Your baby development explained
Article written by:
Ms. Lauren Grech,
B.Sc. (Hons.) (Melit.) Midwifery
By the end of the first trimester, i.e. by approximately 13 weeks, the embryo would be connected to a fully-functioning placenta by an umbilical cord. The placenta is responsible for providing nutrients to your baby as well as removing the waste. Do you ever wonder how your baby breathes while it is surrounded by fluid? It doesn’t. Do not panic though! Babies cannot breathe via their lungs. They receive oxygen through the placenta. In simple terms, it’s the placenta which is responsible for the breathing of the baby. Gases and nutrients are exchanged in the placenta and transported via the cord; where it attaches to the baby’s belly. We can basically say that our belly buttons are living proof that we were once connected to our mummies.
By week 16, a lot of development is going on. The baby’s skin gets thicker, fingerprints form, bone replaces cartilage whilst the muscle and nervous system develop further. You would be able to determine the baby’s sex by now too! Further on at 20 weeks, the baby’s grip develops as well due to the strengthening of the muscle. In fact in a first-time mummy, it is around this time that you will feel your baby moving or kicking for the first time. Around week 29, the baby’s senses, such as sight, would now be functional. Going into the last trimester, fat continues to develop under the skin whilst the baby stores iron and other minerals. At this point, whilst most organs are formed, the respiratory system and the lungs are still to develop further. During the final few weeks (around 37 weeks) growth rate slows down; i.e. the baby won’t grow with that rapid rate it did before. Your baby is now preparing for birth and moves to a head-down position, lowering gradually into your pelvis.
Many wonder that the nine months pregnancy period is long, but as you now know, there is quite a lot going on in there. So next time, if anyone questions your multitasking abilities, just remind them you are growing a human baby inside you. Quite a superpower, don’t you think?
© Lauren Marie Grech