The timeline for baby development progresses over a period of nine months. Those nine months are divided into a time frame known as three trimesters. Ideally, the fetus stays within the womb until it is fully developed. This decreases the chances of the newborn baby having medical complications immediately after birth.
The first trimester encompasses the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy starts once the sperm fertilizes the egg. As a result of fertilization, a zygote is created. The zygote contains the same number of chromosomes from the male and female. The zygote has a total of 46 chromosomes. Chromosomes contain the genetic material that will determine the features of the baby, such as sex, height, hair and eye color, hair texture, etc
The cells begin to divide and the zygote grows in the woman’s uterus. The zygote becomes an embryo. A placenta starts to form. The placenta provides nourishment to the fetus throughout the growth process in the uterus.
The circulatory and nervous systems develop in the fourth and fifth week of pregnancy. Different parts of the fetus, such as the brain, heart, spinal cord, kidney, lungs and other organs start to grow. The woman is no longer able to menstruate due to chemicals being released in her body during the pregnancy.
Hair and facial features start to grow during the sixth to eighth week. The essential organs also continue to develop. The eyes, ears, arms and legs become visible. By the end of the eighth week, the embryo grows into a fetus. Genitals, the neck, and toes develop. At the end of twelve weeks, the fetus is about three inches long.
The thirteenth through twentieth week of the pregnancy is the second trimester. It is common to feel movement from the fetus during the second trimester. The fetus will have fingerprints at this time. The fetus will also be able to start hearing sounds. The expansion of the uterus becomes more prominent. By this point, the woman starts showing physical indications of being pregnant.
Rapid growth occurs during the third trimester as the fetus puts on weight. The fetus becomes stronger. Movements by the fetus can become disruptive to the woman or cause her to feel discomfort at times. Some women may experience a weak bladder or have back pain during this time period. Usually, at this stage the fetus is developed and strong enough to survive outside of the uterus. When the pregnancy is over, the woman begins to feel contractions and engages in the process of childbirth.
Receiving prenatal care is very important. Sometimes the pregnancy may trigger serious health conditions that can jeopardize the well-being of the woman and fetus. Regularly consulting with a doctor will increase the chances of any medical issues being spotted and addressed early on. A doctor can also advise of ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle with exercise and nutrition.
Fetal development is not exactly the same for each person. Receiving medical care from a physician on a regular basis will increase the possibility of having a healthy and safe pregnancy. A medical doctor will also be able to address any questions or concerns that a woman has regarding her pregnancy.
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