This section describes the development of your baby as
well as the changes you go through as your pregnancy
progresses. We discuss many issues with you at your
regular appointments. Please feel free to ask your
provider any other questions you have.
4 Weeks At this point, the embryo is less than a quarter-
inch long. The first body segments on the baby that
eventually become the brain and spinal cord. The heart,
blood circulation, and digestive tract take shape. At this
time, you miss your first period. Your breasts become
tender and enlarged. Chronic fatigue and urinary
frequency may begin, persisting for three or more
8 Weeks Development of the embryo is rapid. The
baby’s heart begins to pump blood and limb buds are
well developed. Facial features and major divisions of
the brain are discernible. The baby’s ears develop from
skin folds; tiny bones and muscles are formed beneath
the thin skin. By this time, the embryo has grown to
nearly two inches in length. Morning sickness may
persist for 12 weeks, and your uterus changes from pear
to globular shape. You may notice an increase in
vaginal discharge. Usually, there is no weight gain.
Depending on when you started our prenatal care, we
will discuss alpha fetal protein (AFP) information with
you between weeks 11-14.
12 Weeks The embryo becomes a fetus. Its beating heart
is discernible by Doppler. The baby assumes a more
human shape as the lower body develops. The organs
begin to differentiate, and the kidneys start to produce
urine. His or her facial features and limbs become more
distinct, and fingers, toes, ears, and eyelids are formed.
The fetus weighs about one ounce and is three inches in
length. Your uterus rises above the pelvic brim.
If you choose to have the AFP blood test to rule out birth
defects involving the brain and spinal cord, it is done
anytime between 16 and 18 weeks. This test is optional,
and we discuss the pros and cons with you.
16 Weeks The baby’s musculoskeletal system has
matured, and his or her nervous system begins to exert
control. Blood vessels rapidly develop. The baby’s fetal
hands can grasp and the legs kick actively. The organs
begin to mature and grow. At this point, the fetus
weighs about seven ounces and is approximately six
inches long. The fundus (top of uterus) is halfway
between the pubis and navel. You gain about one pound
per week, and you may begin to feel more energetic.
You may notice an increase in vaginal secretions and
may begin wearing maternity clothes. The pressure on
the mother’s bladder lessens, and urinary frequency
decreases. You feel fetal movements (quickening)
beginning between 16 and 22 weeks of gestation.
20 Weeks The baby’s movements are stronger and more
easily felt. The baby has grown to about 10 inches in
length and weighs about 1/2 pound. Fine hair covers the
body. The eyebrows, eyelashes and head hair develop.
The fetus develops a regular schedule of sleeping,
sucking and kicking. The fundus reaches the top of
the navel. Your breasts may begin secreting colostrum.
An ultrasound is often done around 20 weeks. This
ultrasound helps delineate fetal anatomy, placental
position and fluid volume. During your appointment
around weeks 20-24, you receive instructions about
24 Weeks The baby’s skin appears red and wrinkled.
The baby’s skeleton develops rapidly as bone-forming
cells increase activity. Respiratory movement begins. At
this point, the fetus weighs about one pound, 10 ounces.
The fundus is above the navel. You may begin to have
backaches and leg cramps, as well as changes in your
skin and abdominal itching.
28 Weeks The fetus can breathe, swallow, and regulate
temperature. His or her eyes may occasionally open for
short periods of time. At this time, the baby is 2/3 of its
birth size. Your fundus is halfway between the navel
and the breast bone. The fetal outline may be palpable.
Parents begin taking childbirth preparation classes
around this time.
Blood is drawn for diabetic screening during your office
visit around 28 weeks
If you are Rh negative, you also have your antibody
screen drawn. This day you will also receive your
injection of RhoGam.
At about 28 weeks gestation, your office visits change
from every four weeks to every two weeks.
32 Weeks The baby is now almost fully grown, and
movements are strong enough to be visible from the
outside. The baby’s skin is no longer quite as wrinkled,
and the baby is usually in the head-down position.
Weight is around four pounds, and length is
approximately 16 1/2 inches. Fundus reaches the
bottom of the breast bone, and the mother’s breasts are
full and tender. Urinary frequency may return. You
may have swollen ankles and sleeping problems.
You will also receive your pre-admission form for the
hospital in which you desire to deliver at. We suggest
that you tour labor and delivery units during this time.
36 Weeks 36 weeks gestation, you get postpartum
instructions. Your scheduled appointments change from
every two weeks to every week. We discuss labor and
delivery issues, including your hospital choice, your
preference for anesthesia, and procedures for when you
go into labor (when to call, etc.).
38 Weeks The entire uterus is occupied by the baby,
thus making its movement less pronounced. Maternal
antibodies are being transferred to the baby. This
provides immunity for about six months until the
infant’s immune system can take over. The fetus
descends deeper into your pelvis. The placenta is nearly
four times as thick as it was 20 weeks ago. Backaches,
urinary frequency and Braxton Hicks contractions
intensify as your cervix and lower uterine segment
prepare for labor.
Cervical checks begin to assess for dilation, effacement,
and baby’s position.
For general information or questions, please email us. Please note: Clinical questions cannot be answered via email due to the current HIPAA Regulations.
Notice: All pages and their content are provided as information only. This is not a substitute for medical care or your doctor's attention. Please seek the advice of your doctor.