Prenatal Development

8 weeks – the fetus is about the size of a kidney bean and is constantly moving, with a heartbeat and a sense of touch.

12 weeks – the fetus weighs about the same as a pea pod and has formed fingerprints and fingernails. Bones and cartilage have started to form.

16 weeks – the fetus weighs approx. 140g. Skeleton has started to form and the baby is able to suck and swallow. The baby’s skin is almost fully developed and hair has started to grow. 20 weeks – eyebrows, eyelashes and eyelids have grown, the baby is able to taste, and generally starts kicking around this time.

24 weeks – the baby is able to open its eyes and blink, and prepares to take its first breath.

28 weeks – the baby’s heart rate, breathing and blood pressure are almost entirely mature. The fetal nervous system is developed enough so the baby is able to hear loud noises outside the womb. Fetal brainwave activity features sleep cycles, including REM, the stage when dreaming occurs.

32 weeks – the baby has started to put on weight and increased brain development is occurring.

36 weeks – the baby’s brain is rapidly growing and immune system strengthening.

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