Pregnancy gives couples the opportunity to transform their lives and take on the responsibility of nurturing and giving love to a part of themselves that grew inside the mother for 9 months. The growth of a baby inside the mother is one of nature’s most wondrous miracles. The baby develops from a single cell to a complete little human being in a time frame of 40 weeks, although babies develop at different rates since every pregnancy is unique with it’s own ups and downs.
Medical practitioners begin counting from the first day of the last menstrual period, baby production doesn’t begin until the actual moment of conception (when the egg is fertilized by a sperm).
Listed below according to months is a brief overview of what’s actually happening from conception to birth.
Month 1: The baby’s genetic blueprint is set the very moment the egg is fertilized. At this crucial moment, its sex, height, color of the eyes, color of the hair, etc are decided. The mother’s body would have started to make amniotic fluid to cushion the baby. By the end of the first month, the baby’s heart beat can be detected, this is the sign of a new life. The baby would be the size of a grain of rice by the end of the first month.
Month 2: By now the major organs like lungs, heart and kidneys are in place and they will continue to develop as time goes by. The baby’s facial features begin to form and the chin will be attached to the chest. Around this time the baby would be the size of a cashew nut. The head grows very quickly. As a result of this, the baby will be top heavy. The mother should consume 400 mcg of folic acid every day. This protects the mother and her baby from getting affected by medical conditions like spina bifida.
Month 3: The baby is the size of a lime around this time. The face begins to resemble that of a human being, however, the skin would still be transparent. Sex organs begin to develop; however, it would be difficult to identify the sex. After three months, the baby will be less susceptible to infections. Also after crossing this milestone, the risk of miscarriage reduces substantially.
Month 4: The placenta would be fully formed by now. Baby would be obtaining oxygen and all the nutrients with its help. By now the baby would have developed the ability to suck the thumb and to curl fingers and toes. The baby grows very quickly during this month. By the end of the month, the baby would be the size of an avocado. Tiny fingers and toe nails begin to appear. Hair, eyebrows and eyelashes begin to grow. Lanugo (unpigmented downy hair) appears all over the body. This helps to regulate the baby’s body temperature.
Month 5: The mother is halfway through her pregnancy. In spite of this fact the baby would be just a fraction of its birth weight. Around this time the baby looks skinny and weighs around 0.28 kg. The baby will begin to put on weight from now on. It will add around 56 grams each week. This is because of muscles, ligaments and fat. The baby’s skin would be coated with a greasy substance known as vernix. This vernix protects the baby from drying effect of the amniotic fluid in which it would be floating. By now the baby’s senses (smell, taste, hearing, sight and touch) would be developed.
Month 6: By now the baby is well formed. Even if it is born now, it will survive. Even though eyes would not be open yet, it can sense light and darkness. The baby will be very active around this time. This is because it would be trying to gain control over its limbs. It is also because there would be enough space to move around.
Month 7: The baby will put on weight very quickly during this month. It begins to prepare itself for life outside the mother’s womb. Lungs would be fully developed and produce a substance known as surfactant. This substance helps them to mature. The baby’s brain would be matured by now. It would be able to regulate the body temperature. At this stage the nerve cells in the brain begin to develop very quickly. It is a really exciting phase.
Month 8: By now, the baby feels congested in the mother’s womb as a result of which movements would reduce. The baby’s lanugo and vernix disappear. Its intestine fills with a green, tar-like substance known as meconium. All the organs begin to develop. The baby begins to pass water. The skin would be paler and less wrinkled.
Month 9: This is the final month of pregnancy. This month sees the baby fatten up. The baby is prepared to venture out of its mother’s womb. The baby’s body would be settled upside down with the head engaged to the mother’s pelvis. The baby may come out of the mother’s womb any day during the month.
During pregnancy, the mother has to take good care of herself. She is not just responsible for herself, but for another life inside her. People around her should treat her with great love and care.