How does your baby grow?
Nobody can tell exactly when your baby was conceived. But fertilization usually occurs about two weeks after the beginning of your last menstrual cycle.
Within a few hours after the egg is penetrated by the sperm in the fallopian tube, the egg begins to divide. In the next three to five days, a cluster of up to 50 cells floats down the fallopian tube to the uterus, where it continues to develop, by the tenth day, the ovum is firmly implanted in the uterine wall. Here it burrows little finger like projections called “villi” into the blood supply of the uterine lining from which it will take its nourishment and then begins the miraculous growth that will make it a real live baby.
Second week after fertilization
As the cluster of cells begins to elongate, a water tight sac form around it, gradually filling with fluid. This will serve to cushion the growing life from shocks. Next to this, a tiny yolk sac form, preparing to produce little blood vessels. Now the placenta the round, flat membrane that will lie inside the uterine wall being to develop. Joined to the umbilical cord, it will take over the job of the more primitive villi, bringing food, water and minerals from the maternal blood to the fetus and carrying fetal wastes to the maternal blood.
The cell cluster is now a hollow structure filled with fluid, measuring only about 1/100 of an inch in diameter (the thickness of a heavy pencil dot). But already your baby’s heart has started ticking…… and a thickening that is the beginning of a central nervous system. The cluster begins to curl up now so that it fits in its compact home as it grows.
A primitive face is taking form with large dark circles where eyes will appear. The mouth, lower jaw and throat are developing. Little tubules foreshadow internal organs such as the gallbladder, liver and stomach. All blood cells are taking shape, and the circulation is beginning. The tiny heart is beating 65 times a minute by the end of this week.
The embryo, as it is now called, will be 3/16 of an inch in length by the end of th week. In one month, the single fertilized egg has grown 10,000 times bigger than when it started.
By the end of week, ears begin to develop from two folds of tissue, buds emerge that will become arms and legs and your baby’s eye lenses begin taking fomr. There is a tiny depression where the nose will be and an equally tiny thickening that will be the tongue. Eight to ten vertebrae of the backbone have been laid down. The brain, spinal cord and nervous system are well established. Your baby’s primitive blood vessels have begun to function.
By now the beating heart can be seen with special instruments, it is still outside the baby’s body, but its four chambers are beginning to form. The mouth is still closed, but the digestive tract is developing downward from the mouth cavity. By the end of the sixth week, hollows appear where eyes and ears will form; the beginning of internal genital organs (testes or ovaries) have appeared; the brain is growing rapidly; and the entire backbone has been laid down. There is even a skeleton, though it is mostly made up of cartilage, not yet real bone. A “tail” extends from the spinal cord; at this stage, the human embryo resembles that of a pig, rabbit or elephant. It is now ¼ of an inch length.
The embryo has become a fetus. Its heart is now within its chest cavity. The tail has all but disappeared. Nasal openings are breaking through. Eyes can now be perceived through closed lids. Little buds signal the beginning of fingers and toes and delicate little muscle fibers are starting to form. The fetus is ½ an inch long and weighs 1/1000 of an ounce.
Human facial features, particularly the jaws, are becoming well defined. Teeth are already formed although they erupt much later after birth. Fingers and toes are present and external ears form elevations on either side of the head. In boys the penis begins to appear. The fetus is now 7/8 of an inch long and weighs 1/30 pf an ounce.
The baby’s face is now completely formed. The clitoris appears in girls. Your baby now resembles a miniature human, slightly more than one inch in length, weighing 1/5 of an ounce.
Your baby’s eyes have moved from the sides of its head, where they were originally, to the front. In males, the scrotum appears, major blood vessels have almost reached final form. The heart waves are similar to those of an adult. The baby looks top – heavy, for the head is almost half its entire size.
End of third month
Upper and lower eyelids have met and fused and tear glands are starting to appear. Primitive hair follicle are forming and so are the beginnings of vocal cords. Finger nails are already present and your baby can close his fingers to make tiny fists. He can also open his mouth purse his lips and squint up his face. He is now three inches long and weighs about one ounce.
