The Facts of Life
The Facts About Sex Are Only the Beginning of the Facts of Life
The moment your mother’s egg was fertilized, 46 chromosomes with 30,000 genes combined to determine all your physical characteristics: sex, facial features, body type, color of hair, eyes and skin. Even more amazingly, intelligence and personality – the way you think and feel – were already in place within your genetic code. At the moment of conception, you were already essentially and uniquely “you.”
- Conception – sperm fertilizes egg
- Fertilized egg implants in lining of uterus
- Mother misses first menstrual cycle
- Eyes developing
- Foundation laid for brain and spinal cord
- Heart beats regularly (24 days)
- Arm and leg buds appear
- Muscles forming
- 1/4 inch long -10,000 times larger than the fertilized egg
A wondrous and dynamic chain of events takes place within the womb. In the brief span of 2 months, you progressed from a single cell to a tiny human with all the organs present and functioning. The rest of your time was devoted to refinement, growth and practice. While still in the womb, you began to move, swallow and “breathe” amniotic fluid, react to stimuli and generally prepare yourself for life on the “outside.”
- Brain waves recorded
- Lungs forming
- Muscles working together
- Reflexes present
- Begins to move
- Skeleton formed
- Ears and earlobes formed
- Eyelids forming
- Responds to touch
- Fingers and toes defined
- Permanent fingerprints
- Sex identifiable
- 1-1/4 inch long
By 9 weeks, you were cute as a button – with large eyes, a fine little nose, and a mouth which occasionally sucked a tiny thumb. Since you were still so small and not cramped for space you had plenty of room to move. Even though your mother couldn’t feel you yet, you had already perfected a somersault, backflip and scissor kick.
- Can suck thumb
- Can hear
- Begins to hiccup
- Fingers can grasp object
- Lung and brain growth largely complete
- Eyelids close if touched
- Baby moves vigorously
- 3 inches long
- Looks like a tiny human doll
By the time your mom’s pregnancy “showed,” you were already fully formed. All your tiny parts needed was the time to grow and develop in preparation for birth.
- May quadruple weight in 4th month
- Grows from 4 inches at 13 weeks to 6 inches at 16 weeks
- Heart pumps 6 gallons of blood each day
- Downy hair covers body
- Mother feels baby moving
- Weighs 1 lb. (5 months)
- 1 foot long
- Has chance to survive outside the womb
- Fingernails and toenails present
- Mother feels baby hiccup
- Weighs 3 pounds (7 months)
- Lungs continue to mature
- Fat deposits make skin smoother
- At the end of the ninth month, baby weighs 7-1/4 pounds, is 20 inches long
“Birth” isn’t the beginning of your life – it’s just one chapter in a continuing story. In fact, you’ll continue to develop, just like you did in the womb, until you reach the ancient age of approximately 23 years.
Now, what do you know about the first 9 months of your life?
What are the normal stages of fetal development? (4)
Day 1: Fertilization occurs.
Day 6: Embryo implants in the uterus.
Day 18: Human heartbeat can be detected.
Day 21: Foundations for many organs are apparent.
Day 31: Human anatomy (arms, legs, etc.) develops.
Day 38: Every muscle block is present; baby begins moving independently.
Day 40: Brain waves can be detected.
6 Weeks: EKG and EEG can be done; fingers and toes are forming.
8 Weeks: Every organ system is present, baby is swimming in amniotic fluid.
12 Weeks: Baby has sleep/wake cycle, digests food, swallows, excretes, breathes amniotic fluid, has vocal cords, and cries.
4. Focus on the Family, “The First Nine Months of Life,” Revised edition, 1993.