FetalDevelopment

The progressive growth that occurs between fertilization of an egg to the birth of a baby

Ask anything about fetaldevelopment

When do babies develop sex?

  The process through which gender is determined is called human sexual differentiation. You won’t find out about your baby’s gender until your pregnancy is a few months along, but it has already been set in stone from the moment of conception. The baby’s genes determine sex. All eggs contain a X chromosome, while sperm can have an X or an Y chromosome. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell carrying an X chromosome, the resulting XX embryo will be a girl. On the contrary, if the sperm cell has an Y chromosome, the embryo will have male XY chromosomes. At first, all embryos look the same regardless of sex. In fact, if it wasn’t for the effects of testosterone, all babies would develop female traits. Until week 7 of your pregnancy, your baby will have a structure called a “genital ridge”. Then, over the next 5 weeks, your baby starts producing hormones that stimulate the development of its sexual organs. All the sexual organs come from the genital ridge. The ovaries and labia are equivalent to the testicles it means they are formed from the same cells, just like the clitoris and the penis. So once those hormones kick in, the genital ridge begins differentiating into these structures. In boys, the genital ridge starts to lengthen into a penis by week 9. Tiny buds will form the prostate around week 10, and the urinary system is formed by week 14. Testicles descend into the scrotum around week 26, and the penis keeps growing during the third trimester. In girls, ovaries develop between weeks 11 and 12, and they fill up with 7 million of primitive eggs. These eggs will reduce in quantity up until birth, and your baby girl will be born with approximately 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Two structures called the paramesonephric ducts fuse to form the uterus and vagina during the third month of pregnancy. The vagina will open up around week 22. content source

When do babies develop sex?

The process through which gender is determined is called human sexual differentiation. You won’t find out about your baby’s gender until your pregnancy is a few months along, but it has already been set in stone from the moment of conception. The baby’s genes determine sex. All eggs contain an X chromosome, while sperm can have an X or a Y chromosome. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell carrying an X chromosome, the resulting XX embryo will be a girl. On the contrary, if the sperm cell has a Y chromosome, the embryo will have male XY chromosomes. At first, all embryos look the same regardless of sex. In fact, if it wasn’t for the effects of testosterone, all babies would develop female traits. Until week 7 of your pregnancy, your baby will have a structure called a “genital ridge”. Then, over the next 5 weeks, your baby starts producing hormones that stimulate the development of its sexual organs. All the sexual organs come from the genital ridge. The ovaries and labia are equivalent to the testicles it means they are formed from the same cells, just like the clitoris and the penis. So once those hormones kick in, the genital ridge begins differentiating into these structures. In boys, the genital ridge starts to lengthen into a penis by week 9. Tiny buds will form the prostate around week 10, and the urinary system is formed by week 14. Testicles descend into the scrotum around week 26, and the penis keeps growing during the third trimester. In girls, ovaries develop between weeks 11 and 12, and they fill up with 7 million of primitive eggs. These eggs will reduce in quantity up until birth, and your baby girl will be born with approximately 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Two structures called the paramesonephric ducts fuse to form the uterus and vagina during the third month of pregnancy. The vagina will open up around week 22. content source

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How and when will you start feeling your baby movements?

