Life in the Womb

Human gestation, the approximately 266-day period between fertilization and birth, is a miraculous period of growth and development. Scientific research of the past decade has been able to determine much information about the unborn fetus. The photograph on the left is proof of technological advancements as it is a picture of a fourteen week-old fetus. Following is a sketch of the development of the unborn entity from conception through birth along with a description of the capacities and abilities  of an unborn fetus as summarized from Focus on the Family's pamphlet "The First Nine Months" (1996).

    Day 1:  The sperm and egg join to form one cell which contains 46
                chromosomes and the genetic blueprint detailing all of

   Day 20: The foundations have been laid for the brain, spinal cord, and
                nervous system.

   Day 21: The heart begins to beat.

   Day 28: Arms, legs, eyes, and ears have begun to appear.

   Day 30: Blood is being pumped throughout the circulatory system by the

   Day 35: Each hand now consists of five defined fingers.

   Day 40: Brain waves can be detected.

  Week 6: The liver functions fully, and the brain begins to control muscle
                movement and organs.

  Week 7: The jaw, teeth buds, and gums develop.

  Week 8: The unborn child is now referred to as a fetus and has everything
                that is found in a fully developed adult.

  Week 9: Fingerprints are apparent in the skin, and the grasping reflex is
                now present.

Week 10: Squinting, swallowing, and wrinkling of the forehead are added
                to the list of the fetus' abilities.

Week 11: The fetus begins to urinate, and its face resembles a baby's

Week 12: The fetus exercises its muscles by turning its head, curling its
                toes, and opening and closing its mouth. The respiratory system
                is in the process of developing as the baby breathes amniotic

Week 13: Hair is growing on the fetus' head, and the sex becomes apparent.

Month 4: The ears begin to function. The umbilical cord transports 300
                quarts of fluids per day.

Month 5: The fetus is approximately 12 inches long and reacts to loud or
                startling sounds.

Month 6: The oil and sweat glands begin to function. A baby born now could
                survive outside of the womb if given the proper care.

Month 7: The senses of vision, hearing, taste, and touch are utilized by the

Month 8: As the skin thickens, a layer of fat begins to be stored under the
                skin for insulation and nourishment.

Month 9: The baby is now prepared for birth toward the end of this month,
                normally weighing between 6 and 9 pounds and fully capable of
                life outside of the womb.

    During this important prenatal period in everyone's life, the unborn being develops from a one-celled zygote to a baby ready to face the world. While in the womb, the unborn entity does begin to resemble a baby, and in many ways it functions as a baby would with a beating heart and brain waves to name a few ways. The unborn being clearly is human.


  Human Development. This web site developed by Ohio Right to Life provides information on prenatal
            development. Milestones of development are marked, and many photos of the fetus are available. Other
            prenatal facts and analysis of the fetus is also presented.

  Obstetric Ultrasound. This site explains obstetric ultrasound which is utilized to monitor fetal development. This site
            explains what obstetric ultrasounds are and why and when they are used. The different methods, transvaginal
            scan and Doppler ultrasound, are also explained. Safety issues are also addressed. Finally, videos and images
            are available along with a recording of how the beating heart sounds in an ultrasound.
Is the Unborn Baby a Human Being? This web site provides information describing prenatal development and
            includes amazing photographs of the being in the womb. The question is then raised to determine if the unborn
            being is human and if it deserves protection. Finally, abortion complications are addressed.

Return to the Biological Facts.

  This page was made by Christina Rutten, a student at  Wayne State College, on April 20, 1999. If you
                have any questions or comments, please e-mail me at