Development in Utero

Last week, I wrote a little about the embryo so I thought it would be fun this week to share some facts about the development of the baby in utero.  Feel free to add facts that you know in the comments section.

From the moment of conception, the single cell that forms (called a zygote) contains the genetic information for every detail of that new life – the gender, hair and eye color, fingerprints, etc.

By 21 days after fertilization, the baby’s heart (which is then about the size of a poppy seed) begins beating, and early signs of brain development are evident.

At 7 weeks, the baby is 1/3 of an inch long and is making its own blood.  A week later, it is half an inch long and has recognizable elbows and fingers.  Taste buds are forming on the tongue.

At ten weeks, the baby’s brain produces 250,000 new neurons every minute, and can make the baby’s muscles move voluntarily.

At eleven weeks, the baby is obviously recognizable as a human being with distinct body parts and major organ systems developed, though only 2 inches long.  At this point, the baby is known as a fetus, which is Latin for “young one.”

At fourteen weeks, the “young one” can suck his or her thumb.

According to some studies, the baby can feel pain at 18 weeks.

At 24 weeks, the baby ways about 1.5 pounds and can recognize the voice, breathing, and heartbeat of his or her mother.  Babies of this age mayexhibit rapid eye movement, an indication that they are dreaming.

A baby born at 28 weeks is capable of breathing air with the support of intensive care.  Some babies born at only 24 weeks of development have survived.

40 weeks is the due date. . . but only 4% of babies are born on the due date.


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