A Brief Discussion on Fetal Development Stages

fetal development stages

Fetal development is the term used to describe a stage of development in which an embryo or fetus is formed in a woman’s womb. The developing baby will be delivered into the world after eight weeks when the woman’s uterus has already started to fill with fluid. When the developing baby leaves the uterus, it is already inside the amniotic sac called amniotic fluid. The placenta and umbilical cord will then wrap around the baby and continue to give it oxygen and nutrients while it continues to grow. Throughout this process, the baby continues to develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

There are four fetal development stages: pre-pregnancy, early pregnancy, full-term, and late pregnancy. Each stage differs in some ways from the other. Each also represents a different time frame. Anytime that there is a difference in the time frame is a reflection of the development that has taken place. Two weeks is considered to be early pregnancy while eight weeks is considered to be full-term.

Fetal Development Stages

Development Stages

Pre-pregnancy refers to the period before the woman became pregnant. During this stage, the developing fetus continues to grow and is not fully developed. A woman’s monthly period usually starts a few weeks before the start of this pre-pregnancy period. For women who do not begin their monthly periods before their 24th week of pregnancy, this is considered a late pregnancy period.

The early pregnancy period refers to the first two weeks after conception and refers to the development of the embryo and the uterus. A woman’s ovary can no longer produce an egg because of the presence of an embryo. The egg is then fertilized in the fallopian tube. The entire fetal development stages happen in the fallopian tube.

Full-term refers to the third trimester and includes the complete completion of all the fetal development stages. At this stage, the body has been prepared and the baby is ready to be born. The cervix begins to develop into a bulge that marks the end of the cervix. The uterus begins to expand and the fetus starts to develop.

When comparing the first trimester with the third trimester, you will see many differences. First, there is no visible sign of a baby. The baby will not have its own heart, nose, or mouth. It cannot take its own oxygen and will rely on the lungs for survival. Finally, there is no detectable sign of a developing fetus during the first trimester.

A Much Ado 

Development Stages

After the first trimester, the baby will be placed in the breech position and will remain in the mother’s womb until the last trimester of pregnancy. This is when the baby will begin to show its facial features and forms. During the second trimester, the fetus will be visible. It will be slightly bigger than the umbilical cord, and the color will be green. The baby will be able to move about without support from its parents. Around the third trimester, the baby will be able to see and hear the external environment.

Some changes are apparent in the fetal development chart, such as the estimated due date. A woman may see a different due date after she gives birth. Although it varies, around the third trimester, the fetus is considered to be completely developed. Around seven weeks after conception, the baby will be able to see outside the womb and can move about without the help of its parents.

Throughout the pregnancy period, the fetus will be kept in the maternal uterus. The baby will stay inside the amniotic sac made for it. It is filled with fluid to help it maintain its integrity and life. The fetus grows continuously inside the sac, and it is when it empties itself into the birth canal that the parents will know that the child is born. The size of the fetus at this stage is the exact size of the umbilical cord, and it looks very much like it is a tiny baby.

From the fourth trimester onward, fetal growth becomes continuous. The brain of the fetus is continuously growing and expanding, and it is during the last trimester that the child reaches the final stage of development. Around the 40-week period, the pregnant woman should start feeling discomfort in the abdomen. The pain usually begins in the lower back, and it increases in intensity at later stages of pregnancy. This discomfort is caused by the increase in blood flow in the uterus as well as in the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus.

Bottom Line 

At about the end of the third trimester, the baby can feel pain, and the head should turn towards the mother for a better look. At this time, the baby should be visible within the gestational birth zone. Around the 24 weeks of pregnancy, the baby can be seen to move with a little help from the mother’s gestures. The fetal development of the baby can take up to a year, after which the baby is completely formed and ready to be born.

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