When a woman finds out about her pregnancy, along with joy there comes a desire to find out how a fetus develops from a cell to a person. In this article, we will try to briefly and clearly explain the process of fetal development, as well as how the fetus changes during the entire period of pregnancy and how the body of the expectant mother reacts to it.
There are two concepts, embryonic and obstetric gestation. The first is counted from the moment of conception. But the medical record will indicate the obstetric period. It is counted from the moment of the last menstruation. Therefore, an interesting paradox arises: the obstetric period is already underway, but the pregnancy itself is not yet happened.
At the beginning of the third week, the most important event occurs – the egg meets a single sperm out of many millions. It is at this moment that the eye color of the unborn child, his facial features and other hereditary signs are determined. A fertilized egg starts dividing and moves towards the uterus.
The embryo grows to two millimeters. He has two poles – future legs and head. Three functional layers are formed, from which all systems and organs will develop. At this stage the neural tube is laid. If its formation is disturbed, a serious birth defect may occur. Folic acid supplementation will reduce this risk.
This week, there may appear or intensify the symptoms of toxicosis: nausea, weakness, vomiting. The embryo forms arms and legs. Expectant mother needs to drink a lot, monitor nutrition and give up bad habits, if she has not already done so. It is important to maintain the required level of vitamin E in the body: its lack at this stage leads to almost the same consequences as a lack of folic acid. Vitamins of group B will help to cope with toxicosis.
Fetal Development – 7th week
The embryo is similar in size to a black currant. The most important process this week is the development of the brain in the fetus and its division into three sections. Limbs and other tissues continue to form. Ears and a nose appear on the face. Mom may experience more frequent urination due to hormonal changes in the body.
The first ultrasound is often done this week. Facial features and internal organs continue to form. The future baby is already starting to move. It’s time to take care of the prevention of iodine deficiency. Iodine is involved in the development of bone and cartilage. The lack of this trace element can adversely affect the development of the nervous and hormonal systems of the child.
The reproductive system of the embryo is being laid. The future baby is already of the size of a small plum, while almost half of its body is the head.
From the outside it is still difficult to suspect the pregnancy of the future mother, but her uterus is already growing in size. From this week, the baby can officially be called a fetus. The brain and other organs of the child are actively developing. The membrane disappears between the fingers, and the bones become harder.
To avoid the development of heart defects of the baby, the future mother’s diet should have enough vitamins B2 and PP. At this time, a future mother can take special medicinal vitamin complexes for the first trimester of pregnancy.
During this period, the first screening is carried out, which includes ultrasound and other studies. Such an examination allows to suspect gross violations and malformations of the fetus on time.
Mom has already gained the first few kilograms, and the baby has grown to the size of a tangerine. From about this week, visible sexual characters begin to appear, and the accuracy of determining the sex of the unborn child gradually increases. The kid is actively moving, and small nails appear on his hands.
From this moment the second trimester begins. The volume of blood in the body of the expectant mother is gradually increasing. Therefore, it is important to take vitamins with iron to prevent anemia in pregnant women. For the development of the brain and eyes of the baby, lutein is needed. And in order to protect the mother’s blood vessels and avoid the appearance of edema, you need to take a rutin. Zinc must be included in the vitamin complex as well. Its use reduces the risk of miscarriage and premature birth. At this time, you can already notice the increased tummy of the future mother. The baby himself is actively growing. He has the beginnings of milk teeth and hair. The face gains more and more human features familiar to us.
Fetal Development – 14th week
Important changes take place in the child’s body: hormones appear, the chest begins to strengthen so that the baby can take a first breath in time, reflex sucking movements appear, the formation of the upper palate ends. As before, a future mom needs to monitor the nutrition, but overeating is not worth it.
At this point, the blood group proteins of the baby are formed. The kid is actively grimacing, although the expression of the face does not yet reflect his emotions. The child moves, but these movements are still invisible. Also, the expectant mother may be bothered by edema. You need to observe a drinking regimen, do light exercises and take vitamins containing rutin, which helps strengthen blood vessels.
The woman’s body weight increased by another one or two kilograms. During this period, vitamin A is desirable. It contributes to the active development of the baby, normal weight gain, renewal of the mucous membranes and epithelium of the fetus.
In girls, one of the most important processes takes place at this moment – the formation of their own eggs. Violations at this stage can lead to infertility of the future woman.
The child is still growing, all its systems are developing, subcutaneous fatty tissue appears.
From about this moment, the baby begins to hear. Therefore, the baby can get scared of loud sounds. However, at the same time, he gradually gets used to the voice of his parents. Also, during this period, the mother can feel the movements of her child for the first time.
A growing uterus can stretch the ligaments, which sometimes causes pulling discomfort. The baby begins to undergo molars under the milk teeth, and his body is covered with a special lubricant that helps to keep warmth.
