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Nine months of pregnancy and fetal development
Pregnancy is the toughest and the most pampered and emotional time in a woman’s life. Those 9 months of nurturing a life inside your body is quite amazing and memorable. Let’s see how a baby grows and develops in those 9 months.
The fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus lining and is called an embryo. The embryo rests in a sac of fluid that acts as a protective shield.
Major organs like heart, liver, lungs, spinal cord, and stomach start forming in this month. Tiny ears, ankles, toes, eyelids, fingers, and sexual organs begin developing. The fetus is now in the amniotic sac and has developed a head (equal to the size of the body) and a brain with two lobes. The baby is now about an inch long and weighs about 28 grams.
Baby’s heart has four chambers now and it beats at the rate of 120-160 beats per minute. Fingers and toes start growing soft nails while the tooth buds start forming under the gums. Nose and lips begin to show up. Kidneys develop and start functioning. The fetus may make slight movements, which won’t be very evident yet. The baby is around 4 inches long and weighs over 28-30 grams.
The fetus is covered in soft fine hair called lanugo and develops a transparent pinkish skin. Eyebrows and eyelashes begin to appear. Fat starts accumulating beneath the skin, while bones start making blood cells. The sexual organs have formed completely by now. Baby has a strong heartbeat and develops vocal cords and taste buds. He is now 6-7 inches long and weighs about 170 grams.
By this time, the baby is half its birth length and measures about 18 cms. Fingernails are well developed and reach the fingertips. Legs are in proportion with the body. Movements increase and you can feel your baby kicking and moving. Baby weighs around 340 grams.
Your baby’s organs are fully formed and his hearing ability is well developed, making him responsive to noise. The face is structured, with eyes being more prominent as the cheeks are yet to be filled up with fat. The reddish skin, which is covered with a waxy substance “vernix”, is extremely delicate with very little fat underneath. The body looks more in proportion with the head and is about 12 inches long and 450-680 grams.
Baby starts making strong movements like kicking and stretching in this month. Bones start hardening while the lanugo begins to fade away and hair on the head get denser. Eyebrows grow and eyes begin to open slightly, making him react to strong light. The bone marrow starts producing blood. Baby may now be about 15 inches long and weigh 1.1 kg.
Your baby becomes plumper by now. You will be able to feel his heel or elbow against your abdomen. His eyes will be open while he is awake. If it’s a boy, his testicles will descend into the scrotum. By the end of 32 weeks, he will settle in an upside down position. He will now be 16-18 inches long and weigh 1800-2270 grams.
Baby grows to its full size by now and lanugo almost disappears. Sometime between 36-40 weeks, baby’s head will engage i.e. the head will lie just above the cervix. Toenails reach the tip of the toes. The baby is about 20 inches long and weighs 2700-4000 grams.
Finally, after a journey of 9 months, your little bundle of joy is ready to arrive. You are born as a mother when you give birth to your child.