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Fetal development - 4 weeks pregnant

Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

The ball of cells now called an embryo growing inside your uterus (womb) is the size of a poppy seed. It's dividing into three layers that will later form organs and tissues.

The neural tube from which the brain, backbone and spinal cord, and nerves will sprout develops in the top layer. The heart and the circulatory system begin to appear in the middle layer. The third layer starts to house the lungs, intestines and beginnings of the urinary system.

Inside pregnancy video: a 3D animated look at a baby in this week of pregnancy. Take a look! The yolk sac produces red blood cells and nutrients for your baby. But early versions of the placenta and umbilical cord are already at work, and preparing to take over this job.

The placenta's cells are burrowing into the lining of your uterus, creating microscopic fingers of tissue (chorionic villi). Once the placenta is fully functioning by the end of this week, it will be able to make nutrients for your baby and take away his waste products. The umbilical cord delivers those nutrients, and oxygen, to your baby.

If you haven't already tried a home pregnancy test, taking one now will confirm you are pregnant. There are other signs that show you could be pregnant. Check our due date calculator to work out when your baby is due. Once you get confirmation, you can call your GP and make an appointment. Good and consistent antenatal care is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your baby will be healthy throughout pregnancy.

Fetal development - 5 weeks pregnant


Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

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Fetal development - 6 weeks pregnant


Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

Your baby is about the size of a lentil this week. If you could see inside yourself, you'd find she has an oversized head in proportion to her body. Your babys facial features are forming, with dark spots where the eyes are, openings where the nostrils will be, and pits to mark the ears.

Inside pregnancy video: a 3D animated look at a baby in this week of pregnancy. Take a look! Protruding buds that will become her arms and legs are even more noticeable now. Muscle and bone tissues are already building up. And her pituitary gland, which releases hormones, is forming, along with the rest of her brain. You can't hear it yet, but her heart (which has divided into the right and left chambers) is beating at about 150 beats a minute twice the rate of yours.

While this amazing transformation is taking place in your uterus, you may notice a few changes in yourself. Feeling moody one minute and joyful the next? What you're experiencing is normal. It's partly down to your fluctuating hormones. But it's hardly surprising if you feel a bit emotional, considering how your life is all set to change. Take a look at our early pregnancy resource centre which will guide you through the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Fetal development - 7 weeks pregnant


Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

Now about 1cm long, the size of a grape, your baby has distinct, slightly webbed fingers and toes. They look a bit like tiny paddles. Your baby is a jumping bean, moving in fits and starts. His liver is churning out large amounts of red blood cells until the bone marrow forms and takes over this role.

At seven weeks, your baby enters a very busy stage. Between now and 20 weeks, he will grow rapidly. Body parts that formed in the first few weeks of life, such as the heart and brain, will become more specialised and complicated. He now has an appendix and a pancreas, which will eventually produce the hormone insulin to

aid in digestion. Tooth buds, palate and tongue are forming, while his ears continue to develop and eyelids are starting to cover his eyes. Your babys skin is paper thin, and veins are clearly visible.

Inside pregnancy video: a 3D animated look at a baby in this week of pregnancy. Take a look! You're in the throes of the first trimester, when many women complain of common pregnancy aches and pains. Keeping food down may be next to impossible, thanks to morning sickness. This is believed to be caused in part by the pregnancy hormones surging through your body.

You may also need to wee a lot more often than usual. Your growing uterus (womb), where your baby is developing, is pressing on your bladder, and hormones are affecting the balance of fluid in your body. Although they're a nuisance now, the sickness and the constant trips to the loo will diminish as your pregnancy continues.

It's a great idea to keep fit while you're expecting. There are plenty of types of exercise you can safely enjoy. Check out our fitness sectionto learn more about staying in shape, and in good health, during pregnancy.

Note: Every baby develops differently. This page is designed to give a general idea of how a fetus grows in the uterus. Information you need, just when you need it Why not get our free newsletters? Sign up here.

Fetal development - 8 weeks pregnant


Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

This week, many changes take place in your baby, who now measures about 1.6cm. His embryonic tail is just about gone, and all his organs, muscles and nerves are beginning to function. In his brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways. Your baby's hands now bend at the wrist, and his feet are starting to lose their webbed appearance. His eyelids cover more of his eyes and tastebuds are forming on his tongue.

Inside pregnancy video: a 3D animated look at a baby in this week of pregnancy. Take a look! Your pregnancy is changing your figure as well. Your breasts may have grown large enough that you'll need bigger bras with better support than your old ones. You may notice your waistline expanding as well, forcing you to pack away your favourite jeans until next year.

Check out what to eat and drink throughout your pregnancy to make sure your baby gets all he needs to help him grow. Now's a good time to check out your maternity rights so you can plan ahead.

