One of the most beautiful life-changing moments in a woman’s life is pregnancy. How marvellous is a human body that is capable enough of birthing one of its own? Picture a life coming out of you, a tiny creature who is a part of you, not metaphorically but quite literally. Words are insufficient to express the wonder, isn’t it?
But have you ever wondered what goes on in the body when you are pregnant? You would know that a baby needs to be conceived and an egg needs to be fertilised by the sperm, but do you know what happens afterwards? How does your baby develop inside the womb? How does the baby grow week by week?
If not, be prepared to know everything there is to know about it in this blog post.
Let’s start by learning about the three stages of foetal development
Germinal stage (First two weeks)
The germinal stage begins with the union of the sperm and the egg. The first sperm that reaches the egg in the fallopian tube fertilises it and forms a zygote, which later develops into the embryo. The zygote travels all the way to the uterus in a week. It is during this journey, the zygote divides itself into an embryo and placenta. The zygote then develops into a blastocyst. The blastocyst attaches itself to the uterus lining, which becomes its home for the stages to come. This stage of attaching itself to the uterus lining is called implantation. Implantation is a crucial stage for the pregnancy to be successful. In case of a failed implantation, the fertilised egg is passed out of the body during the period. If the implantation is successful, the blastocyst develops into a baby.
Embryonic stage (3rd week – 8th week)
The embryonic stage is characterised by the development of a zygote into an embryo. The embryo’s organs develop during this stage. The baby’s heart starts to develop and gets a pulse, the buds form into arms, legs develop and so does the neural tube which later becomes the brain and spinal cord. All these formations occur by the eighth week when your morning sickness begins.
Foetal stage (9th week – the birth of the baby)
It is during this stage that the embryo’s organs continue to develop and the embryo turns into a foetus. It is around 9 weeks into the pregnancy that the sex of the foetus is determined, but still cannot be reflected in an ultrasound. Eyelashes, fingernails and hair also grow around this time and the baby also starts to hear. In addition, the foetus begins making movements (moves its limbs) which can only be felt by you by the 20th week.
The important role of the placenta
We mentioned before that the zygote divides itself into an embryo and a placenta. Talking about the placenta now; it is through the placenta that the baby gets nutrients and oxygen. Placenta is formed during the initial stage of pregnancy and connects with the umbilical cord. The placenta is also responsible for producing hormones that stimulate the growth of the foetus. It also protects your baby from infection and diseases by transmitting your antibodies to the baby.
Understanding the stages of pregnancy is essential for expectant parents and those who support them. From the miraculous moment of conception to the beautiful journey of childbirth, pregnancy is a transformative and awe-inspiring experience. By familiarising ourselves with the three distinct stages of foetal development, we can better comprehend the physical and emotional changes that occur within a mother’s body and the growth and development of the baby.
Each stage brings its own joys, challenges, and milestones, and being prepared and informed can greatly contribute to a healthier and more enjoyable pregnancy. From the initial signs of pregnancy to the final countdown to birth, it is crucial to prioritise self-care, seek medical guidance, and embrace the incredible bond between mother and child. By educating ourselves and providing support to expectant parents, we can ensure a nurturing and empowering experience for all involved. Pregnancy is a remarkable journey, and by understanding its stages, we can celebrate and cherish the miracle of life in all its glory.