How Is My Baby Growing?
All About Fetal Development
Nine months seems like a long time to be pregnant, and any pregnant woman will tell you that it can feel like forever, but growing a person takes time! Once you understand what is going on “in there” during pregnancy, you will see why.
3 – 8 weeks Pregnant
By three weeks, the baby has a heartbeat! At four weeks, eyes have begun to show and tiny arm and leg buds are growing. By five weeks of pregnancy, the woman has missed her first period. The face is forming and so is the brain. At six weeks, fingers are forming and by seven weeks, the feet form, with toes still needing to be formed. By eight weeks all the parts that form a human being are on the baby – just very tiny – about the size of a kidney bean!
9 – 14 Weeks Pregnant
At nine weeks, the baby’s eyes close and don’t open again until the 28th week, and the head is about half the baby’s length. The face looks very human now. Baby can even make a fist. At 16 weeks the body is pumping over five gallons of blood a day and baby can even suck. Babies often suck their thumbs! Genitals become well developed. Baby is about 3 inches long.
15 – 20 Weeks Pregnant
Ultrasound is often done at this point to check for normal development, you can even choose to find out if you are having a boy or a girl. You will also feel the baby move for the first time. The baby’s skin is almost transparent, and muscle and bones continue developing. The bones become harder also. The heartbeat can be heard with a stethoscope, and the baby has reached a length of about 8 inches. Babies born after 20 weeks are very premature, but they can and do survive!
21 – 28 Weeks Pregnant Body fat increases more rapidly, as does the brain’s development. Fingernails reach finger ends, bones are fully developed, and eyes open and close. The respiratory system continues to develop, and each day brings more milestones. The baby is about 15 inches long now and weighs in at a bit over 2 1/2 pounds.
29 – 33 Weeks Pregnant
Now the baby weighs about 4 1/2 pounds and is 17 inches long. Body fat is really increasing now, and breathing becomes more rhythmic, though the lungs are still not mature. The baby is covered with a fine hair, called lanugo. Calcium, iron and phosphorus are being stored in the baby’s body.
34 – 40 Weeks Pregnant
At 37 weeks the baby is considered full term and may be up to 21 inches long, typically weighing from 5 to 8 pounds. Most of the lanugo is gone, except on the upper back and shoulders. Actual hair may appear on the baby’s head, but some babies are born bald. Some pregnancies can last up to 42 weeks, although doctors generally do not allow women to go past that.
Now the exciting part: birth! No matter how it happens, it is a life-changing event for the mother, and other family members. Hopefully, prior to this day, mothers are prepared to give birth, either through talks with your doctor or by attending prenatal classes in your local area. Lots of adjustments need to be made, and babies need a lot of care and supplies: it takes a long time to get houses and hearts ready for a baby too.
If you are still considering your options at this time, try to find someone to talk to who can be impartial, and can support you regardless of what you decide to do. You may feel overwhelmed with the simplest decisions, like how to buy for the basic needs for you and your baby-to-be. This may be a sign that you are not ready to be a parent. Please remember that you do have a choice. It is never too late to consider an adoption plan.
If you want to talk about your options, please consider contacting us. We are happy to help you learn about the options you have.