Fetal Development Chart - The First Nine Months
Sperm joins with the ovum (egg) to form one cell - smaller
than a grain of salt. The new life has inherited 23 chromosomes
from each parent, 46 in all. This one cell contains the complex
genetic blueprint for every detail of human development -
the child's sex, hair and eye color, height and skin tone.
Days 3 - 4
The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube into the
uterus, where the lining has been prepared for implantation.
Days 5 - 9
During this time, the fertilized egg implants itself in the
rich lining of the uterus and begins to draw nourishment.
Days 10 - 14
The developing embryo signals its presence through placental
chemicals and hormones, preventing the mother from menstruating.
Foundations of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system are
The heart begins to beat.
The backbone and muscles are forming. Arms, legs, eyes and
ears have begun to show.
At one month old, the embryo is 10,000 times larger than the
original fertilized egg - and developing rapidly. The head
ispumping increasing quantities of blood through the circulatory
system. The placenta forms a unique barrier that keeps the
mother's blood separate while allowing food and oxygen to
pass through the embryo.
Five fingers can be discerned in the hand. The eyes darken
as pigment is produced.
Brain waves can be detected and recorded.
The liver is now taking over the production of blood cells,
and the brain begins to control movement of muscles and organs.The
mother is about to miss her second period and has probably
confirmed that she is pregnant.
The embryo begins to move spontaneously. The jaw forms, including
teeth buds in the gums. Soon the eyelids will seal to protect
the embryo's developing light-sensitive eyes, and will reopen
at about the seventh month.
At a little more than an inch long, the developing life is
now called a fetus - Latin for "young one" or "offspring".
Everythingis now present that will be found in a fully developed
adult. The heart has been beating for more than a month, the
stomach produces digestive juices and the kidneys have begun
to function. Forty muscle sets begin to operate in conjunction
with the nervous system. The fetus' body responds to touch,
although the mother will not be able to feel movement until
the fourth or fifth month.
Fingerprints are already evident in the skin. The fetus will
curve its fingers around an object placed in the
palm of its hand.
The uterus has now doubled its size. The fetus can squint,
swallow and wrinkle its forehead.
At this time, the fetus is about two inches long. Urination
occurs. The face has assumed a baby's profile, and muscle
movements are becoming more coordinated.
The fetus now sleeps, awakens, and exercised its muscles energetically
- turning its head, curling its toes, and opening and closing
its mouth. The palm, when stroked, will make a tight fist.
The fetus breathes amniotic fluid to help develop its respiratory
Fine hair has begun to grow on the head, and sexual differentiation
has become apparent.
By the end of this month, the fetus is eight to ten inches
in length and weighs a half pound or more. The mother will
probably start to "show" now. The ears are functioning,
and there is evidence that the fetus hears quite a bit: the
mother's voice and heartbeat as well as external noises. The
umbilical cord has become an engineering marvel, transporting
300 quarts of fluids per day and completing a round-trip of
fluids every 30 seconds.
Half the pregnancy has now passed, and the fetus is about
12 inches long. The mother had definitely begun to feel movement
by now. If a sound is especially loud or startling, the fetus
may jump in reaction to it.
Oil and sweat glands are functioning. The delicate skin of
the growing baby is protected from the fetal waters by a specialointment
called "vernix". If the baby were born this month
and given special care, he would survive.
The baby now uses the four senses of vision, hearing taste
and touch. He can recognize his mother's voice.
The skin begins to thicken, with a layer of fat stored underneath
for insulation and nourishment. Antibodies increasingly build
up. The baby absorbs a gallon of amniotic fluid per day; the
fluid is completely replaced every three hours.
Toward the end of this month, the baby is ready for birth.
The average duration of pregnancy is 280 days from the first
day of the mother's last menstrual period, but this varies.
Most babies (85 percent to 95 percent) are born between 266
and 294 days. By this time the infant normally weighs 6 to
9 pounds, and his heart is pumping about 250 gallons of blood
a day. He is fully capable of life outside the womb.
Courtesy of Focus on the Family.