CHRONOLOGY OF FETAL DEVELOPMENT
Diary of an Unborn Child
The development of an unborn child from conception to birth
A new, unique human being is formed!
Day 1: Fertilization: all human chromosomes are present; unique
human life begins.
Day 6: The embryo begins implantation in the uterus.
Day 22: The heart begins to beat with the child’s own blood, often a
different type than the mothers’.
Week 3: By the end of third week the child’s backbone spinal
column and nervous system are forming. The liver, kidneys
and intestines begin to take shape.
Week 4: By the end of week four the child is ten thousand times
larger than the fertilized egg.
Week 5: Eyes, legs, and hands begin to develop.
Unborn baby at approximately 7 weeks after conception.
Week 6: Brain waves are detectable; mouth and lips are present;
fingernails are forming.
Week 7: Eyelids, and toes form, nose distinct. The baby is kicking
Week 8: Every organ is in place, bones begin to replace cartilage,
and fingerprints begin to form. By the 8th week the baby
can begin to hear.
Weeks 9 and 10: Teeth begin to form, fingernails develop. The
baby can turn his head, and frown. The baby can
Weeks 10 and 11: The baby can “breathe” amniotic fluid and
urinate. Week 11 the baby can grasp objects
placed in its hand; all organ systems are
functioning. The baby has a skeletal structure,
nerves, and circulation.
Week 12: The baby has all of the parts necessary to experience
pain, including nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus. Vocal
cords are complete. The baby can suck his thumb.
Unborn baby at approximately 12 weeks.
Week 14: At this age, the heart pumps several quarts of blood through the body every day.
Week 15: The baby has an adult’s taste buds.
Month 4: Bone Marrow is now beginning to form. The heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood a day. By the end of month 4 the baby will be 8-10 inches in length and will weigh up to half a pound.
Week 17: The baby can have dream (REM) sleep.
Week 19: Babies can routinely be saved at 21 to 22 weeks after fertilization, and sometimes they can be saved even
Week 20: At 20 weeks the baby recognizes his mothers voice. At 20 weeks, the unborn child is capable of feeling pain. This is also the earliest at which partial-birth abortion is
The unborn child at 20 weeks (5 months)
Months 5 and 6: The baby practices breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid into its developing lungs. The baby will grasp at the umbilical cord when it feels it. Most mothers feel an increase in movement, kicking, and hiccups from the baby. Oil and sweat glands are now functioning. The baby is now twelve inches long or more, and weighs up to one and a half pounds.
Months 7 through 9: Eyeteeth are present. The baby opens and closes his eyes. The baby is using four of the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, and touch.) He knows the difference between waking and sleeping, and can relate to the moods of the mother. The baby’s skin begins to thicken, and a layer of fat is produced and stored beneath the skin. Antibodies are built up, and the baby’s heart begins to pump 300 gallons of blood per day. Approximately one week before the birth the baby stops growing, and “drops” usually head down into the pelvic cavity.
Bergel, Gary (Produced by NRLC) “When You Were Formed in Secret.” 1998.
Flanagan, Geraldine Lux. Beginning Life. The Marvelous Journey from Conception to Birth. New York: DK Publishing Inc., 1996.
“Fetal Development.” 07 Jan 2003. http://www.w-cpc.org/fetal1.html.
“When Does Life Begin? Abortion and Human Rights.” National Right To Life.
*Information provided by National Right to Life Committee website.