A lot of women get worried because they feel their baby movements, and suddenly these movements stop – they question this action, and are usually worried if something wrong has happened. This article is going to elaborate on your baby’s movements and when one should and should not be worried Once you start feeling a certain movement in your tummy – a lot of questions arise: was that gas? Or did my baby just move? Is my baby kicking too hard? Or was that a really light kick? These questions laid down here are going to be answered one by one in this article. Get ready to understand your baby’s moves! Most women start to feel their baby move between 18 to 22 weeks. It has also been noticed that women who are thinner end up feeling more prominent kicks, and faster than others. It is obvious that after you feel your child kick once, you want to feel it more and more - you probably won't be feeling it consistently until he or she is bigger and packing a more powerful punch. When it comes to how a kick feels some women describe it as - flutters, butterfly wings flapping, gas bubbles, growling stomach, twitches, light tapping, and like a little fish swimming. However, if as a going to be mother, you feel nothing like that – there is no reason to worry! Before long, those little movements will turn into bigger ones, leaving no doubt in your mind about what's going on inside your belly.  Apart from just how the baby movement feels, a lot of women also question how often should they feel their baby move.  It has been noted that by the end of the second trimester, the kicks should become stronger and more frequent. Babies tend to move around a certain period of the day -they are usually most active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., right as you're trying to get to sleep Once your baby has been kicking good enough, doctors suggest that one should monitor their baby's movements. Keeping track of all those little punches, jabs, and kicks to make sure your baby is still developing normally. Apart from this, it is also necessary to keep visiting your doctor about your baby’s movements! To count movements, pick a time when your baby is usually most active. Get into a comfortable position either sitting down in a comfortable chair or lying on your side. There are various opinions laid down as to how one should track a baby's movement – However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends noting the time it takes for your baby to make 10 movements. You should feel at least 10 movements within a two-hour period. If you don't feel your baby move 10 times by the end of two hours, try again later in the day. Then if you still can't feel 10 movements in two hours, or your baby is much less active than normal, call your health care provider, who can check your baby's heart rate and movements. A lot of women are worried about the idea that what if they don’t feel their baby move at all? This is a very worrisome situation for most mothers! We suggest that if you still haven’t reached 25 weeks, and are not feeling your baby move, then don’t panic. Give it time, and you’ll be able to feel your baby move, apart from just that you’ll also be able to figure out the time your baby is the most active! A lack of movement also may mean that your baby is asleep. You may feel fewer kicks and jabs after the 32nd week as your baby gets bigger and has less room to move around in the uterus. However, it is time to call your doctor if your baby has started moving regularly and still you don’t feel at least 10 movements within a span of two hours. We will also provide you with a guideline defining how baby movements occur depending on the weeks of pregnancy. Do give it a read, it will be very helpful: Week 12: Your baby should start to move, but you probably won't be able to feel anything, because the baby is still so small. Week 16: Some pregnant women will start to feel tiny butterfly-like flutters. The feeling might just be gas, or it might be the baby moving. Week 20: By this point in your baby's development, you may start to really feel your baby's first movements, called "quickening." Week 24: The baby's movements are starting to become more established. You might also begin to feel slight twitches as your baby hiccups. Week 28: Your baby is moving often now. Some of the kicks and jabs may take your breath away. Week 36: Your uterus is getting crowded as the baby grows, and movements should slow down a bit. However, alert your healthcare provider if you notice significant changes in your baby’s usual activity. You should feel consistent movement throughout the day. We hope that this article has provided all going to be mothers and fathers ample information on baby movements, how to monitor the baby movements, and when one should visit their doctor! Thank you for taking out your precious time and reading this article! Content Source Featured Image Source

How Electronic Fetal Heart Monitoring Test Is Done?

If you’re pregnant your doctor wants to make sure your baby is healthy and growing as he should. One of the ways she does that is to check the rate and rhythm of your baby’s heartbeat. Fetal heart monitoring is part of every pregnancy checkup. It’s combined with other tests for a closer look if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other conditions that could cause problems for you and your baby. Fetal heart rates also can help count your contractions and tell if you’re going into labor too early. How the Test Is Done Your doctor can monitor the baby’s heartbeat one of two ways. She can listen for and record the beats from your belly. Or once your water has broken and you’re in labor, she can thread a thin wire through your cervix and attach it to your baby’s head. From the outside: If your pregnancy is going normally, your doctor likely will check your baby’s heart rate with a hand-held device called a Doppler ultrasound. If you need it, your doctor might do a special test called a nonstress test, usually starting around 32 weeks of your pregnancy. It counts the number of times the baby’s heart speeds up during a 20-minute period. For the test, you'll lie down with a sensor belt around your belly. A machine will record the number of times the baby’s heart speeds up in a 20-minute stretch. If it’s fewer than 2, your doctor will run a longer test and try to wake the baby or make him stir with noise over your belly. Your doctor also may put you on a fetal heart rate monitor during your delivery. It can tell your doctor if the contractions are stressing your baby. If so, you might have to have your baby as soon as possible. From the inside: Once your water breaks and your cervix opens to prepare for birth, your doctor can run a wire called an electrode through it and into your womb. The wire attaches to your baby’s head and connects to a monitor. This gives a better reading than listening to his heartbeat from the outside. Content Source Featured Image Source

