Finding out you are pregnant can be one of the most exciting times of your life. You dream of holding your baby, covering him with kisses and holding his little hand as he takes his first steps. Long before any of these things can happen however, your baby will grow and develop within your body.
The first several weeks of your pregnancy are spent getting through conception. The egg and sperm come together and become a zygote. By the fourth week, the zygote will become implanted in your uterus and begin to draw its nourishment. This is the point that the placenta also begins to form.
During the fifth week of pregnancy, your baby’s heart, brain and spinal cord begin to develop. Your baby is approximately 1/8-inch long now.
By the seventh and eighth week, your baby’s facial features begin to form; his body begins to form tiny arms and legs that resemble buds. The brain also starts its rapid development at this point in the pregnancy and your baby is about 1/3 inch long.
Your baby’s neck will begin formation about 10 weeks into your pregnancy; his eyelids will become clearly defined.
At week 12, your baby’s fingernails will form, and he will begin to look like a tiny human.
It is during the second trimester that your baby’s heartbeat is detectable. Now she has organs that function and has developed a tiny rib cage.
By the 13th week, your baby will be 3 inches long and weigh about 3 oz., according to the Mayo Clinic. Your baby will begin to frown and squint during the 16th week and her ears will finish forming and locate in their permanent place.
At 17 weeks, your baby will begin to develop fat that will deposit under her skin. This fat will not only provide energy for the baby, but it will also help keep her warm once she has entered the world. Your baby can hear your heartbeat and loud outside noises beginning in week 18 of your pregnancy.
By the 21st week, you will begin to feel your baby moving and you have reached the halfway mark. She weighs about 1 lb. and will have begun sleeping and waking on a daily basis. Her hands will be completely developed by week 25. If she were born at this point, she could survive with proper and intensive medical attention.
Your baby weighs more than 2 lbs. at the 27-week mark and has begun to wake and sleep on a daily basis. During the 29th week, he becomes able to distinguish different voices and sounds and may respond to music and being read to.
Your baby will have a difficult time moving around in the uterus by the 32nd week, because he has gotten so large. He weighs about 4 lbs., and his lungs are almost fully developed. As you reach your 35th week of pregnancy, your baby will develop layers of fat just under his skin. These fat deposits will help keep him warm after he is born.
You pregnancy is considered full-term at 38 weeks. The baby is about 7.5 lbs. and is 18.5 inches long. He is ready to be born and let you hold his little hand, cover him in kisses and hold him in your arms.
- pregnancy image by Dor Sela from Fotolia.com