that has happened over the last few weeks will slow down now.  Every week increases the baby’s chance of survival outside of the womb now.


The head is now about 1/3 of the size of the body now.  Rapid eye movements begin at twenty-one weeks and baby can hear when you talk or sing to them now.   Swallowing, which is believed to help baby’s digestive system function after birth, continues at this point.  The heart is growing stronger and can be heard when you visit the doctor’s office.  Fat continues to accumulate now and the bones and muscles are getting stronger each day.


By now, most people can probably tell that you are pregnant.  Your body is changing rapidly as the baby grows.  Be sure to get plenty of rest and eat healthy.  Exercise is a great way to stay in shape and keep healthy.  Check with your health practitioner to find out what types of exercise would be appropriate for your pregnancy. 


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 22

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 22

Your baby weighs about 13 ounces now and measures about 9 inches long.  They are very thin, but completely developed at this point!  Fat will continue to accumulate from here on out as your baby packs on the pounds getting ready for birth.


The bones inside the ears are hardening and so their hearing becomes more clear.  They can distinguish between different sounds such as your voice and heartbeat.  Eyes are developed now, but there isn’t any pigment in the colored part.  Teeth buds appear beneath the gum line and the lips are completely developed and distinct from the rest of the face.

Lungs are developing.  Right now, the lungs cannot transfer oxygen to the bloodstream, but by birth the lungs will be ready.  The senses continue to develop at this time and your baby may experiment with touch by stroking their own face.  White blood cells are forming now so that your baby can help fight illness and infections.


The pancreas and liver are developing now.  The pancreas produces hormones and the liver breaks down bilirubin, a substance produced by red blood cells.  Hand strength is very good now and the skin is pink and wrinkly.  As the baby gains more weight the skin will become less transparent and wrinkled.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 23

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 23

Your baby has now reached the 1-pound mark and measures about 11 inches long.  You may be smaller or larger than other people that are 23 weeks pregnant, but what is important is that you have steady growth and that you are taking care of yourself.

This week your baby’s nostrils will open and the enamel that will cover baby’s teeth is forming.  Surfactant, which is a substance that helps the lungs expand after birth, has begun to develop and the air sacs inside the lungs are growing.


All the nerve cells are all in place now and will begin to join together to fully form a nervous system.  Baby is moving around a lot now, and you’re probably feeling the full force of their movements.  This daily movement helps them work out their developing muscles. 

Keep eating a healthy diet, including calcium and iron.  Your baby’s bones are absorbing calcium as quickly as they can so they can be strong and healthy at birth.  Fat is continuing to accumulate, but the skin still appears very wrinkly.  Once your baby has filled out a little the skin will appear less loose.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 24

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 24

Your baby now weighs a little over a pound is about 11 inches long.  They fully fill the uterus now, but there is still plenty of room for growth.  Over the next three months your baby will have the biggest weight gain.


Brain waves are beginning to activate the auditory and visual systems, causing the baby’s mouth and lips to become sensitive.  Eyes will respond to light and the ears are reactive to sounds from outside of the uterus.  Your baby may be able to tell when they are upside down now because their inner ear is completely developed.  The brain is very active now and is regulating all other body functions. 


Toenails and fingernails are growing now and may need trimmed when they are born.  Blood vessels in the lungs are developing and will exchange oxygen after birth.  The alveoli (the very tiny final branches of the respiratory tree) and air sacs have developed completely.

You may start to get stretch marks now.  This is a normal part of pregnancy.  Your health practitioner may order a blood test now to check for anemia and infection.  You may also have a glucose screen between now and week twenty-eight to help rule out gestational diabetes.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 25

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 25

Your baby is now about 1 ½ pounds and measures around 12 inches long.  You are closely approaching your third trimester and the final stretch of your pregnancy.  Now is a great time to investigate and start birthing classes if you haven’t already done so.  By now, people may be noticing that you are pregnant.  Maternity clothes may be a necessity, although you may still fit into some of your pre-pregnancy, looser clothing.

Taste buds are developing at this point and the baby even is able to distinguish sweet tastes.  Blood vessels are developing in the lungs to prepare for their vital function after birth, but for now they are filled will amniotic fluid and are practicing breathing movements.  Breathing is controlled by the nervous system.


If you were to shine a flashlight on your abdomen, the baby will turn their head toward the light  because the optic nerve is now working.  Fingerprints, toenails and fingernails are fully formed and the spine is straightening out.  Bones are continuing to harden at this time.

Vernix, the waxy substance that covers your baby, is forming at a rapid pace.  This protects their skin and helps regulate body temperature.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 26

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 26

Your baby now weighs about 2 pounds and is about 13 inches long.  You’ve reached the end of your second trimester and now time may seem to crawl along as you wait through these final weeks.  Just remember that soon you will have a new little one to hold and love!