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How foul air may affect fetal heart development

Apart from ensuring healthy food choices, good prenatal care, and regular medicines, there are other factors also that affect the health of a developing fetus. One such environmental factor is exposure to microparticles in air pollution. According to a recent study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Toxicology, exposure to particulate matter in the air may damage the healthy development of the cardiovascular system of a fetus. Researchers have found that exposure to microscopic particulates in early pregnancy or in late pregnancy, significantly impacted the development of the fetal heart. This means that pregnant women, those undergoing fertility treatment, or of child-bearing age should avoid going out in high pollution areas and should also consider monitoring the quality of indoor air. Even a single incident of exposure likely to cause damage The growth and development of the fetus are affected by what the mother eats, drinks and even breathes. Therefore, when she inhales these nano-particulates in the air, it affects her circulatory system, constricting her blood vessels and restricting the blood flow to the uterus. This lack of blood flow leads to a lower supply of oxygen and nutrients to the child, hampering its growth. Further, restricted blood flow may also lead to other pregnancy complications like intrauterine growth restriction. For the purpose of the study, the researchers exposed a group of pregnant rats to nano aerosols of titanium dioxide a single time during all three trimesters and observed its effects. These effects were then compared with the development of milestones in pregnant rats exposed to highly filtered air. The study findings revealed that exposure to these particulates in early pregnancy significantly impacted the development of the main artery and the umbilical vein in the fetus. Further, exposure during the late third trimester affected the growth of the fetus, distressing fetal size. This happened because of decreased nutrients and vitamins reaching the uterus during the third trimester. The researchers also found that the restricted blood flow to the fetus during pregnancy continued to affect the child in adulthood. Non-pregnant animals also affected Exposure to these nano-particles of titanium oxide damaged the function of uterine arteries even in non-pregnant animals. While nanotechnology has led to major advances in the sciences, its impact on humans at different stages of development is yet unknown. It is estimated that by 2025, the annual global production of nanosized particles of titanium dioxide will reach 2.5 million metric tonnes. In addition to being found in the air, these nanoparticles are also used in personal and beauty care products like face powders and sunscreens. Though the impact of air pollution on the general health of the population is well-known, there is relatively little research on how it affects fetal development. More research is being undertaken in this regard, but it would take some time for scientists to understand the complete implications of air pollution on fetal growth and development. Featured Image Source

First Fetal Movement: Quickening

Feeling your little one move inside you is one of the most exciting phases of pregnancy. For different women, the movements take place at different times during their pregnancy. Some moms can feel their babies move as early as 13-16 weeks from the start of their last period. These first fetal movements are called quickening and are often described as flutters. It may be difficult to determine whether this feeling is gas or your baby’s movements, but soon you will begin to notice a pattern. First-time moms may not feel these movements as early as second-time moms. Some moms, especially those in their first pregnancy, may not feel movement until 18-20 weeks. Remember that each woman and every pregnancy is different, so you may not feel movement as early as another woman. There is a broad range of when the first detection of movement can be felt, ranging from 13-25 weeks. Why Does My Baby Move? As your baby is continuing to develop he/she will stretch and flex his/her limbs. As you get further along in your pregnancy, you will begin to feel more obvious movements, such as kicking, punching, and rolling. Your baby may also move as he/she responds to noise or to your emotions. If your baby finds a position you are in to be uncomfortable, he/she may also begin to squirm. Certain foods you eat can also cause your baby to be more active, and you may notice he/she follows a sleeping/waking cycle. How Often Should My Baby Move? As you get further along in your pregnancy, you will need to keep track of how often your baby moves each day. Sometime in the third trimester, you may notice your baby’s movements are more frequent and vigorous and occur in a regular pattern. However, although movements are still regular, they may change towards the end of the third trimester because the baby is bigger and more restricted in the uterus. Talk with your doctor, if you notice a  decrease in your baby’s movements. Beginning with week 28, it is beneficial to begin counting your baby’s movements. This will help you to identify potential problems and can also be a great bonding experience between you and your baby. Using a kick count chart can be very helpful. When counting your baby’s movements choose the same time each day. It may be easiest to lie on your left side and record how long it takes to feel 10 movements. For further information about recording movements see kick counts. What Should I Do If I Don’t Feel My Baby Moving? If you have been keeping a chart of your baby’s movements and you notice a significant deviation in the pattern, contact your health care provider. If you do not feel 10 movements within 2 hours, try again later that day. If you still do not feel 10 movements within 2 hours, you should contact your healthcare provider. Content Source Featured Image Source