Fetal development - 9 weeks pregnant


Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

By the end of this week, your baby measures about 2.3cm in length and weighs less than 2g. His eyelids, now completely covering his eyes, are fused and won't open until week 26. Tiny earlobes are now visible.

Your baby's essential body parts are accounted for, though they'll go through plenty of fine-tuning in the coming months. Already he looks more like a tiny human being. His wrists are more developed, his ankles have formed, and his fingers and toes are clear to see. His arms are growing longer and bend at the elbows. Now that your baby's basic physiology is in place, he's poised for rapid weight gain.

Inside pregnancy video: a 3D animated look at a baby in this week of pregnancy. Take a look! Though it's not yet possible to tell the sex of your baby by ultrasound, his genitals have begun to form. By now the placenta has developed enough to support most of the important job of producing hormones. The placenta is also making nutrients for your baby and getting rid of his waste products.

Around now, you should have your first antenatal appointment, called your booking appointment. This is when your midwife will take a blood sample for routine tests. Find out what you are being testing for. There is plenty more information about what to expect throughout your pregnancy in our complete guide to tests and care.

Note: Every baby develops differently. This page is designed to give a general idea of how a fetus grows in the uterus. Information you need, just when you need it Why not get our free newsletters? Sign up here.

Fetal development - 10 weeks pregnant


Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

Congratulations! Your embryo is now called a fetus, which means "offspring". She is about 3.1cm long from crown to rump and weighs less than 4g. She may be small, but she's very active, swallowing fluid and kicking her new limbs.

Inside pregnancy video: a 3D animated look at a baby in this week of pregnancy. Take a look! Her vital organs liver, kidneys, intestines, brain and lungs are fully formed and functional, while her head is almost half the length of her entire body. Her forehead temporarily bulges and sits high on her head, but later will change into a more baby-like feature. If you could take a look at your baby, you'd be able to see some exciting details, such as fingernails and peach-fuzzy hair. The outline of her spine is clear to see, too. Spinal nerves stretch out from the spinal cord.

And it's not just your baby who's growing. Your uterus (womb) is now the size of a grapefruit. You may even be able to feel it above the middle of your pubic bone.

Note: Every baby develops differently. This page is designed to give a general idea of how a fetus grows in the uterus.

Fetal development - 11 weeks pregnant


Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

Measuring from the crown of his head to his rump, your baby is now about 4cm long. He has all his parts, from tooth buds to toenails and his fingers and toes have fully separated. Your baby is busy kicking and stretching. His movements are so fluid they look like water ballet. These movements will become more frequent as his body grows and becomes more refined.

Inside pregnancy video: a 3D animated look at a baby in this week of pregnancy. Take a look! Most of your baby's critical development will tail off in the next couple of weeks. His main task during the next six months will be to grow larger and stronger, until he can survive on his own outside your uterus

(womb).

You're getting close to the end of the first trimester. A dark vertical line of pigmentation, called the linea nigra, may appear on your belly. Perhaps you are starting to find sleeping difficult? Find out why you're getting disturbed nights.

Note: Every baby develops differently. This page is designed to give a general idea of how a fetus grows in the uterus. Information you need, just when you need it Why not get our free newsletters? Sign up here.

See your previous stage: 10 weeks pregnant

Fetal development - 12 weeks pregnant


Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board Last reviewed: August 2009 [Show references]

Your baby is about 5.4cm long from her crown to her rump and weighs slightly less than 14g. The big news this week is that your baby's reflexes are becoming more honed. She'll squirm if you prod your belly, although you probably can't feel her moving around yet. Fetal nerve cells have been multiplying rapidly and the neurological connections in her brain (synapses) are forming. She can close her fingers, curl her toes and clench her eye muscles.

All the while, your baby's face is beginning to look more human. Her eyes, which started out on the sides of her head, have moved closer together. Her ears are almost in their final positions on the side of her head. Inside her body, her organs are performing more complex tasks. Her liver is making bile and her kidneys are secreting urine into her bladder.

Inside pregnancy video: a 3D animated look at a baby in this week of pregnancy. Take a look! Your midwife can now feel the top of your uterus (womb), also known as the fundus, low in your belly. As you approach your second trimester, you may need to wear looser clothing. Soon you won't be able to fit into your old clothes any more.

It's never too soon to start doing your pelvic floor exercises. A strong pelvic floor will protect you against urine leaks, and help with labour and birth when the time comes.

You may now find that once the sickness feeling has passed, your appetite returns. Find out how to eat well over the next few weeks. And if you're wondering how often you'll need to see your midwife or GP, take a look at our antenatal appointments scheduler.

Note: Every baby develops differently. This page is designed to give a general idea of how a fetus grows in the uterus. Information you need, just when you need it Why not get our free newsletters? Sign up here.