This week the eyes are opening and beginning to blink.  Before now, the eyes have been sealed shut so that they can continue to develop the retina.  Baby’s eye color, depending on their coloring and ethnic background, may be dark or brown, or they could be grayish blue.  Depending on your baby their eyes may change colors during the first few months after birth.  Eyelashes are growing now, as is the hair on their head.


Taste buds are continuing to develop and they are improving their sucking and swallowing motions.  Brain waves become stronger this week, which affects the vision and hearing.  The smooth brain is now forming grooves and valleys.


The bronchial tract develops this week and the lungs are growing.  If your baby were born now, it would have an 85% chance of survival, but the lungs are still very immature.  Little boy’s testes have completely descended at this point and although your baby is rapidly putting fat on their body, the skin is still very thin and the veins are visible.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 27

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 27

You’ve made it to the final trimester now, only 10 weeks to go!  Your baby now weighs about 2 pounds and is about 14 inches long.  They look like a fully formed baby at this point, only smaller and very thin.  Survival, if born now, is around the 85% chance rate.  Baby will go through another growth spurt now and may have predictable periods of sleep now.


The ears are covered the waxy substance called vernix which may muffle the sounds that they hear.  Some experts believe that babies begin to dream at week 28, because the brain is so very active now.  Brain tissue is developing rapidly.


It’s possible to hear the baby’s heartbeat by just placing an ear on your abdomen at this point!  Lungs have developed enough that they could function outside of the womb and the central nervous system is well formed.


Amniotic fluid and the absence of fat on your baby’s body makes their skin appear wrinkly at this time.  Baby will continue to fill out after they are born and begin to gain newborn weight.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 28

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 28

This week your baby weighs about 2 ½ pounds and measures around 15 inches long.  During the last four weeks the weight of your baby has nearly doubled.  The baby is moving around a lot these days, but soon this will slow down as the baby starts to run out of room inside your uterus..


The smooth brain tissue continues to develop folds and wrinkles as it increases in mass.  Brain functions include breathing and maintaining body temperature.  Lanugo hair is starting to disappear over the body, but eyebrows, eyelashes and the hair on their head is growing.  Bone marrow has taken over the production of red blood cells from the liver at this point.  Muscle tone is improving and the baby’s body is filling out with warming body fat. 

The third trimester is filled is aches and pains and general discomfort for many women.  Some of the complaints you might suffer from include heartburn, varicose veins, hemorrhoids and indigestion.  Knowing that you are closely approaching the birth of your baby can help you make it through these trying last few weeks.


Your health practitioner may order blood work at twenty-eight weeks and if you haven’t had a blood glucose screening done yet this may be done.  Blood glucose screening helps determine if you have gestational diabetes.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 29

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 29

This week your baby weighs in at 2.6 pounds and measures at about 16 inches.  To help with the discomforts of pregnancy that you may be having at this time you should get plenty of rest, wear comfortable, supportive shoes and continue to eat a healthy balanced diet.  If you haven’t started working on your birth plan, now is the time to get started!  Be sure to get your partner’s input on this important document that will help guide everyone during your labor and birth.


Baby’s head is no longer disproportionate to the rest of the body.  The senses are functioning and the eyes can move around inside the eye sockets.  Little boy’s testicles are now moving toward their scrotum and little girls will have a prominent clitoris because it is not yet covered by the small labia, as this happens in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Baby’s skin is becoming less wrinkly as they continue to add fat and gain weight.  The uterus is becoming more cramped now and the kicks and punches that you have felt will probably feel less pronounced at this point.  You’ll definitely still be able to tell that baby is there, though!


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 30

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 30

Your baby now weighs about 3 pounds and measures 16.2 inches.  Things are started to get cramped inside the uterus at this point, and the baby is really in the fetal position – with knees bent and their chin touching the chest.  Soon baby will move into the head down position getting ready for their delivery.


Babies do not usually have 20/20 vision when they are born.  Their eyes are well developed and they are reacting to light, but most children do not have 20/20 vision until they are between seven and nine years old. 


The brain is continuing to grow and make connections between nerve cells..  Baby’s digestive tract is nearly complete now and the lungs are nearly fully developed as well.  Lanugo continues to disappear now and the hair on their little heads is coming in.  Some babies are born with a full head of hair!


Sleeping on your left side is probably the most comfortable position for you now, as it will help remove some of the pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in your back.  It may seem as if everyone has a horror story to tell you now about her labor and birth.  Just remember that every birth is different and don’t feel shy about asking people to keep the stories to themselves if they bother you.  You might also find that complete strangers feel the need to touch your belly – everyone gets excited as the birth of your little one grows closer.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 31

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 31

Your baby now weighs about 3.3 pounds and measures about 17 inches.  Growth will begin to slow down now, but the average weight of babies at birth is around 7 pounds. 