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Getting your baby into the right position for birth

If your baby is in a head-down position, with the back of his head slightly towards the front of your tummy (anterior position), your labour is likely to be shorter and easier. Most babies get into this position by the end of pregnancy. In an anterior position, your baby fits snugly into the curve of your pelvis. During labour, your baby will curl his back over, and tuck his chin into his chest. Your labour and birth should progress easily if your baby is in this position, because: During contractions, the top of your baby's head puts rounded and even pressure on the neck of your uterus (cervix). This helps your cervix to widen, and your body to produce the hormones you need for labour. During the pushing stage, your baby moves through your pelvis at an angle, so that the smallest area of his head comes first. Try putting on a tight polo neck without tucking in your chin and you'll understand how this works! When your baby gets to the bottom of your pelvis, he turns his head slightly, so that the widest part of his head is in the widest part of your pelvis. The back of his head can then slip underneath your pubic bone. As he is born, his face sweeps across the area between your vagina and back passage (perineum). Can I really make my baby get into the right position for birth? Adopting a hands-and-knees position for 10 minutes, twice a day, can help to move your baby into an anterior position in late pregnancy. This technique (OFP) is tried-and-tested. However, all doctors may not recommend OFP in pregnancy because of the lack of written evidence. Most doctors may still encourage you to try the positions during labour, as you may be more comfortable in them once your contractions start. You could try to stay in upright or forward postures regularly in every-day life, rather than for short bursts. But this might not affect how your baby lies at birth. How can I improve my baby's position during labour? If your baby is in a posterior position when labour starts, you can still use postures and movements to try and help your baby to turn and relieve your pain. It's common for posterior babies to change position during labour, and most get themselves into an anterior position by the pushing stage. You may feel slight niggling pains for several days before labour really starts. This can be tiring, but may be a sign that your baby is trying to turn into an anterior position. You may find that one of the best positions is on all fours. In this position, your baby drops away from your spine, helping to relieve backache and hopefully helping him to turn, too. Here are some tips for coping with pre-labour and early labour: Get plenty of rest at night. Vary your daytime activities from walking and moving around, to adopting all-fours or knees-to-chest positions. Knees –to-chest position is when you're on your knees with your head, shoulders and upper chest on the floor or mattress, with your bottom in the air. Lean forwards during contractions, and try pelvic rocking on a birth ball. Eat and drink regularly to keep your strength up and stay hydrated. Try to stay relaxed and positive. Content source Featured image source

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Pregnancy ultrasounds: When and why they are needed