Your baby’s heartbeat is now audible to the doctor’s stethoscope. Its brain looks like a miniature adult brain. Sweat glands are forming on palms and soles and the skin is thickening into various layers. Your baby now has eyebrows and eyelashes, has grown to six ounces and 81/2 inches in length. It is at this time that many babies
Your baby’s muscles are active now, and by the mid point of pregnancy (20 weeks) you will probably have felt “quickening”- the baby’s movements. There is hair on his head. He is skinny, but fat is beginning to be deposited under his translucent skin. Twelve inches in length, he weighs about one pound.
Your baby’s skin is wrinkled and has developed a cheese-like protective material called “vernix” which will remain right through birth. The eyes are open and will soon be sensitive to light (although color and form won’t be perceived until long after birth). Your baby can now hear sounds and wonder of wonders-with skin ridges fully formed on palms and soles your baby now has fingers and footprints,. Length, 14 inches. Weight,2 pounds.
Fine downy hair covers your baby’s body. Taste buds have developed. The male fetus’s testicles have descended into the scrotum. By the end of this month your baby is about 16 inches long and 31/2 pounds in weight. Its organ systems are now adequately well developed so that even if born prematurely, it could probably survive. But the next two months will be periods of growth and maturation to ensure a healthy entry into the world.
The baby is getting plumper, and the skin is somewhat less wrinkled as fat takes up the slack. He may now weight more that five pounds and may be about 18 inches in length. His fingernails are long, extending beyond the fingertips.
The baby’s skin is red but smooth; it looks polished. The only downy hair remaining now is on arms and shoulders. On the head, the hair is about one inch long. The deposit of subcutaneous fat continues. Bye the end of this month, what began from an egg cell measuring 1/0200 of an inch in diameter and the husband’s sperm cell only 1/80,000 the size of the egg, will emerge a bouncy little infant some 20 inches in length and weighing an average of 7 pounds.
The last eight weeks of pregnancy
Particularly if this is your first baby, you and your husband will probably have many questions about what is going to take place. This sheet has been prepared to give you both an idea of what to do ad what to expect.
For instance, it is a good idea to pack an overnight bag about a month in advance. Babies often arrive as much as two weeks earlier (or later) than their approximate due date. Include: nightgowns, a bathrobe, slippers, toilet articles, maternity brassieres, reading material. The hospital will supply all of your baby’s needs …… until you are ready to take him home.
The essential Layette
With enough diapers and receiving blankets, you could manage with no other clothing for the baby! So, unless your budget is generous, don’t buy more than what you really need.
3 to 6 dozen diapers
Bird – eye or gauze, largest size. Get at least a dozen, even with diaper service or use of disposables.
4 to 7 shirts
Cotton, 6 months’ size with front or side opening. Sleeveless, short or long sleeves, depending on the season and home temperature.
3 to 6 nightgowns
Cotton knit or flannel, 6 months size, front opening. Some come long enough to cover the feet with ample kicking room.
1 or 2 sweaters
Size 2 open down the front. Orlon, in case of wool sensitivity.
Cotton, one yard square, to wrap the baby in blankets
Nice to have for the outdoors. But wait! This is the present most people choose to gift you.
Firm crib mattress. Folded pad can be used for bassinet. Water – resistant mattress protector.3 or 4 waterproof pads, 11x18 inches. 6 quilted pads, it a 18 inches. 3 crib sheets. Use pillowcases or make them from old bed sheets. 3 or 4 cotton baby blankets, to add or remove for warmth as necessary.
You may use the gifted woolen blankets for the baby’s crib and carriage.
Soap dish, mineral oil, pure un medicated soap (any brand), talcum powder, absorbent cotton, enamel or rubber bathtub.
What to expect as Delivery Nears
During pregnancy, the uterus rises gradually out of the pelvis into the abdomen. By week 34 or 36, it will be right up under your ribs (shaded area). After that, it starts to descend and your baby’s head drops to the pelvis (outlined area). You will most likely know when this has happened because breathing will seem easier… and increased pressure in the pelvic area may cause more frequent urination.
One of the signs that labor has started is the passage of a small amount of mucus, tinged with blood from the vagina.
