The First Nine Months

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The most crucial, eventful moments of your life occur in the safety of your mother's womb. Here are the major milestones of your life before birth, the first chapter in your own biography...

Early stage of fetal developmentCONCEPTION: Father's sperm penetrates mother's egg cell. Genetic instructions from parents interact to begin a new and unique individual, no bigger than a grain of sugar.

First Trimester

  • 1st DAY: The first cell divides into two, the two into four, and so on.
  • 5-9 DAYS: The new life burrows into the wall of the womb. The sex can be determined.
  • 14 DAYS: Mother's menstrual period is suppressed by a hormone produced by the baby.
  • 15 DAYS: Heart is forming; eyes develop.
  • 20 DAYS: Foundations of brain, spinal cord and nervous system are laid.
  • 24 DAYS: The baby's heart begins to beat.
  • Developing fetus28 DAYS: Muscles are developing along the future spine. Arms and legs are budding.
  • 30 DAYS: Th baby has grown 10,000 times to 6-7mm. (1/4 in.) long. Brain has human proportions. Blood flows in veins (but stays separate from mother's blood).
  • 35 DAYS: Pituitary gland in brain is forming. Mouth, ears and nose are taking shape.
  • 40 DAYS: The baby's heart's output is 20% of an adult's.
  • 42 DAYS: Skeleton is formed. Brain coordinates movement of muscles and organs. Reflex responses have begun. Penis is forming in boys. (Mother misses second period.)
  • 43 DAYS: Brain waves can be recorded.
  • 45 DAYS: Spontaneous movements have begun. Buds of milk teeth have appeared
  • Position of baby before birth‚Äč7 WEEKS: Lips are sensitive to touch. Ears may resemble family pattern.
  • 8 WEEKS: The baby is well-proportioned, 3 cm. (1 1/8 in.) sitting up and a gram (1/3 oz.) in weight. Every organ is present. Heart beats sturdily. Stomach produces digestive juices. Liver makes blood cells. Kidneys begin to function. Taste buds forming.
  • 9 WEEKS: The baby will bend fingers around an object placed in the palm. Thumb sucking occurs. Fingernails are forming.
  • 10 WEEKS: Body is sensitive to touch. The baby squints, swallows and frowns.
  • 11 WEEKS: The baby urinates, makes complex facial expressions, even smiles.
  • 12 WEEKS: The baby can kick, curl toes, make a fist, move thumbs, bend wrists, turn head, open mouth and press lips together. Breathing is practiced.
  • Newborn infant13 WEEKS: Face is prettier, facial expressions resembling parents'. Graceful movements. Vocal cords forming (but without air baby cannot cry). Sex organs are apparent.

Second Trimester

  • 4 MONTHS: The baby can grasp with hands, swim and turn somersaults.
  • 4-5 MONTHS: As the mother, you will feel your baby moving.
  • 5 MONTHS: Sleeping habits appear. The baby responds to sounds in frequencies too high or low for adults to hear.
  • 6 MONTHS: Fine hair grows on eyebrows and head. Eyelash fringe appears. Weight is about 640g. (1 lb. 6 oz.) and height 23cm. (9 in.). Babies born at this age have survived.

Third Trimester

  • Teen parents7 MONTHS: Eye teeth are present. Eyelids open and close, eyes look around. Hands grip strongly. Your baby will recognize your voice.
  • 8 MONTHS: Weight increases by 1 kg. (over 2 lbs.) and baby's quarters get cramped.
  • 9 MONTHS: The baby triggers labor and birth occurs, usually 255-275 days after conception.

* Tsiaras, Alexander, and Barry Werth. From Conception to Birth; A Life Unfolds. New York: Doubleday, Inc., 2002.

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