It’s time for another routine examination. On 3D ultrasound, you can already see in details the facial features of the child. The kid is actively moving and even hiccups. And he can respond to the taste of amniotic fluid, so once again think about your diet.
The kid is quickly gaining weight. The skeletal system of the fetus is actively developing, so it is useful for the expectant mother to think about the calcium content in food or in vitamins. Iron also does not lose its value, because the baby’s main blood-forming organ, the bone marrow, begins to function.
The condition of the expectant mother is affected by the intake of vitamins B1, B6, C and E. They reduce the risk of gestosis.
Fetal Development – 22nd week
The main change of this week is the skin of the child. It ceases to be transparent, although it remains pale. Eyebrows and cilia appear on the face of the baby, which are still completely colorless. And, of course, the child does not stop active training, making various movements with arms, legs and head.
The baby’s brain and nervous system as a whole are actively developing. The child’s organs are almost completely formed, although they are not yet ready for an independent life. It may be difficult for an expectant mother to tolerate an increase in the size and weight of the uterus. If there are unpleasant sensations in the spine, it’s time to visit a doctor and pick up a special supportive bandage.
The baby’s eyes are already fully formed, although they are not yet filled with colored pigment. Starting from this week, the most active time for the child begins, which is accompanied by a variety of movements.
Gradually, the baby’s bones become more and more strong. Meconium is formed in the intestine. The mammary glands of the expectant mother increase in size, colostrum can already appear. Also, it is better to start preparing for breastfeeding at this time- carefully wash your breasts with cool water and wipe with a towel. But be gentle, a strong impact may lead to a reduction in the uterus.
A mom can already trace the baby’s cyclic activity – periods of rest and vigorous movements. If the expectant mother is lucky, then the rest period will coincide with night time. But this does not always happen. The lungs of the child are actively preparing for work, more and more surfactant (substances that prevent the adhesion of the lungs) appears in them.
From about this moment, the baby’s eyes open up. The child can already distinguish between light and darkness. The baby easily falls asleep from motion, even if it is caused by the performance of ordinary household chores. In the baby’s body, the amount of various hormones increases, some of which enter the mother’s body.
During this period, the expectant mother is worried about the appeared stretch marks. In order to reduce the risk of their occurrence, you need to lubricate the skin with oil or a special cream.
The kid continues to develop and grow. If a bright light from the lamp falls on the stomach, the child will turn away and close his eyes.
During this period, you need to carefully monitor the health of the expectant mother, weight gain, pulse, pressure and other parameters. You can also do CTG to listen to the baby’s heart beats. The fetus continues to gain weight. The baby’s brain is becoming more complex. It is believed that from this moment the child can already see dreams.
Around this time, the baby begins to show his character, show what he likes and what doesn’t. It can be a reaction to sounds, bright lights, or even to foods that mom eats.
The baby still needs a large amount of protein, vitamins and other nutrients. The child is rapidly increasing its weight, and nutrients are needed for the normal development and growth of the fetus. A babby is no longer so active, its size does not allow free movement in the uterus.
Around this period, the child takes its position before childbirth: longitudinal, transverse or oblique. The future mother’s breast swells, colostrum begins to stand out actively. The body of the pregnant woman is preparing for childbirth. Around this time, the third ultrasound is performed. It allows not only to see the baby, but also to evaluate the blood flow of the placenta, umbilical cord and the child himself.
Fetal Development – 33rd week
The rhythm of the baby’s life gradually coincides with the life of the mother. He loves walks, familiar voices, pleasant sounds. And if the child starts kicking hard, you can calm him down right in the stomach.
The most important event of this period is the almost complete maturation of the baby’s lungs. True, the baby is not ready to go out into the big world by this time: he has not scored the right amount of fatty tissue and cannot control his body temperature. Therefore, premature birth at this time is so far dangerous.
A lack of vitamin E at this stage increases the risk of severe complications, preeclampsia, which can lead to forced termination of pregnancy. Therefore, it is still very important to take care of nutrition and vitamins.
The grease on the baby’s body thickens, he is preparing to meet his parents. At this point, the weight of the child can reach two and a half kilograms. The baby is still gaining body fat to retain heat in the environment. Taking care of your health, lack of stress, as well as folic acid, vitamins D and B1 helps avoiding preterm birth.
The baby is almost fully formed, but his nervous system and immunity are still developing. Infant subcutaneous fat is still accumulating. But the future mother can feel the first false contractions. In such a way, the muscles prepare for the upcoming birth.
This time is considered quite suitable for childbirth. The baby has finally completed its development, the body of the future mother begins to prepare for the birth of a child. Oxytocin, prostaglandins and other biologically active substances are released. Contractions can intensify, and a mucous plug can move from the cervix.
Fetal Development – 38–40th week
The baby’s head lowers into the pelvic area and the baby is about to be born. It’s time to pack the bag so that the trip to the hospital does not take you by surprise.