Baby is opening and closing their eyes this week.  A brain scan would show that your baby is probably having dreams now.  Lungs are quickly developing now, getting ready for full time work after birth.  White fat is now being deposited beneath the skin, which helps make baby’s skin look pink.


By now you should be seeing your health practitioner every two weeks.  Your doctor or midwife will be checking your blood pressure and any swelling in your arms and legs, measuring the baby, asking you about how the baby is moving around and keeping close tabs on you and the baby in general.  They’ll start paying attention to what position the baby is in now, as the birth gets closer.  About 96% of babies born are born head first.  The rest are born breech with the buttocks or feet coming first.  Having a breech birth does not mean an automatic cesarean section, but be sure and talk with your doctor or midwife if you are concerned. It’s probably time for you to remove your rings, if you have not already done so, because with swelling it can become very hard to remove these later.

Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 32

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 32

Your baby now weighs about 4 pounds and measures about 17 inches.  If you’re feeling kicks in your ribcage it probably means that baby has finally moved into the head down position that 96% of babies are born in.  Don’t worry if this hasn’t happened yet, you still have a few weeks left for baby to move.


During baby’s awake times their eyes are open and looking around..  When they are sleeping their eyes are closed.  Eye color is usually blue right now, but this will change with exposure to light, and then it can change again a few months after birth.


Little boys testicles are descending into the scrotum now.  Sometimes this doesn’t happen until after birth, but this condition usually corrects itself.  Baby’s immune system is starting to develop now and sometimes the fingernails are so long that they will scratch themselves. 


White fat is continuing to accumulate now.  This helps baby’s skin appear more pink and diminishes the wrinkly appearance of your little one’s skin.


If you haven’t already gotten a list together of the things you need to take with you to the hospital you should start now.  Ask your health practitioner what signs to watch for to indicate you are in labor and when they would like for you to call their office.  Be sure and ask what the procedure for contacting them is once you think you are in labor.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 33

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 33

Your baby now weighs about 4.4 pounds and measures about 17.8 inches.  Baby will gain one third to one half of their weight during the final weeks of your pregnancy.  The amniotic fluid is now at it’s highest level and will stay at this level until your delivery.  Your little one may have now settled into the head down position; however, some babies do not do this until later in pregnancy.


The baby’s skull is not joined and is very pliable.  The brain is rapidly growing now and increasing in size.  Fat is rapidly accumulating and changing the color of your baby’s skin from red to pink, the skin appears less wrinkly as they continue to accumulate this white fat.


Because your baby is rapidly gaining white fat and weight at this point you may be gaining weight more rapidly than in the past as well.  Continue to eat right and exercise as you can to help your baby grow and develop at a normal pace.  Now may be the time to decide if you will circumcise your little boy after his birth.  Continue to plan the details of your baby’s arrival including your birth plan the details of the nursery for when they come home.

Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 34

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 34

Your baby now weighs about 4.9 pounds and measures about 18.4 inches long.  Your baby is fully developed at this point, but is growing and gaining weight now.  Baby’s chances of survival outside of the womb are very good now, with only the lungs needing further development.


Baby is probably in the head down position now and the skull is soft so that baby can move down the birth canal during birth.  Pressure from the baby being head down can make you have to urinate frequently.


The immune system is continuing to mature now and preparing to fight infections.
Because your baby is rapidly building up fat, little dimples are forming at the elbows and knees.  Creases are forming around the wrists and neck.  Bones are continuing to harden now and the waxy substance covering your baby’s skin, vernix, is thickening.

There are several prenatal tests that your health practitioner may recommend at this point.  One that you need to ask for, if your doctor or midwife doesn’t suggest is, is the GBS (or Group B Step) test.  This test screens for harmful bacteria that you can pass to the baby at birth.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 35

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 35

Your baby weighs about 5 ½ pounds now and measures about 18.9 inches long.  As you know each baby has a different weight and length at birth, so these measurements are just an average.  Now your baby will start it’s most rapid weight gain, adding ½ to ¾ of a pound every week until they are born.


You may be able to distinguish body parts such as a head, hand or foot now that your baby is getting larger and your uterus is getting thinner.  Baby’s hearing has completely developed now and the lungs are very close to being complete and ready for birth. 

The kidneys are fully developed and the liver is able to process waste products.  Fat is continues to accumulate at a rapid pace now, which will help your baby stay warm after they are born.


