Prenatal development includes the process of embryo gestation, from the fertilization of the egg to the time of childbirth. This process is also known as embryology or antenatal development and it normally lasts for 40 weeks. Most kids are born after some 9 months spent in their mom’s stomach.
It is very important to know stages of prenatal development, because this way you will know how your child is growing and what is happening inside you. There are three parts of prenatal development: conception stage, embryonic development and fetal development.
Conception (Germinal Stage of Pregnancy)
First 2 weeks of pregnancy are known as conception stage. At this time, your body is reading and preparing for the pregnancy. It takes about 24 to 36 hours after conception to start cell division and then zygote (fertilized egg) form a blastocyst.
It grows a thick layer of blood perfused tissue in the womb and after these 2 weeks, blastocyst reaches the uterus and starts growing in there. Because of the changes happening at this stage, it is also called preparatory stage of pregnancy.
Once the egg (blastocyst) reaches the uterus it starts embryonic stage of development. This is considered to be the most important stage of prenatal development since there is some foundational embryo development. It also requires special care and precaution measures, as well.
Around 4th week of pregnancy embryo has divided into 2 types of cells: those which will make the placenta and those which will make the baby. In the 6th week, doctors can hear baby’s heartbeats and there are legs and arms visible. Teeth and the intestines form in first 8 weeks of pregnancy as well. As the matter of fact all major organs in the body start to develop in first 11 weeks of pregnancy and this is why this stage of prenatal development is so important.
From the 11th week onwards, to the child birth, embryo is called fetus and this stage of development is known as fetal development. The baby continues to develop the hair, nails, genitals, liver and kidneys. Baby’s bones start to harden and his or her vocal cords start to develop as well and all this is happening until the end of 16th week. Somewhere in the 20th week of pregnancy, baby’s skin accumulates some fat and some babies might be seen to experience hiccups. Eyelids and eyebrows are next to develop, as well as the lungs and ligaments. The brain also develops very fast at this point and the child can be seen to open his or her eyes.