For many expectant mothers, the first ultrasound scan is very exciting. That’s because it allows them to get the first glimpse of their baby. But ultrasounds serve a very important purpose, which is to make sure your baby is safe and healthy. How does an ultrasound work? An ultrasound sends high-frequency waves through the tummy and into the uterus. Hard tissues like bones show up as white areas while soft tissues appear grey and fluids like the amniotic fluid appear black. This combination of colours allows the doctor to determine if all is well with the baby by interpreting the ultrasound. Ultrasounds have been in use for over 40 years and are supposed to be completely safe for the child. Nonetheless, every scan should be justified and only the minimum scans needed to make a correct diagnosis should be undertaken. Who does the ultrasound? It is done by doctors who have special training in ultrasound and a certificate registered under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. The ultrasound can only be performed in a clinic that follows the guideline under the Act. How does the scan work? You need to drink a lot of water so that your uterus can be seen easily in the scan. The doctor will put some cold gel on your stomach move a small hand-held transducer or probe over your tummy to get views of the baby. If the picture isn’t clear enough, especially in the early days, you may need a vaginal scan. The vaginal transducer will fit comfortably inside your vagina. The doctor will use a lubricated condom to cover the transducer so that it slides in easily. The probe does not go in very deep, so it will not harm you or your baby in any way. Ultrasounds are not painful in any way although the abdominal one may feel slightly uncomfortable on a full bladder. When and why are scans undertaken? The regular scans, generally between 4 and 5 if you have a healthy pregnancy include the following. Dating and viability scan between 6 and 9 weeks. This helps to confirm where the fertilized egg has embedded itself which is where the placenta will grow. This scan also helps to make sure that your baby has a heartbeat and whether you have one baby or multiples. This can also detect an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants in the Fallopian tube, not the uterus. It also helps to accurately date your baby by measuring the fetus. Nuchal translucency (NT) scan between 11 and 13 weeks. This helps to assess the risk of Down's syndrome by measuring the fluid at the back of the baby's neck. Anomaly scan (ultrasound level II) between 18 and 20 weeks. This helps to find out why a blood screening test was abnormal. Growth scan or fetal wellbeing scan between 28 and 32 weeks. This helps to examine the baby to check that all her organs are developing normally. Growth scan and colour Doppler studies between 36 and 40 weeks. Featured Image Source        

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Fetal Movements: is your baby kicking?

Nothing reassures you more about the baby growing in your womb than the first kick. These tiny movements keep you guessing about what the baby would be doing at that time. Was what you felt actually a kick or just gas bubbles coursing through your body. Every pregnant woman waits for that moment when they would feel the first kick of their babies. When would I feel my baby kick? Most women feel their baby kick between week 18 and week 22, though some may report feeling it as early as week 13. Usually, second-timers feel it earlier as they know a kick when they feel a kick. Another reason why they might feel the kicks earlier is that their abdominal muscles are laxer. Further, thinner mothers also tend to feel a baby kick earlier as they lack the fat to cushion the movements. Actually, a first-time mother-to-be might have already felt the baby move but was unable to recognize the movement. Does this mean that the baby moves only at the time I feel the kick? No. The baby moves all the time in the amniotic fluid. But, because it is very small, one may not feel its movements. As the baby grows and becomes stronger, it is able to make more distinguishable movements and these are the ones you feel. What do the baby kicks feel like? Most mothers-to-be define the first movements of their babies as gas bubbles, butterflies flying or soft flutters. Medically, this is known as quickening. It would take some time for the quickening to graduate to firmer movements. Is it true that I would feel the baby moving less as my pregnancy progresses? Not exactly. There would definitely be down times when the baby is sleeping or resting and you might not feel any movements. However, the bigger the baby gets, the lesser the space it has to move and the more you should feel its movements. Once you have determined a pattern and understood their sleep cycle, you would be able to predict their movements and rest time. How often should I feel the baby kick? Before week 28, there is no need as such to record baby movement. At times, up to three days may pass between movements. Once you cross the 28th-week mark, you need to keep a watch on fetal movements. Your doctor would give you a rough estimate of how much movement you should feel. A healthy baby kicks around a lot. Apart from their sleep time, if you notice the baby’s activity levels reducing or weakened movements, talk to your doctor. Pregnancy is a beautiful time for any mother-to-be, therefore, sit back, relax and enjoy yours to the fullest. Featured Image Source  

