How A Baby Grows

Copyright 2006 WomanCentric Inc.

Once a woman becomes pregnant, they can become fascinated by the way that the baby is growing inside of her. It’s a miraculous process, the way that a child grows into a complete human being inside of a woman. But it doesn’t have to be a mystery that only shows itself during the ultrasound appointments. Finding out about the way that your child is growing and changing will help you become even more attached to this new little person.

Your body changes as the baby inside of you changes. With each new development, your body needs to adapt to protect it more. And as you get closer to the actual birth, your body will begin to shift in order to ready itself for the birthing process – the opening of the hips and the cervix, for example.

But what about baby?

At about seven weeks, you’ve probably just found out about your pregnancy and you’re very excited. Right now, baby is an embryo that’s about the size of a blackberry or a raspberry. He or she has a beating heart that’s very small, but strong. This embryo is going to be growing a lot in the next few weeks.

At about eight weeks, the baby is about the size of a lima bean and is moving around a lot. You might experience this as a sensation of gas or fluttering. That’s actually the baby moving around, though it’s not begin enough for you to feel on the surface of your abdomen. The baby also have webbed fingers at this point and it beginning to develop toes as well.

In the third month, the baby is approximately the size of a lime and is transparent in color. At this point, he or she is going to start looking like a baby with a distinct face that you will be able to see on an ultrasound. At four months, the baby is about four and a half inches long and pumping blood throughout their body. On the outer layer of his or her body, there is a fine layer of hair called lanugo. The body is growing rapidly in the next few weeks and the urinary system is working as well as the circulatory system – the heart can pump about twenty five quarts of blood per day at this stage.

At five months, the baby’s skin is covered with vernix caseosa to protect it further. He or she is about ten inches long – heel to head. Baby is starting to test out their digestive system by swallowing a lot more. In this stage, he or she is also producing meconium, a sticky messy substance that you will be able to see in their first diaper. In the next month, baby grows further to about a foot in length and is showing eyelids and eyebrows. The skin is becoming wrinkled and the baby weighs about a pound.

In the final trimester, a seven month baby will weigh just over two pounds and will measure about fifteen inches in length. The baby is starting to accumulate body fat in order to be ready to live outside of your body. At the eighth month, the baby can have hair on their head (or rather, fuzz) and will probably be turned upside down now in order to be able to be born easily. The baby can weight about four pounds at this time.

In the final month, baby weights about five to six pounds (this will vary widely from mom to mom) and measures over eighteen inches in length usually. This is a fully developed person now and is ready to come out to meet you. If your baby isn’t quite ready and isn’t showing signs of contractions by a week after your due date, your physician may recommend that your labor be induced. This will make sure that complications don’t arise from baby being in your womb for too long.

All babies and all mothers are different, so this is just a few guidelines for a baby’s growth. Some grow faster and others do not. But in the process of pregnancy, it’s what happens at the end that matters: the birth of a healthy and happy baby.

Jacqueline Flynn