Having a baby is often a joyous yet challenging period in a women’s life. As a full-service maternity care organization, Premier Associates for the Healthcare of Women is here to help you through the thrills and pitfalls of pregnancy into the delights of parenting.
Our team of highly trained obstetritians and gynecologists, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, midwives, and nurses practitioners are here to support you and your growing family.
The goal of a healthy pregnancy is to deliver a baby at 40 weeks of pregnancy. Staying pregnant to full term is one of the best ways to give your baby the time needed to grow and develop.
At 5 weeks the embryo is about 1 inch long and weighs less than an ounce. It has a two-lobed brain and a spinal cord. Tiny limb buds begin to appear which will eventually grow into arms and legs. The heart also forms, and though it is too faint to hear, it begins to beat on the 25th day.
At 8 weeks the embryo is 1 inch long and still weighs less than an ounce. All major organs and systems are formed but not yet fully developed. By the end of the second month of a pregnancy, the embryo is called a fetus
By the end of 3 months, the fetus is 4 inches long and weighs just over one ounce. Buds for future teeth, soft finger and toenails, and hair appear on the fetus’ head. The kidneys begin to secrete urine and there is further development of organs. An electronic stethoscope (doppler) can detect a heartbeat. From this time on the fetus begins to gain weight.
In the 4th month, the fetus grows to 6 to 7 inches long and weighs about 5 ounces. Its own sex is developing. The fetus moves, kicks, sleeps, swallows, can hear and pass urine. The skin is pink and transparent and eyebrows have formed.
At 5 months the fetus will have a spurt in growth. The internal organs continue to mature. The fetus is much more active—turning from side to side and even flipping over. This is the month when movement is usually first felt by the mother. A stethoscope can detect a heartbeat. By the end of this month, the fetus has grown and is 8 to 12 inches long and weighs from ½ to 1 pound.
In the 6th month the fetus continues to grow rapidly. There is continued development of organ systems. The skin is red, wrinkled and covered with fine hair. By the end of this month, the fetus will weigh 1 to 1 ½ pounds and be 11 to 14 inches long. The lungs are still not fully developed and as a rule the fetus cannot live outside the uterus without specialized, high-tech support systems.
The 7th month is another rapid growth period. The fetus sucks its thumb, the eyes open and close, and fetal bones are hardening. The fetus now weighs about 3 pounds and is approximately 15 inches long. It now has a better chance of surviving if it is born.
The 8th month shows continuing growth in the size and weight of the fetus. Though there is less room to move about, the kicks are felt more strongly. The fetus is now about 18 inches long and weighs about 5 pounds.
During the 9th month the fetus gains about ½ pound a week. The bones in its head are soft and flexible for delivery. Usually the fetus turns so as to settle into the optimal position for delivery. The fetus is considered full term, weighing between 6 and 9 pounds with an average length of 19 to 21 inches.
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