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Week to Week Pregnancy

Week to Week Pregnancy



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Published by Raven
A detailed article about the wonders of pregnancy week to week to better inform you of this wonderful thing called life!
A detailed article about the wonders of pregnancy week to week to better inform you of this wonderful thing called life!

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Published by: Raven on Apr 12, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Week to Week PregnancyWeek 1Your period begins. Officially, this is the first week of your pregnancy, butthere's no talk of a baby yet. In only a few weeks, you'll find out whether or notyou're pregnant. For now, you have your period as usual and don't know that it'sgoing to be your last one for quite a while. Your uterus must rid itself of theendometrial lining along with some blood, so that it can wait for a possiblyfertilized egg with a fresh interior.Week 2At the end of this week, it's going to happen. A ripe egg cell will jump out ofyour ovary and will be caught by grabby tentacles and sucked into your Fallopiantube. There, it will float downstream towards your uterus, waiting for visitors.That could be a flood of sperm cells; each milliliter of ejaculate contains about2,500,000 of them. On average, some 500 million sperm cells will leave the bodywith each ejaculation. These sperm cells will fanatically start looking for youregg cell. They'll swim as hard as they can to cover the 6 ¾ inches (17centimeters) that separates the entrance of the vagina from the egg cell. One ofthe sperm cells will be the winner of the race and this chosen one will stick hishead into the egg cell. The gates will be closed immediately and all the othersperm cells will miss the boat. The winning sperm cell will lose his tail and thehistorical moment is complete: the egg is fertilized!Week 3For a short while after the impregnation, nothing happens. But after 24 hours theegg starts to divide, divide, divide and while doing so that small ball of cellsfinds itself a suitable spot in the wall of the uterus. Normally, the uterusexpels everything foreign that comes in. But this time something extraordinaryhappens: instead of resisting, the uterus relaxes, allowing the small egg to digitself into its wall. This digging in usually takes place at the upper side of theuterus, but it can also happen in the endometrium at the front or side wall.Wherever the embryo nestles, the placenta will later develop.Week 4The dot in your belly now measures 1 millimeter. It's dividing very rapidly andbeginning to show some structure already. The young embryo is busy creating theplacenta and umbilical cord, followed by the spinal cord and then the brain. In aweek, work on the gastrointestinal organs will start.week 5If the little embryo grows well, it will measure some 2 millimeters by now.It's asbig as a grain of rice and resembles a small bean. Lots of things are going on inthat bean-like structure. The first foundations are being laid for the heart andthe central nervous system. At the moment, that's not much more than a tube thatruns from head to tail. The thickenings at the top end of the tube (the littleheart tube) will form the heart. Although it doesn't have the shape of a heartyet, amazingly, it's already contracting.week 6
By now, your little bean measures 5 millimeters and has a small tail. Althoughsmall stumps - protolimbs -- have appeared on the sides, it doesn't look like ahuman-baby-to-be at all yet. It could be any kind of vertebrate,but it mostresembles a tadpole with bulging eyes on the sides. Holes for the ears will soondevelop and the mouth and jaws develop shortly after that . Two openings in thefront indicate the spot where later the nose will evolve.week 7Your little tadpole is no baby yet, but the little knobs on its sides are nowgrowing into real arms. A few more weeks and then they'll have hands and fingerswith tiny nails. Little legs with feet and toes appear, and then the face startsto develop. The eyes are open but haven't got irises yet. Compared to the rest ofthe body, the head is really big and it will stay like that for a while. Your babyis now growing at a rate of 1 millimeter a day and is about 0.4 inches (1centimeter) long. The nervous system is continuing to develop and work on creatingthe brain and spine is almost finished. The skull is translucent, so the brain isvisible. In the abdomen, the liver and stomach are growing. At the end of thisweek, the bones will start to ossify. And in the jaws, the beginnings of 20 milkteeth are being created.Week 8By now your baby is approximately three-quarters of an inch (2 centimeters) longand weighs about a gram. He keeps on developing at a rapid speed: the beginningsof a skeleton are being created, with cartilage prior to the actual formation ofbones. The little heart has started beating at about 60 times a minute, thestomach produces gastric juices, the liver makes blood cells and