Your baby development explained
Article written by:
Ms. Lauren Grech,
B.Sc. (Hons.) (Melit.) Midwifery
After some time absorbing the news and acclimatising to the reality that you are pregnant, you may start to wonder about the human life growing inside you; how is it going to look like? Do we call it ‘it’? This leads to the next question… is it a boy or a girl? Whilst all of these questions are natural to ask, have you ever wondered though, what is REALLY going on in the uterus?
We all know how babies are made. It all starts off from two specialised cells; the egg (referred to as ovum in biological terms) from the female and the sperm from the male. These unite becoming one, then divide into two, then into four, then into eight cells and so on…which keep multiplying as a ball of cells for the first few days. Exactly after fertilisation, the baby’s genes and DNA is processed immediately. This means that at this point, the characteristics the baby will possess as a human being, are officially determined.
The initial process of fertilisation (unity of the ovum and the sperm) occurs after ovulation in the female’s Fallopian tube. This tube transports the egg from the ovary (where it is stored) to the uterus. If the egg is not fertilised, the egg disintegrates and menstruation (the period) begins. However, if the egg is fertilised, it moves along the tube and makes its way to the uterus, where it implants itself and pregnancy will begin. When this occurs, you might notice some reddish/brown spotting. Don’t be alarmed! This is the result of the embryo embedding itself in your uterus. However, if blood loss is bright red and is increasing, always consult with your doctor. Once the embryo implants itself in your uterus, your monthly periods stop for the remainder of your pregnancy to protect your baby.
The embryo (the product of fertilisation which will eventually be called the baby) will be enclosed and protected in the amniotic sac (a fluid-filled ‘bag’ which protects your baby) whilst the placenta will start forming. All these processes occur during the first few weeks. By 8 weeks of pregnancy, the embryo would have formed its primitive nervous system, a skeleton made of cartilage (which would later develop into bone), eyes and facial features, as well as major blood vessels and a good strong heartbeat.