The in­side story Your baby’s monthly mile­stones

Take a look at what your grow­ing baby is up to in the womb!

Your Pregnancy - - Contents -

If you take a blood test at a lab­o­ra­tory, it’s pos­si­ble to get a pos­i­tive re­sult as early as one week af­ter con­cep­tion. If you test at home this early, you may get a false neg­a­tive at this stage. Your foetus has started to wee. The kid­neys are still prim­i­tive, but they al­ready pro­duce some urine. The fa­cial fea­tures de­velop. Each ear be­gins as a lit­tle fold of skin at the side of the head. Tiny buds that even­tu­ally grow into arms and legs are form­ing. Fin­gers, toes and eyes are also form­ing. At 12 weeks, your grow­ing em­bryo starts to yawn, be­tween one and three times an hour. Finger­nails also ap­pear now. The begin­nings of teeth are form­ing. The re­pro­duc­tive or­gans also de­velop, but the gen­der is dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish on ul­tra­sound at this stage. Lanugo is very fine hair that cov­ers the foetus’ whole body. Your lit­tle foetus even has a mous­tache of lanugo. It dis­ap­pears be­fore birth. Ele­phants, whales, seals and pri­mates also have lanugo, but only the hu­man be­ing loses it be­fore birth. At around week 20, girl foe­tuses will al­ready have pro­duced about seven mil­lion egg cells – the to­tal amount they will ever have. At birth, there are around two mil­lion, and at pu­berty there will be about 400 000 left. You may be­gin to feel your baby move at this stage. At week 24, your baby is the size of a sweet melon, and the or­gans are fully formed. The baby now has the face of a new­born baby, al­though the eyes may look prom­i­nent be­cause fat pads are yet to build up in the cheeks. If born pre­ma­turely, your baby may sur­vive af­ter the 23rd week with in­ten­sive care. Your baby’s main job right now is putting the fin­ish­ing touches on ma­jor or­gan sys­tems, such as the brain, lungs, and liver. Your grow­ing baby can taste and smell, and the eyes can pro­duce tears. The bones are al­most fully de­vel­oped, though still soft. Weight gain is rapid from now on. The brain will in­crease 400 to 500 per­cent in weight be­tween now and de­liv­ery. Your baby prac­tices breath­ing mo­tions in prepa­ra­tion for birth. All five senses are de­vel­oped, and REM (dream-cy­cle) sleep is be­gin­ning. Lanugo be­gins to dis­ap­pear. Your baby will con­tinue to ma­ture and de­velop re­serves of body fat. You might be sur­prised to feel your baby hic­cup some­times! With one month to go, your baby is get­ting a bit cramped for space in the womb. Still, you should be able to feel your baby move more than 10 times a day. You might see him suck his thumb on an ul­tra­sound. Your baby is now fully formed and ready to be born! He could go past his due date, how­ever, so your doc­tor will mon­i­tor you care­fully to see if you need to be in­duced. His skull bones aren’t fused yet, which makes his jour­ney through the birth canal a lit­tle eas­ier.

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