Knowing that you are going to be parents is a completely different feeling. Nothing can describe the happiness, anticipation and excitement of welcoming a new life into this world. Where many parents engage with and closely track their baby’s growth from the moment they are born, but most parents don’t know what happens once their child is conceived. It is important to know about the baby development in the womb, not only for the sake of knowing your child, but also because of numerous health reasons. Once you know the baby development by month, you can understand the nutrient needs, the safety precautions and the health measure that you need to take as a family. Here we describe the development of your baby through each month so that you know how your child came to be the beautiful human that you will hold in your arms in a little while.
The first 4 weeks of the baby development in the womb is most critical as almost every system in the human body is taking form at this time. Initially, the baby is no more than a single cell and this cell starts the division process to divide slowly into multiple and then into hundreds of cells which will serve particular purposes. Once fertilized, the baby is implanted into the wall of the uterus where it will form the placenta to get its nutrients. At this time, your baby is called a blastocyst and is only about 0.1 mm in diameter. The initial parts of the gut, the heart, the eyes, the nose, mouth and ears start developing. By the completion of the month, your baby will have his own tiny beating heart!
The baby is now about 1.5 inches long. If you were to see the baby you could see distinct facial features developing. The baby, in this month will develop eyelids and the nose tip will start becoming prominent. Also, the limbs start sprouting from small buds, but the fingers and toes are still in the developing stage. By the 8th week, the nervous system has developed its primary components and brain waves can be detected. All the basic organs are in place and the baby has developed the power to hear. So, from the 8th week onwards, the baby can actually hear what’s going on about him.
This marks the ending of the first trimester. As most of the important baby development in the womb takes place during these first three months, it is important to take note if the essential nutrients in the diet. Particularly of folic acid and iron as the baby needs these nutrients for optimal nervous tissue development and for the synthesis of all the tissues, fetal blood and also the extra mother’s blood that is needed to fulfill the requirements of the baby. At this point, your baby is only about 2 inches, but is already able to move about. However, this movement is generally not appreciable by the mother. The genital system undergoes rapid development during the third month, so by 12th week, the doctor can usually tell the sex of your child.
During this month, the baby’s development specializes. He can feel and can grasp things with his hand. He can even suck his own thumb. Now the baby development in the womb is progresses towards specialized things. The vocal cord development is completed. By 15th week, the baby has functioning taste buds. The little heart is pumping up to 24 quarts per day and the length of the baby reaches about 10 inches.
The baby gets to be personal with the mother. His movements are now felt easily by the mother and is called “quickening”. Your baby has developed specialized brain functions by now and can actually dream. By the end of the 5th month of pregnancy, baby development in the womb has progressed enough to allow the baby to actually recognize his own mother’s voice! Also, it is the time at which you should have your ultrasound to determine the site of the placenta and whether the placenta is optimally placed for delivery or not and to exclude any complications.
The baby starts to adapt to the normal ways of human life. The baby development in the womb accelerates to the point that the baby starts drinking the amniotic fluid and also passes his first stool, which is called meconium. The bone marrow of the baby starts developing the blood cells and the lungs start to mature. At this point, most of the systems have been developed and now the major part is storing fat and increasing the size of the baby.
The baby has a fully developed set of eyes by now. He also starts to get surprised or startled in response to sudden sounds. The lungs keep maturing, but are still not ready to battle the external environment. The baby’s brain also starts to mature at a rapid pace. Knowing baby development by month will help you know when all the systems of your baby have developed. You will also know that the lungs are the last to mature and can be the reason of complications if the baby is born before 37 weeks.
In this time, the growth of the baby is mainly concerned with accumulation of fat. The bones are fully developed, but they are still soft. At this point, the baby keeps gaining weight as more fat is formed under the skin. Your baby starts to get plump and round as fat starts accumulating beneath the skin. The heart and blood system is complete as the baby nears its final stages of development. The baby finally gets into specific sleeping patterns, even within the womb. The muscle and bones are completely developed so that the baby is almost ready to be born.
The hair on the top of the baby’s head is coarse and thick. The fingernails lengthen beyond the tips and the fetal lanugo, which is the fetal hair disappears. The essential maturation of the baby is complete at this point. The lungs have matured, the limbs have developed, the myelination of the nervous system is underway and the baby is all set to make his appearance into the world.
Now that you know the baby development by month, you can understand how your baby made it from just a cell to a tiny human being. It’s amazing to see the baby development in the womb, now that you know it yourself, you can take your child through all of his stages of growth from day 1!
Black Mothers United. (2017). Foetal Development – Black Mothers United. [online] Available at: http://blackmothersunited.org/fetal-development
Healthworkstheatre.org. (2017). Foetal development in the womb during pregnancy – Health Works Theatre. [online] Available at: http://www.healthworkstheatre.org/?p=5
Pregnant, N. and Pregnancy, Q. (2017). Foetal development week by week – Photo Gallery | BabyCenter. [online] BabyCenter. Available at: https://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-week-by-week
Wayne Blocker, M. (2017). Foetal Development Stages: Month by Month Embryo Pictures. [online] OnHealth. Available at: http://www.onhealth.com/content/1/fetal_development_stages