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|Is It A Baby?
Years ago, while giving an anesthetic for a ruptured tubal pregnancy (at two months) I was handed what I believed to be the smallest human being ever seen.
The embryo sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny human male, swimming extremely vigorously in the amnionic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. The tiny human was perfectly developed, with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes. It was almost transparent as regards to the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent to the ends of the fingers.
The baby was extremely alive and did not look at all like the photos and drawings of 'embryos' which I have seen.
When the sac was opened, the tiny human immediately lost its life and took on what is accepted as the appearance of an embryo at this stage, blunt extremities, etc.
Paul E. Rockwell, M.D.
*Six Week Ectopic Pregnancy in Amnionic Sac. Photograph by Robert Wolfe, University of Minnesota
Two Weeks - Fertilization: The sperm and egg join in the fallopian tube to form a unique human being. Forty-six chromosomes combine, which pre-determine all of a person's physical characteristics.
Three Weeks - Once in the uterus, the developing embryo, called a blastocyst, searches for a nice place to implant, where it actually burrows beneath the surface of the uterus. The yolk sac, shown on the left, produces blood cells during the early weeks of life. The unborn child is only one-sixth of an inch long, but is rapidly developing. The backbone, spinal column, and nervous system are forming. The kidneys, liver, and intestines are taking shape.
Four Weeks - The embryo produces hormones which stop the mother's menstrual cycle. The brain, the heart, and spinal cord begin to form. The stomach and intestines are forming and the bone tissue is growing. The eyes and ears are just beginning to form. The weight is less than one ounce and the length is about one-eighth inch.
Five Weeks - The embryo is the size of a raisin. By day twenty-one, the embryo's tiny heart has begun beating. The neural tube enlarges into three parts, soon to become a very complex brain. The placenta begins functioning. The spine and spinal cord grow faster than the rest of the body at this stage and give the appearance of a tail. This disappears as the child continues to grow.
Six Weeks - The lungs are beginning to form and brain activity can be recorded. Eyes are present, but no eyelids yet and the hands and feet have fingers and toes, but still may be webbed. The heart is more developed and is beating. Early reflexes are starting to develop.
Seven Weeks - Facial features are visible, including a mouth and tongue. The eyes have a retina and lens. The major muscle system is developed, and the unborn child practices moving. The child has its own blood type, distinct from the mother's. These blood cells are produced by the liver now instead of the yolk sac.
Eight Weeks - The unborn child, called a fetus at this stage, is about half an inch long. The tiny person is protected by the amnionic sac, filled with fluid. Inside, the child swims and moves gracefully. The arms and legs have lengthened, and fingers can be seen. The toes will develop in the next few days. Brain waves can be measured.
Ten Weeks - The heart is almost completely developed and very much resembles that of a newborn baby. An opening in the atrium of the heart and the presence of a bypass valve divert much of the blood away from the lungs, as the child's blood is oxygenated through the placenta. Twenty tiny baby teeth are forming in the gums.
Twelve Weeks - Vocal chords are complete, and the child can and does sometimes cry (silently). The brain is fully formed, and the child can feel pain. The fetus may even suck its thumb. The eyelids now cover the eyes, and will remain shut until the seventh month to protect the delicate optical nerve fibers.
Fourteen Weeks - The mouth can make sucking motions and amniotic fluid is swallowed. The skin is almost transparent and sweat glands develop. The liver and pancreas are starting to work. The length is about three to four inches.
Sixteen Weeks - Movement may be felt by the mother. The head and the body become proportional as the neck takes shape. Swallowing and chest movements are present. The weight is about five ounces and the length is about four to five inches.
Eighteen Weeks - The taste buds are present and the unborn child is able to suck its thumb. The fingernails are well formed and the arms and legs can begin to punch and kick. The gender (male or female) is evident. A protective waxy coating is present on the skin (Lanugo). The length is about five to six inches.
Twenty Weeks - The skin becomes less transparent as fat begins to deposit. Eyebrows and eyelashes appear. The unborn child is able to turn from side to side and front to back. The unborn child is able to feel pain as stated by some experts. Breathing-like movements become regular and are detected by ultrasound. The length is about six to seven inches.
Twenty Two Weeks - The eyes are fully functional and capable of movement. The vocal cords are active and reflexes are present. Rapid brain growth continues and the unborn child weighs about one pound and is about seven to eight inches in length.
Twenty Four Weeks - Unique footprints and fingerprints are present and outside sounds can be heard. The baby can have hiccups, squint eyes, smile and frown and all may be seen by an ultrasound. The lungs have developed and babies born prematurely may survive. The unborn child weighs about one to one and half pounds and is about eight to nine inches in length.
Twenty Six Weeks - The eyelids open and close and can perceive light. The central nervous system is developed enough to control some body functions. The lungs have matured a little more and breathing is possible. The baby is able to exercise muscles a little more by kicking and stretching. The weight is about one and a half pounds to two pounds and the length is about nine to ten inches.
Twenty Eight Weeks - There is a good chance of survival if baby is born at this time. The unborn child's brain wave patterns resemble that of a full term baby. Another person can hear the heartbeat by listening to the pregnant woman's abdomen. The weight is about two to two and half pounds and the length is about ten to thirteen inches.
Thirty Weeks - The central nervous system has increased control over body functions and rhythmic breathing movements occur. The bones are fully developed, but they are still soft and pliable. The unborn child weighs about two and half to three pounds and the length is about fifteen to sixteen inches. The lungs are not fully mature.
Thirty Two Weeks - Connections between nerve cells in the brain are increasing and the lungs are still maturing. The skin is becoming thicker with more color and the body temperature is partially under control. There is a good chance of long-term survival and the risk of long-term disability is low. The baby weighs about three to three and half pounds and is about sixteen to seventeen inches in length.
Thirty Four Weeks - The unborn child has sleep patterns and can open its eyes for alert times and close them for sleeping. The ears have begun to hold their shape and lung development is maturing even more. The baby weighs about four to four and half pounds and is about seventeen to eighteen inches in length.
Thirty Six Weeks - Body fat has increased and fingernails reach the end of the fingertips. Fine hair begins to disappear. The unborn child weighs about five to six pounds and is about sixteen to nineteen inches in length.
Thirty Eight Weeks - The fingernails extend beyond the fingertips and the child can firmly grasp with its fingers and hands. Small breast buds are present in both sexes. The child can turn towards a light source and is now considered full term if he/she were born. The average weight is greater than six pounds and the length is about nineteen to twenty-one inches.
*Some resources and pictures from Texas Department of Health, "A Woman's Right To Know".
Download This Booklet - A Woman's Right To Know or visit The Texas of Department of Health website.
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