Your Precious Baby's Life Began At The Moment of Conception!
Conception is the moment at which the sperm penetrates the ovum. Once
fertilized he or she is called a zygote at this stage, until reaching the uterus
3-4 days later. Fertilization: The sperm and egg join in the fallopian tube to
form a unique human being. Forty-six chromosomes combine, which
predetermine all of a person's physical characteristics.

The picture on the right is a very tiny baby, only thirty hours
after conception. Magnified here, he or she is no larger than
the head of a pin. Still rapidly dividing, the developing
embryo, called a zygote at this stage, floats down from the
fallopian tube and towards the uterus. The embryo may float
freely in the uterus for about 48 hours before implanting. Upon
implantation, complex connections between the mother and
embryo develop to form the placenta.

3 weeks - Once in the uterus, the developing embryo, called a
blastocyst, searches for a nice place to implant, where it actually
burrows beneath the surface of the uterus. The yolk sac,
produces blood cells during the early weeks of life. Your
unborn child is only one-sixth of an inch long, but is rapidly
developing. The backbone, spinal column, and nervous system
are forming. The kidneys, liver, and intestines are taking shape.

The heart begins to beat at about 20 days and is pumping
blood through the circulatory system.  The blood type may
be different than the mother's.

By the 20th day he or she has developed the foundations of
the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.  
At two months the mother can hear the baby's heartbeat
through an ultrasonic stethoscope.  Taste buds are beginning
to form and milk-teeth buds are present at 6½ weeks.  

Week 4 The embryo produces hormones which stop the
mother's menstrual cycle.

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Ultrasound commercial.

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5 weeks - Embryo is the size of a raisin. By day twenty-one, the embryo's tiny heart has begun beating. The neural tube enlarges into three parts, soon to become a very complex brain. The placenta begins functioning. The spine and spinal cord grows faster than the rest of the body at this stage and give the appearance of a tail. This disappears as the child continues to grow.

Life begins at conception-NOT birth.
Birth is one day in the life of a person who is already nine months old.

Week 6 The embryo is about 1/5 of an inch in length. A primitive
heart is beating. Head, mouth, liver, and intestines begin to take

7 weeks - Facial features are visible, including a mouth and tongue.
The eyes have a retina and lens. The major muscle system is
developed, and the unborn child practices moving. The child has
its own blood type, distinct from the mother's. These blood cells
are produced by the liver now instead of the yolk sac.

8 weeks - Your unborn child, called a fetus at this stage,
is about half an inch long. The tiny person is protected
by the amnionic sac, filled with fluid. Inside, the child
swims and moves gracefully. The arms and legs have
lengthened, and fingers can be seen. The toes will develop
in the next few days. Brain waves can be measured.
8 weeks

9 weeks - Through the medical technique called embrioscopy,  
the baby can be watched sleeping, waking-up, yawning, turning,  
and stretching; just like kids all around the world!

Week 10 The embryo is now about 1 inch in length.
Facial features, limbs, hands feet fingers and toes
become apparent. The nervous system is
responsive and many of the internal organs begin to
function. The heart is almost completely developed
and very much resembles that of a newborn baby.
An opening in the atrium of the heart and the
presence of a bypass valve divert much of the blood
away from the lungs, as the child's blood is
oxygenated through the placenta. Twenty tiny baby
teeth are forming in the gums.

12 weeks - Vocal chords are complete, and your child can and does
sometimes cry (silently)!  What an awesome baby you have! The brain is
fully formed, and the child can feel pain. The fetus may even suck his or her  
thumb. The eyelids now cover the eyes, and will remain shut until the seventh
month to protect the delicate optical nerve fibers.

"Life is present from the moment of conception."
- Dr. Jerome Lejeune, late professor and world renowned geneticist,
  University of Descarte, Paris

"A person's a person, no matter how small!"
- from "Horton Hears a Who," by Dr. Seuss, late famous children's author

Baby's Second Trimester!

Week 14 The fetus is now 3 inches long and weighs
almost an ounce. The muscles begin to develop and
sex organs form. Eyelids, fingernails, and toenails
also form. The child's spontaneous movements can
be observed. Muscles lengthen and become
organized. You will soon start feeling the first
flutters of the unborn child kicking and moving within.

15 weeks -
The fetus (which means little one)
 has an adult's taste buds and may be able to
savor the mother's meals. This little one is
already sucking his thumb!

16 weeks (above) - Five and a half inches tall and only six
ounces in weight, eyebrows, eyelashes and fine hair appear.
Your child can grasp with his hands, kick,
and even somersault! What a truly
wonderful baby you have!

Week 18 The fetus is now about
 5 inches long. The child blinks,
grasps, and moves her mouth.
Hair grows on the head and body.
Week 18

20 weeks

By the fifth month: Babies born prematurely at 21 weeks regularly survive
but are prone to certain physical setbacks.
As science and medicine advance, the age of viability moves closer to conception and the
ability of neonatal specialists to address preemies health complications are improving.

20 weeks - Your child can hear and recognize your voice! Though still small and
fragile, the baby is growing rapidly and could possibly survive if born at this
stage. Fingernails and fingerprints appear. Sex organs are visible. Using an
ultrasound device, the doctor can tell if the child is a girl or a boy.
The child above is a baby girl.

Week 22 The fetus now weighs approximately 1/2 a pound and spans
about 10 inches from head to toe. Sweat glands develop, and the
external skin has turned from transparent to opaque.

Baby's Third Trimester!

24 weeks - Seen here at
six months, the unborn child
is covered with a fine,
downy hair called lanugo.
Its tender skin is protected
by a waxy substance called
vernix. Some of this
substance may still be on
the child's skin at birth at
which time it will be quickly
absorbed. The child
practices breathing by
inhaling amnionic fluid
into developing lungs.

Week 26 Your baby, still called a fetus can now inhale,
exhale and even cry. Eyes have completely formed,
and the tongue has developed taste buds. Under
intensive medical care the fetus has over a 50%
chance of surviving outside the womb.

Week 30 The fetus is usually capable of living outside the womb and
would be considered premature at birth. For several months, the
umbilical cord has been the baby's lifeline to the mother.
Nourishment is transferred from the mother's blood, through the
placenta, and into the umbilical cord to the fetus. If the mother ingests
any toxic substances, such as drugs or alcohol, the baby receives
these as well.

32 weeks - The fetus sleeps 90-95% of the day, and sometimes
experiences REM sleep, an indication of dreaming.

Week 40 This marks the end of the normal gestational
period. Your child, now approximately seven and a
half pounds, is ready for life outside the womb!

At birth the placenta will detach from the side of the
uterus and the umbilical cord will cease working as the
child takes his first breaths of air. The child's breathing
will trigger changes in the structure of the heart and
bypass arteries which will force all blood to now travel
through the lungs. For 9 months, your child has been
developing within the womb. Now he or she is
prepared to make an exit!

Birth in human beings typically occurs 270 days after conception, near the
end of a full 9 months. Shortly before birth (typically a few weeks for first
births but sometimes only a few hours for later pregnancies), the fetus
usually rotates into a head-downward position. This movement is
referred to as lightening because it releases pressure on the mother's
abdomen. For women giving birth for the first time, labor will usually
last between 12 and 24 hours, with an average of 14 hours. However,
for women who have given birth before,  labor usually averages
only 6 hours.