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A Summary of Prenatal Development


The following is a summary of a baby's development in the womb.


* Within the first hours and days after conception, the baby's cells divide, taking on different forms and functions. Development is rapid and complex. The baby's heart begins beating when the mother's period is four days late.


* A good doctor, with the latest equipment, can let you hear this heartbeat when you are only six weeks pregnant. Upon doing an internal exam, the doctor can push your uterus forward against your anterior abdominal wall (tummy) and pick up your baby's heartbeat with a special ultrasonic transducer. You can record your baby's heartbeat. If your doctor does not have ultrasonic equipment, you may have to wait a few weeks to hear the heartbeat.


* At two months, the baby has every organ in place, is moving vigorously, has distinctive fingerprints, and can feel pain, even though only an inch or so long.


* At three months, every baby has a unique personality and distinct features. Some babies are graceful ballerinas while others are quarterbacks, gymnasts, or soccer players. You'll soon know your baby's kicking pattern!


* A five-month-old baby has sleeping cycles. A loud noise will startle the baby. Unborn babies like soothing music and hate loud, discordant noise. A baby of this age can learn in the womb--this was proven by scientists at Prenatal University in California.


* At six months, the baby has a chance of survival if born early. Your baby is aware of your emotions and love. Your thoughts and feelings are helping the baby establish personality and security. By thinking pleasant thoughts and speaking to your baby, you build your child's confidence and help your baby feel secure and loved.


* At seven months, a baby can see light through your abdominal wall and doesn't like brightness. Reacting to extreme light, the baby will kick. A lot. Wearing a bikini to the beach may not be the best idea! Use it next summer.


* At birth, a baby will have the same sleeping, waking, and activity patterns as in the womb. Is the baby a thumb sucker? Vigorous hiccupper? Daytime sleeper--nighttime mover? The baby is continuing to act in familiar ways. Birth merely changes the location where the baby lives. Your child is a unique person from the very beginning and will remain so forever.

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