When you visit your health practitioner now they may begin to exam your cervix to see how ready it is for delivery.  If you are not having a home birth, have your overnight bag packed and ready so that when your labor starts you have everything you want and need ready to go to the hospital or birthing center.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 36

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 36

Your baby now weighs about 6 pounds and measures about 20.7 inches long.  You’ve almost made it to the end now.  Keep this in mind as you continue to grow increasingly uncomfortable.  Your health practitioner will probably want to see you weekly now.


Fat is deposited in the baby’s cheeks this week and the muscles that help your baby suck are helping to fill out their little faces.  Your baby’s bones are very strong, but the skull is going to stay soft, so that it can pass through the birth canal.


Baby’s immune system is continuing to develop and now they are receiving your antibodies.  Liver and kidneys are now fully developed and functional, allowing baby to process some of their own waste.  Meconium is accumulating rapidly now.  This first bowel movement is normally voided soon after birth, but some baby’s will void while they are still waiting to be born. 


Your baby is now a plump, round little person.  All the extra weight and fat accumulation over the last few weeks has filled out their little bodies.


If you haven’t already had a GBS, or Group B Strep test, now is the time to ask your doctor or midwife about this test.


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 37

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 37

Your baby now weighs about 6 ½ pounds and measures about 21 inches long.  You are now considered a full term pregnancy, if you go into labor now, your health practitioner would not try to stop your labor!


Baby is gaining lots of weight now, about ½ an ounce each day.  Typically, boys will weigh more than girls at birth.  Right now, your baby is practicing their breathing and getting stronger. 


Every baby is different, but some are born with as much as 1 ½ inches of hair already grown.  You probably can’t wait to see your little one at this point, but you are very close to the end of your waiting. 


Lungs are almost completely mature now; in a few days they will be done maturing.  Your baby is becoming more coordinated now and can grasp things with their little fingers.

You may have a pelvic exam this week to see how your cervix is progressing.  Don’t forget to pack your bag and get together all the things you’ll need at the hospital or birthing center, including the camera and car seat. 


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 38

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 38

Your baby now weighs 6.8 pounds and measures about 21 inches long.  This is what many babies weigh when they are born, and your little one is just around the corner from arriving.  Baby is gaining about an ounce each day.


Since your baby is using their lungs to practice breathing they may get hiccups occasionally and you will be able to notice these little jumps.  The head and abdomen are about the same circumference at this point.  The abdomen is large because of the liver, which is producing red blood cells. 


Tear ducts will not appear until a few weeks after birth.  The brain and the lungs are the last of the organs to develop, but both are nearly ready now.  The lungs are developing surfactant now, which helps the alveoli expand.  Baby can turn their head, react to sounds and lights and blink their eyes.


Vernix, the waxy substance that protects your baby’s skin while in the womb, is mostly gone now.  There is a small amount left to help the trip through the birth canal go smoothly.

Your appetite may decrease now, as you have less room for everything, including your stomach, as the baby has grown larger.  Remember to rest often because many sleepless nights are ahead!


Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 39

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 39

A healthy range of weight is between 5 pounds and 11 ounces and 8 pounds 5 ounces.  Your baby is probably somewhere in this range now.  The umbilical cord doesn’t have any nerve endings (this means that you and your baby will not feel any pain when it is cut!) and is about 20 inches long and about ½ inch thick.  It’s pretty common for the umbilical cord to get knotted at this point, because things are so crowded inside the uterus.


All of your baby’s organs, including the lungs are ready for birth now.  Your baby’s immune system is gaining strength at this point.  Right now, you are probably very uncomfortable and can hardly stand the wait.  Try to take it easy and rest when you can, long naps and reading can help you through the last few days of your pregnancy.  Remember that very few babies are born on their due date. 



Fetal Development Week by Week � Week 40

By : Angie Younce

Fetal Development Week by Week – Week 40

You’ve made it!!  Any day now your little one will arrive.  Don’t be surprised at how your baby looks after birth.  Their little heads can be misshapen and their skin may be discolored and have patchy looking rashes.  An average baby weighs about 7 ½ pounds and is about 21 ½ inches long at birth.  Every baby is different, though, and soon you’ll get to meet your little one.


Babies have more than seventy different reflexes when they are born.  These automatic, unlearned behaviors are necessary for survival.  While in the womb you provide your baby with antibodies and make their immune system stronger.  These immunities that you pass on to your baby will stay with them for the first six months of their lives.  Because of your hormones passing on to the baby, your baby may have enlarged genitals when they are born.  Hormones can also cause both little boys and little girls to secrete milk from their nipples.


Light exercise, such as walking, can help bring on labor now.  Try to relax and enjoy the last few days before your little one arrives.  Getting plenty of rest now will help you make it through the labor and delivery you have ahead.

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