Fetal Development

Here is a look at how your precious bundle of joy is growing inside you:

Week 1-4

Week 1-4

Your baby is about the size of a pea. At this stage of pregnancy your baby is technically known as an embryo, which consists of two layers of cells that will later develop into organs and body parts. You embryo is housed in a sac of fluid, known as the amniotic sac. This sac protects your embryo, as well as produces your red blood cells that help deliver nutrients until the placenta has developed and is ready to take over this duty.

Week 5-8

5-8 weeks

This is the critical stage in development of your unborn baby. This is also the most rapid development stage. During this stage of pregnancy, your baby’s organs and intricate systems begin to develop. Although your baby has began to develop organs and features, it is still too early to determine the sex of your baby. Your baby is no longer referred to as an embryo, but rather a fetus at this stage. Your baby has began to constantly move and shift positions although it is still too small to feel the movements.

Week 9-12

week 9-12

By the end of this stage, your baby will have completely formed. Your baby is now an approximately an 7cm long from top to toe, weigh approximately 13 grams, and has completed the most critical stage of development. During the 9-12 week stage, your baby has developed  functioning fingers and toes and their eyes have now formed. Your baby’s bones begin to harden and their kidney begins producing urine.

Week 13-16

week 13-16

This is an exciting stage of your baby’s development. During this stage, your baby’s face begins to develop. Eyebrows and eyelashes begin to appear, as well as the ears, allowing your baby to now hear your voice. Towards the end of this developmental stage, your baby will be approximately 13cm from top to toe and weigh roughly 140 grams. Close to the end of this stage, you may begin to feel slight movement in your lower abdomen. Bare in mind that this is also usually the stage, where your waistline begins to disappear as you begin to show external signs of being pregnant.

Week 17-20

Week 17-20

This stage is a period of rapid growth for your baby. This is the stage of development where your baby’s brain begins designating special areas for their sensors such as smell, taste, vision, hearing and touch. You may also notice that hair is beginning to sprout on their scalp. Your baby’s teeth are also beginning to develop within their jawbone. Fat is beginning to store below your baby’s skin. You may begin to find that your baby is increasingly more active as they are now able to make a fist as well as sleep and wake at regular intervals. Mums your tummy will really be growing now so don’t be afraid to show off that beautiful bump.

Week 21-24

week 21-24

At this stage you baby will be approximately 33cm long and weigh roughly 700 grams. Your baby will begin developing regular patterns of sleep and activity that you will begin to notice and become accustomed to. Your baby’s brain is also beginning to develop rapidly and nerves will begin to form.

Week 25-28

week 25-28

During this stage, your baby’s eyesight begins to develop. Their eyes are now able to open and close and they gain their eye pigment. Your baby’s hearing development is also increasing and they are now able to hear the sounds of the outside world easily over your heartbeat. Be warned that your baby’s movement will increase during this stage and you will begin to substantially feel their movements.

Week 29-32

Week 29-32

Your baby is now roughly the size of  cabbage. During this stage, your baby will begin to gain a substantial amount of weight. It is estimated that your baby will gain a 1/3 to 1/2 of their birth weight during this period. By this stage of the pregnancy, the majority of your baby’s organs are fully functioning except for their lungs, which take slightly longer to develop.

Week 33-36

week 33-38

Your baby continues to gain increased amounts of weight. This weight is critical as it will help maintain your baby’s temperature and provide the energy they require. By the end of this stage, your baby will be considered “early term”. Your baby’s sucking muscles are also fully developed by this stage and ready to feed. You may find that at this stage your belly is beginning to feel slightly lighter. The reason behind this feeling, is that your baby is beginning to drop to your pelvic area, getting ready for you to deliver.

Week 37-40

New Born Baby

Your baby is now fully formed. Your baby is getting ready for birth and settling into the fetal position. The bones of baby’s head are soft and flexible to ease the process of delivery through the birth canal. It is true to say that most baby’s do not arrive as planned on their due date and therefore if you go into labor any time during this stage, you doctor will not delay the birthing process. Be prepared and have a hospital bag packed and ready to be rushed into hospital. This is where your journey starts.

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