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Fetal Development

How your unborn baby grows

Week 2:
At conception, the sperm joins with ovum (egg) to form one cell that contains the complex genetic blueprint for every detail of human development. At this point the child's sex, hair and eye color, height, and skin tone are already mapped out.

Week 4:
The embryo's heart has now been beating for one week. The beginning of the spinal cord, muscles, and nerves become apparent. Arms, legs, eyes and ears can now be seen. The amniotic sac and placenta are in place and providing nourishment to the embryo.

Week 6:
This is a critical period of growth for the embryo. The eyes begin to form and the extremities can be seen in much more detail, including all 10 fingers. The embryo is now moving and responds to touch.

Week 10:
At the 9th week the embryo is now considered a fetus. The fetus is able to grasp and can suck his/her thumb. Fingerprints are already visible in the skin. In addition to being able to sense touch, the fetus can now feel pain. At week 12, the fetus sleeps and awakens.

Week 14:
The fetus is growing very rapidly at this point. The mother can now feel energetic movement, and hair is visible on the scalp. Sex differentiation becomes apparent by week 13.

Week 18:
The ears are now functioning and the baby can hear his mother's voice. By the end of the 4th month, the fetus weighs a half pound or more and is eight to ten inches in length.

Week 22:
The head of the fetus now accounts for 1/3 of his/her length. If this baby were to be born prematurely, he/she has a good chance of survival with sufficient medical care.

Week 26:
The tongue has formed taste buds and the eyes have fully developed. The baby's lungs are completely functioning and he can even cry.

Week 30:
Vision, hearing, taste, and touch are all being used now. The baby opens and closes her eyes and looks around. Research shows that the child can recognize her mother's voice.

Week 40:
The baby is now ready for life outside of his mother's womb. By this time, the infant usually weighs six to nine pounds and his heart is pumping 300 gallons of blood per day.

A Child Is Born (also in paperback) (book), Lennart Nilsson, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1990, order from Nine Month Miracle (CD ROM software), A.D.A.M. Software, Inc, 1600 RiverEdge Parkway, Suite 800, Atlanta, GA, 30328. The First Nine Months of Life, (brochure), Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO, 1995. Introduction to Child Development, 6th ed., (text book) John Dworetzky, West Publishing Company, San Francisco, CA, 1996. Psychology Today, (magazine) Fetal Psychology, Janet L. Hopson, October 1998. Epigee Women's Resource: Information about pregnancy, reproductive health, and fetal development. When You were Formed in Secret, (handbook) Gary Bergel, Intercessors for America, 1988. Pregnancy Resources, Content Library, Terwilliger Web Development Services.

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