Abortion Pill Reversal 877.558.0333

When it comes to wonders of the universe, the process that turns one infinitesimal fertilized human cell into a completely formed and incredibly complex full-term baby within just a few months ranks among the most extraordinary marvels mankind has ever experienced. That this miracle plays out all the time, over and over, all around the world, doesn’t diminish the astonishing nature of it one bit. We here at Open Arms Real Choices Clinic are committed to supporting and uplifting women who are experiencing that miracle unexpectedly, and aren’t sure where to turn for support and information.

Fetal development is a remarkable journey that spans approximately 40 weeks, or 280 days, from conception to birth. As anyone who has waited impatiently for a new arrival knows, this length of time may vary somewhat depending on factors such as the age and health of the mother, her number of previous births, and the growth rate of the baby.

Pregnancy is typically divided into three trimesters, each lasting about three months, during which significant changes occur in both the preborn baby and the expectant mother.


First Trimester

The first trimester, encompassing weeks 1 to 12, covers the initial stages of fetal development. Following conception, the mother’s body shifts into pregnancy mode. Complex processes begin working to create the safest, most nurturing environment possible for the new life already present within the womb. The fertilized egg cell divides into two cells, then four, then eight, and so on. By the end of the fourth week, this hollow ball of dividing cells, called a blastocyst, implants itself into the uterine lining and forms the amniotic sac, essential for cushioning and protecting the developing baby. 

Very early on, the rapidly dividing cells begin to specialize through a process called cell differentiation, transforming from undifferentiated cells into muscle cells, bone cells, nerve cells, or whatever other cells are needed for the embryo’s developing tissues. The placenta forms, serving as a conduit between the mother’s circulatory system and the baby’s. Through it, the baby receives nutrients and oxygen, and eliminates waste products. Throughout this trimester, critical organogenesis occurs, with major organ systems and body structures taking shape. The primitive neural tube develops into a brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system, and the heartbeat is detectable on ultrasound as early as week five. By the end of the third month, the baby, which started out as an embryo, has grown into a fetus, with distinct facial features, limbs, and organs—even tiny fingernails!


Second Trimester

As the pregnancy progresses into the second trimester (weeks 13 to 28), some expectant mothers find relief from early discomforts such as morning sickness and fatigue. Thanks to the return of energy and appetite, many women consider the second trimester to be the best part of their pregnancies. 

This period is marked by substantial growth and maturation for the developing child. By the end of the fourth month, the fetus demonstrates coordinated movements and facial expressions, like thumb-sucking and smiling. Quickening, the fluttering sensation of the baby moving, typically begins around the fifth month, providing expectant parents with tangible evidence of their baby’s presence with kicks and other movements that can be felt internally by the mother, but also externally felt by putting a hand on the mother’s belly and even seen. 

As the fetus continues to develop rapidly, the emotional bond between mother and baby may strengthen. The child’s ability to hear and respond to stimuli invites a sense of communication; many parents report fetal movement in response to music, touch, and the sound of mom’s or dad’s voices. The baby even develops a sleep-wake cycle. Often, a pregnant mother finds that her little one is just waking up and getting active when she lays down to rest!

In this phase, vocal cords form, the skin thickens, and fine hair begins to grow. The baby’s external sex organs can be observed with an ultrasound. Even though the fetus still uses amniotic fluid to practice breathing, the lungs are beginning to develop. 


Third Trimester

In the third trimester (weeks 29 to 40), the fetus grows faster in size and continues to develop in preparation for birth. The development of body fat provides insulation and energy reserves, while internal organs near completion. By the end of the ninth month, the baby is ready for delivery, with fully formed bones, mature lungs, and a significant increase in body fat. 

For many women, pregnancy weight gain accelerates in the last month or two of gestation. As the due date approaches, the expectant mother may also experience some physical discomfort as the fetus descends into the pelvis in anticipation of labor. That means you’re almost there!


Taking Care of You and Your Little One

Throughout the entire pregnancy journey, regular prenatal care and monitoring is essential to ensure the health and well-being of both you and your developing baby. Regular visits to your OB/GYN enable the tracking of fetal growth and development, and allow your doctor to catch potential complications early so that medical interventions can be implemented if needed. Ultrasound scans and fetal monitoring provide valuable insights into the progress of pregnancy, and give parents peace of mind, knowing that everything is on track.

Pregnancy is a challenging, wondrous, question-filled journey. Understanding what is happening in your baby’s world from month to month can help allay fears and shed light on the miracle of new life. Each trimester brings new milestones and growth, and the time you spend waiting to meet your baby allows you to gather your resources and prepare yourself for the even greater adventure ahead of active parenthood.


Through it all, Open Arms Real Choices Clinic will be there for you. Whether you want someone to talk to, are looking for pregnancy information, or need parenting preparation and support, the staff at Open Arms is dedicated to serving women with unplanned pregnancies. Chat live with a nurse on our website or let one of our caring counselors meet with you and help you figure out your next steps. 

Skip to content