Week to Week - Fetal Development
As a new mother, you will probably spend most of the stages of your pregnancy thinking about the developmental phases. Typically, the growth of a baby follows a natural course of growth.
Ovulation, Fertilization, and Conception
The first trimester of pregnancy begins with ovulation, an inseminated egg, and conception. Near the fifth week, the fertilized egg is already nested into the uterine wall. It is during this point the brain, spinal cord, heart, lungs, digestion, and the visual aspects of the face begin development. By the end of the eighth week, the umbilical cord, placenta, the offshoots of the arms, legs, fingers, and toes become apparent.
During the eleventh to twelfth, the fetus demonstrates movement. The fetus is evident with the use of ultrasound, and it is between the eighteenth to twenty-sixth week that gender is well defined. The fetus measures about 2-1/2 inches long, and it can weigh close to a 1/2 oz. The heartbeat can be heard with a Doppler.
The signs and symptoms that an obstetrician or midwife should be aware of include the following:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Prolonged abdominal or pelvic pain
- Persistent back pain
- Severe headache
- Blurred vision
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Swollen hands and feet
- Urination with a burning sensation
- Fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Increased or decreased activity of the baby
- Progressive, tense contractions
- Water breaking or flush of vaginal secretion
Pregnancy is truly a remarkable period of transformation. In just 280 days from the last menstrual period, a tiny fertilized egg develops into a 7 to 8 pound baby girl or boy. The miracle of birth is among the marvelous gifts that nature bestows.