Pregnancy Symptoms and Fetal Development

During pregnancy, your body goes through many changes. Some common symptoms of early pregnancy include a missed period, breast tenderness, frequent urination, nausea, and mood swings (1).

Most pregnancy tests have a varying degree of reliability. However, to diagnose and confirm if you are pregnant, a visit to an appropriate healthcare provider will be necessary. They may request an ultrasound exam to confirm the status of your pregnancy. This information is important whether you are considering an abortion or continuing with your pregnancy (2).

A closer look at the details of development:

First day of your last normal menstrual period.
The egg is released from the ovary. Fertilization takes place when a sperm joins an egg. Every detail of development, including sex, hair color, and eye color are determined at this point.
The embryo/baby’s heart is pumping and his/her heartbeat can be seen and heard on an ultrasound
Brain activity is measurable. By this time the baby shows reflexive response to touch. The baby begins to move although the mom cannot yet feel his or her movement.
Internal organs are functioning. The body is nearly complete. Fingernails and toenails start to form Changes after this week are primarily changes in size, rather than appearance. The embryo is now called a fetus, or “young one” in Latin
The baby/fetus moves vigorously and can make a tight fist. The sex of the child can be determined.
The fetus/baby can hear sounds, including his or her mother’s heartbeat. There is evidence the baby can experience pain.
Head and body hair are visible. The fetus/baby jumps in response to a loud noise. He or she can now swallow. The baby has fingerprints.
If the baby was born during this month and given special care, he or she could survive.
The baby/fetus experiences rapid weight gain and is ready for birth.

References:

(1) Cunningham G,et al. Williams Obstetrics. 21st ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishers;2011.

(2) Carenet.Before you Decide. Pamphlet 2011

(Mayo Clinic staff, 2009, July 25a) Fetal Development:the first trimester. In pregnancy week by week.
Retrieved from: www.mayoclinic.com/health/prenatal-care/PR00112

(Mayo Clinic staff, 2009, July 25b) Fetal development: the second trimester. In pregnancy week by week.
Retrieved from: www.mayoclinic.com/health/prenatal-care/PR00113

(Mayo Clinic staff, 2009, July 25c) Fetal development: the third trimester. In pregnancy week by week.
Retrieved from: www.mayoclinic.com/health/prenatal-care/PR00114

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