The painless, irregular contractions you have been having until now may at times become painful during the last eight weeks of pregnancy. Unless they are regular, closer together and more intense, don’t he fooled… they are not the real thing. To relieve the pain, try changing your position. Walk about if you have been resting, sit or lie down if you have been on your feet, with pains that wakes you out of sleep, you will be able to doze off again. (Real labor will keep you awake. A show of blood also means that labor is real). In all cases, consult your physician if you have any doubts about your pains.
Rupture of the Membranes
A slow trickle or a gush of fluid from the vagina indicates the rupture of the fluid filled bag that surround the baby. Called amniotic fluid. This may take place during the first few hours of labor or not until the very end. Dry labor, which really do not deserve this name, simply mean that membranes rupture much before labor has begun. As you approach term, pressure of the baby’s head on the bladder may cause an uncontrolled gush of urine. Your doctor can make a simple test with chemically treated paper to identify whether the fluid is urine or amniotic fluid.
Timing labor Pains
In the beginning, cramp like labor pains are far apart and short lasting. You will feel them first in the small of the back, then in the front. Your doctor will tell you when to call him – either when the membranes rupture, or when contractions become rhythmic. By keeping a record of the frequency and intensity of your pains, you will be able to time the pain accurately when they are coming ten to fifteen minutes apart.
The three stages of Labor
- The dilation period. In the first stage, each contraction stretches the cervix either through pressure by the baby or the amniotic fluid. With a first baby, it takes about ten and a half hours to stretch the cervix and open it to a maximum diameter of four inches.
- The Expulsion period. When the cervix is fully dilated, the contractions of the uterus drive the baby through the lower birth canal, Bearing down efforts play a very important part during this stage. Most babies are expelled after an hour and a half.
- The placental period. Delivery of the afterbirths (placenta) takes no longer than fifteen minutes after the baby is born.
At the Hospital
You may be taken first to the admitting office, then to the delivery floor or your own room. There you will undress and put on a short cotton gown. Your temperature, pulse, respiration and weight will recorded. Blood and urine samples may be taken. Your history may rechecked by the attending doctor. Either your doctor or the resident on duty will examine you. Next, you will be prepared for delivery. The total area will be washed and the hair around will be either clipped or shaved (unless your doctor waives this step). You may have an enema. It is best to take your time with this in order to avoid expelling liquid material later during contraction.
A delivery room is simply a small version of an operating room, complete with instrument table, anesthesia machine and masked, gowned personnel. The delivery table is like an operating table, with special holders to hold the legs apart. You will be taken there as soon as your cervix is fully dilated. From here on, with each labor pain, the baby begins to be born, because vaginal tears are almost certain to occur, before the baby’s head emerges the doctor will probably (not necessarily) make a simple cut in the area between the vagina and anus. This is called an episiotomy. The incision, made under local anesthesia, is easier to repair than a jagged tear and vaginal tissues are less likely to become overstretched. Which may lead to sagging of the uterus in later years of life.
With gently guidance by the doctor, the delivery of your baby is soon completed. After the baby receives proper attention and is handed to a nurse, the doctor will repair any incision he has made, using absorbable sutures that will not have to be removed. With expulsion of the afterbirth, you have come to the end of your long wait.
Recently ‘Birthing Rooms’ have come into wide use. There are combination labor – delivery rooms which are furnished to appear more like a home than a hospital.
A look at Your Newborn Baby
Few babies are ‘born beautiful’ as parents are usually shocked to discover. Their appearance can best be describes as ‘beaten up’ Eyelids are swollen, the face is puffy, with blotches & rash, or & a mottled effect on eyelids, forehead and back of neck. Blisters on the nose or forehead are plugged oil and seat glands which will open without help. Dark skinned babies may have areas on the back of deep-blue colour, caused by extra pigment. Being squeezed during birth often give the skull a very odd shape. Red spots in the eyes indicate tiny broken blood vessels. The genitals of both boys and girls may seem swollen. Hands and feet may be reddish purple in color, enormous in size, show hundreds of wrinkles and some of the toenails may not be visible’
But all these newborn effects are perfectly normal and temporary. They will soon clear up completely and your baby will suddenly look those seen on magazine covers!