Your pregnancy guide to a journey of life
You are about to embark on an incredible journey. A lot of changes will occur during the development of your baby so, in order to simplify the week-by-week pregnancy stages, we’ve grouped them together into eight categories.
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Here’s what to expect:
0 – 7 Weeks
• Fertilisation takes place and signs of pregnancy occur.
• The gender of your baby is determined.
• Once the sperm and the egg have merged, cell division takes place and within six days or more 100 cells have formed.
• Amniotic fluid starts to collect as a protective barrier for your baby and the umbilical cord starts to develop.
• Your baby’s heart begins to beat at 18 days and the embryo already has a primitive sense of touch.
• The head, mouth, eyes and ears begin to form.
8 – 12 Weeks
• The neural tube is almost complete. This tube will eventually become your baby’s spine.
• The heart has split into the four chambers and the brain, eyes, lungs and intestines are all forming.
• Cartilage and bones form throughout along with your baby’s face, tongue and milk teeth buds.
• Finger and toenails start to grow and the digestive system begins to function.
13 – 16 Weeks
• This is one of the most exciting pregnancy stages: your baby has an identity – fingerprints are in place!
• The liver and pancreas start to work and the vocal cords develop.
• The neck is complete and your baby is practising breathing. Your baby can also urinate and the ears are in place.
• At this stage you can feel your baby’s movements, similar to the flutter of a butterfly.
17 – 20 Weeks
• Your baby’s reflexes include sucking, swallowing and blinking, and the heart pumps 23 litres of blood a day.
• The adult tooth buds are forming behind the milk tooth buds and the sensory system is forming.
• Hair, eyebrows and eyelashes are growing thicker, and your baby is gaining weight.
• All the female organs are developed if it’s a girl, and the prostate is starting to develop if it’s a boy.
21 – 26 Weeks
• Your baby’s legs are in proportion to the body and the brain is growing rapidly.
• The bones in the middle ear that control balance are hardened and your baby is rocked to sleep by movement.
• The nostrils start to open with a sense of smell and your baby can hear sounds.
• If it’s a boy, the testes are descending into the scrotum.
27 – 31 Weeks
• Your baby’s senses are becoming stronger. Baby will turn towards light and recognise mom’s voice.
• The head is getting bigger and groves in the brain are forming to control primitive breathing.
• The heartbeat can be heard with the naked ear.
• Your baby is sucking its thumb for comfort.
32 – 36 Weeks
• Your baby’s kidneys and liver are ready for minimum function. Fat layers are forming under the skin.
• The lungs are getting stronger and your baby is practising breathing.
• At this pregnancy stage, babies born from week 35 should survive without any major problems.
• All your baby’s senses are developed and the dream cycle sleep is now beginning.
37 – 40 Weeks
• Primitive reflexes are in place, such as grabbing a finger.
• Your baby drinks almost ½ a litre of amniotic fluid and you can feel it hiccuping. The first stool is also forming.
• Your baby turns head first towards your pelvis for birth. The organs and lungs are finally ready for the outside world.
• The baby triggers labour through a chemical release into the mother’s system.
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