“I’m Growing A Pumpkin!” A Bountiful Journey Through Fetal Development

Written by: Erica Stockwell DO MBA FACOG

When you stop to think about it, it’s truly amazing what the body is capable of. It’s incredible to look at the milestones that a baby accomplishes, even prior to birth. This article gives you a clear idea of baby’s development from a single cell to a full-fledged human being in just nine months.

Dr. Stockwell Bumps

Month 1 – Poppy Seed to Peppercorn

All babies start from the union of a single sperm and a single egg. The egg and sperm meet and join in the fallopian tube, then journey together to the uterine cavity. By the time it reaches the uterus, the egg and sperm have multiplied into a ball of cells called a zygote. This ball of cells implants in the uterine wall and starts to grow roots, similar to a seed from which a tree grows.

Often all of this happens before a woman even knows she is pregnant. The cells also separate into those that will go on to form the placenta and those that will form the baby. In only a matter of two week, the baby (called an embryo at this stage in development) starts to grow.

Month 2 – Corn Kernel to Raspberry

This is a very important month for a baby’s development. It is during this month that major organs, such as the brain, heart, spinal cord, blood vessels, arms, and legs start to form. The heart starts to beat as early as 5 weeks. At the end of this month, the baby graduates from embryo to fetus status and remains a fetus until birth.

Month 3 – Grape to Plum

This is the earliest month in which we can determine baby’s gender. During this month the baby develops eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, fingernails, toenails, bones, and hair.

Month 4 – Peach to Avocado

This month marks the start of the second trimester. At this point, all the baby’s internal organs are already formed and continue to mature and grow until birth. This is an exciting month as many moms-to-be start to feel baby move for the first time. But, don’t be discouraged if you do not feel baby until Month 5. That may be completely normal as well and related to the position of the placenta.

Month 5 – Sweet Potato to Carrot

Half-way there! Baby continues to grow larger and stronger and movements become more distinct.

Month 6 – Eggplant to Acorn Squash

This is a milestone month. It is during this month that the baby reaches ‘visibility’, which means that if born during this month, the baby has a chance at sustaining life outside of the womb. Of course, a baby born this early often needs a lot of support to sustain life as important structures and organ functions are still very immature.

Month 7 – Zucchini to Butternut Squash

Third trimester, here we come! Baby is now entering the final stages of fetal development.

Month 8 – Cabbage to Pineapple

Babies gain about a half pound per week until birth from this point forward. Taste buds are now developed. So your baby may acquire a preference for the foods you eat which, he/she samples when he/she swallows amniotic fluid.

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Month 9 – Honeydew Melon to Pumpkin

You’ve done it! You have made it through a full pregnancy and will have a pumpkin soon to prove it. During this month, baby is gaining weight and all that adorable ‘oh-so-squeezable” baby fat. Baby also goes through maturation of the lungs as it prepares for its first breath of air at delivery. Although 40 weeks is considered “due date”, anytime after 37 weeks is considered “full term” and babies tend to come when they want to. So, make sure you have your bags packed and ready to go for this exciting time!

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