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Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can happen quite often and can become very uncomfortable at times. But how do you decide what pain is acceptable and when it indicates something more serious? Here’s everything you need to know about abdominal pain during pregnancy.   Is abdominal pain during pregnancy normal? Abdominal pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy and is normal in a healthy pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts pressure on your muscles, joints, veins. As your baby grows, the uterus tilts to the right which causes pain in the right side. The ligaments on both sides of your body grow to accommodate your growing baby so you may feel pain on both sides of the stomach. Having sex may sometimes trigger abdominal pain and cramping, especially during the third trimester. It might be a good idea to keep the sex soft at this time.   How to deal with normal abdominal pain during pregnancy? Getting some rest is the best way to deal with the cramps. Other methods include sitting down with your feet up, lying on the side opposite to the one which hurts, taking a warm bath, and using a hot water bottle or a heated wheat bag on the area which hurts. When can abdominal pain mean something more? Abdominal pain can be an indicator of something more under the following circumstances.   Abdominal pain unrelated to pregnancy This could be gas, bloating, UTI, kidney stones or even appendicitis. You should contact your doctor if the pain is accompanied by pain or burning when you pee, spotting or bleeding, vomiting, unusual vaginal discharge, tenderness and pain, chills and fever.   Abdominal pain during an early miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy If abdominal pain is accompanied by bleeding in your first trimester it could be an early miscarriage. You may also have painful cramping and dark, watery blood if you have an ectopic pregnancy in your first trimester. In either case, it’s best to go to the doctor immediately.   Abdominal pain during a late miscarriage Abdominal pain in the second trimester is usually nothing to worry about. In rare cases, it may indicate a late miscarriage only if it’s accompanied by bleeding. It usually occurs between 12 and 24 weeks.   Abdominal pain in the third trimester Severe abdominal pain in the third trimester could be an indicator of premature labour. In this case, you would feel pain in your pelvic or lower tummy area, backache, mild tummy cramps and diarrhoea. You may even have your water breaking, and regular contractions, or uterus tightening. This may happen between 24 weeks and 37 weeks of pregnancy and your doctor should be consulted immediately.    

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7 reasons why you can't get sleep at night

One of the best things you can do to manage insomnia while you’re pregnant is to have a good sleep routine. Begin by trying to go to bed at the same time every night. Start your routine with something relaxing to help you unwind.  Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed. Blue light from the TV, your mobile phone, or tablet can have an impact on your body’s circadian rhythm. Try reading a book instead. Taking a soothing bath might also make you sleepy. Just be careful that the temperature isn’t too hot — that can be dangerous for your developing baby. This is especially true during early pregnancy. Being pregnant is the best phase of your life, this is the common term everyone says, but no one tells you about the challenges. There are also a lot of sleepless nights that a woman has to face. As, the reasons can vary as per your body but the most common ones are discussed below: Frequent visit to the bathroom: Holding a life inside you is not easy. As you eat you eat for two, similarly as you drink your water intake also increases. The more you drink the more you want to pee. Your bathroom visits can make you stay up during nights. Indigestion: The hormones play a major role in here, increase in hormones can lead to indigestion. Avoid eating spicy food and opting for a healthy diet can be of help here. On the other hand, avoid eating two hours before going to bed can be of help. Baby’s movement: Baby’s like to move in the womb when mothers are lying still. Movement in the rib cage is uncomfortable for mothers and can make you stay up for all time.   Even if you are not able to sleep after adequate efforts, see your doctor and get help rightaway. Feature Image Source

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Stages of Pregnancy

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Lack of fetal movement in third trimester: Why not to worry

Feeling your baby move is one of the highlights of pregnancy, and this movement changes throughout your nine months. The first signs of movement during your second trimester feel like flutters. By the third trimester, you are feeling kicks and punches, some of which you can even see from the outside. Although movement can slow down as the pregnancy ends, a lack of fetal movement can also signal a problem. Movement can slow down as you get closer to your due date for one simple reason: the baby is running out of room to move. While he used to be flipping and rolling in your womb, he simply does not have the space to do that anymore. Ideally, your baby has moved himself to the head-down position and will stay there in preparation for delivery. Less movement, then, can be a natural progression of the pregnancy. Many doctors encourage their patients to do kick counts every day to keep track of the baby's movement. You can perform kick counts throughout the pregnancy, all the way through your last trimester. Kick counting will inform you of any lack of movement right away. The general rule for kick counts is feeling 10 movements--kicks, jabs, rolls--within a two-hour period. If you feel anything less than that, call your doctor. If you're busy and moving around yourself, you might not notice the baby moving--but that doesn't mean he isn't. Set aside time every day during your last trimester to focus on your baby's movement. Lie on your left side and feel for kicks. Drinking a glass of cold drink or juice with some sugar in it can encourage movement and wake up your sleeping baby.  

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