Even before you find out you’re pregnant, which is around the sixth week of pregnancy, your baby is busy growing inside of you. Here’s a look at what’s happening in your tummy.
The First Term (Weeks 1 to 12)
The embryo is made up of two layers of cells where body parts and organs form. The brain, spinal cord, and heart develop. After so, its arm and leg buds appear.
On the eighth week, external body structures and major organs begin to develop. The arms and legs are growing with slightly webbed fingers and toes. The eyes appear on the face with eyelids, which will not open until the 28th week. The sex organ is also developing, while the umbilical cord is visible. The heart beats in a regular pattern, and your doctor may allow you to hear it during your ultrasound.
When the first term ends, the fetus’s muscles and nerves start to be more active. The external sex organ is distinguishable, although doctors wait until the 20th week to confirm the gender. The fetus is about one ounce (28 grams) and three inches long.
The Second Term (Weeks 13 to 28)
By the 16th week, your baby’s skeleton continues to harden and muscle tissue forms. The translucent skin covering the body will soon appear opaque. He learns the sucking reflex, and meconium develops in the tummy.
If you haven’t felt your baby move, which you’ll notice between 16 and 22 weeks, you may sense fluttering by the 20th week. His eyebrows, eyelashes, and nails are in place. The baby is covered in lanugo, or fine hair, and a coating known as vernix to protect his developing skin. This is the best time to read or sing to your child since he can now hear better.
He’s looking more like a baby by the 24th week, with his wrinkly skin smoothening as he stores fat. Hair grows on his head while fingerprints and taste buds form. The baby’s lungs are developed but will not work just yet. He’s learning the startle reflex, and he sleeps and wakes regularly. By the end of the second term, your baby is about one and a half pounds (680 grams) and 12 inches long.
The Third Term (Weeks 29 to 40)
During the third term, you can feel kicks and jabs from your baby. His eyes open and close and even sense light changes. The lungs are fully developed and he looks rounder with fat. He’ll gain about half a pound every week. The bones are completely formed as well.
At 37 weeks, the vernix thickens and the lanugo falls off. As the baby grows, you won’t be feeling forceful movements but rather wiggles and stretches. He’s considered full term and the delivery date is close. By now, your child’s organs are fully functional and he may position himself ‘head-down’ for birth.
Once you deliver, your baby may range from six pounds (almost three kilograms) to nine pounds (four kilograms) and be 19 to 21 inches long. Remember, though, that healthy babies come in different sizes.