the brain startsworking. Now the resemblance to a tadpole is quite clear, because webbed fingersand toes appear on the hands and feet! In the meantime, your little bean isgrowing pretty fast: less than two weeks ago he was the size of a grain of rice,now he's as big as your thumbnail.Week 9Lots of things are going on now with your baby-to-be. A human being has manydouble body parts and organs that originate at the same time and develop into aright and left counterpart. A beautiful symmetry. Every cell knows exactly whereit has to be and what it has to develop into, without anyone telling it what todo. A 'little person' is almost complete, measuring about an inch in length andweighing some 2 grams, happily splashing around in its membrane filled withfluids.Week 10Your baby is now almost two inches (4.5 centimeters) tall and weighs 5 grams. It'snot much, but he is complete! In your belly sits a miniature person who in no wayresembles the tadpole of a few weeks ago. You can recognize his little face andthe eyelids are clearly visible. The vocal cords are forming and the inner ear andauricle have been formed, too. The first downy hairs are becoming visible. Theprocess of ossification is in full progress; the fingertips are hardening and soonthey will get miniscule nails. A bit later the toes will follow, because thedevelopment of an embryo (and of a baby as well) takes place from top to bottom.Although the gender already has been determined, you can't see whether it will bea boy or girl yet. At this stage, the umbilical cord between the embryo and the
wall of the uterus starts to function and a lot of work is done on creating theplacenta. That's because from now on your baby-to-be will grow rapidly and that'sonly possible when he's provided with a sufficient amount of nutrients via theplacenta and the umbilical cord.Week 11In a week's time, your baby's weight has doubled from 5 to 10 grams. He has grown0.4 inches (a full centimeter) and that growth continues. Your little one now hasa neck as well, enabling him to raise his head. He's been moving for a while now,but the future mom can't feel that yet. At this stage, the ovaries and testiclesare being formed and all internal organs slowly continue to grow. The heart hasbeen finished now, for example, so that the blood circulation can function and themuscles can strengthen. From this moment on the risk of fetal birth defect willdecrease, because once they have been formed organs are less sensitive to externalinfluences.The head is still disproportionately large - it's about the same size as the body.The eyes are finished, including the whites of the eye, iris and pupil. Up untilthe sixth month they'll stay closed; only then will the lids open and close.There's no need to see anyway, since it's dark inside the uterus; the only thinghe does is grow and happily swim around.Week 12Basically your little child has been fully formed except for his fat and brain,but he'll have to grow and develop during the coming months to be able to live onhis own outside of your body. All kinds of details have to be finished and formtheir definitive shape. At this stage, he'll open his mouth and swallow amnioticfluid. He practices sucking and will let the amniotic fluid flow in and out of hislittle lungs, which helps with the expanding and developing of his respiratorysystem. Maybe you'll wonder why babies don't drown in the amniotic fluid. Theanswer is simple: unborn babies aren't relying on their lungs for their oxygensupply, they get oxygen through the blood from the placenta.Maybe this week you'll hear his heart beat for the first time... a great moment!Now you have the definitive proof that a baby is growing in your belly. His littleheart beats really fast, about 160 beats per minute. Later during the pregnancythe rate will drop a bit, to somewhere between 120 and 160 beats per minute. Inthe meantime, your baby is swimming around peacefully, playing a bit with hisumbilical cord and sucking his little thumb; he can already yawn and sleep a bit,too. If only you could have a peek inside to say hello...Week 13The BabyThe baby is getting so big now he's starting to push up your uterus. He weighsjust over an ounce (30 grams) and measures almost 3 inches (about 7 centimeters).When not pregnant, a normal uterus is about the size of a small pear. Twelve weeksinto the pregnancy, the uterus has grown to the size of a big pear, after 16 weeksit's as big as a grapefruit and when you're 20 weeks pregnant it's the size of asmall melon. After 24 weeks of pregnancy it has become as big as a baby watermelonand after 28 weeks it is similiar in size to a balloon that's not fully inflated.By the time you're about to give birth, your uterus is as big as a fully inflatedballoon. Your cervix represents the tightly closed mouth of the balloon.A uterus can be positioned leaning towards the front or the back. If yours ispositioned towards the front, you can feel your uterus with your hands above the

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