Keeping Track of Baby’s Development
After much planning and decision-making, you have just discovered that you are going to be parents! Congratulations!! You might have some questions about how your baby will develop in the womb of your gestational surrogate. It’s been a long time since high school health class, right? Here’s a synopsis of the stages of baby’s development.
Conception and Fertilization
Conception occurs when a sperm has penetrated an egg. This is called fertilization. Once this occurs, the baby’s genetic composition is determined, including its gender. (If an X sperm fertilizes the egg, the baby will be a girl; if Y, a boy).
After fertilization, the embryo will be placed in the uterus of your gestational surrogate, where he or she will grow and develop over the next nine months/40 weeks.
During the first month of your baby’s development, the amniotic sac will form around the embryo, protecting it with a cushioning fluid. The placenta will also develop, its job being to make sure your baby gets its nutrition from the gestational surrogate, and to transfer out your baby’s waste. Your baby’s face will begin to develop in the first month, with the eyes will resembling large, dark-colored circles. Baby’s lower jaw, mouth, and throat will also take shape. Blood cells will form, starting circulation of baby’s blood. Your baby’s heart is just a tube at this point, but by the conclusion of the first month, that little heart will be beating an average of 65 times per minute. Also, by the completion of month one, your baby will be a quarter of an inch long (comparable to the size of a rice grain).
The second month of your baby’s development sees the features that make up your baby’s face continue to grow and change. Ears will start to form as small folds on each side of his head. Arm and leg buds will start to form, as will eyes, toes and fingers. By this point in baby’s development, the brain and spinal cord are formed. Bone will begin to replace cartilage, and baby’s sensory organs and digestive tract will begin developing. If seen on an ultrasound at this time, your baby’s head will look quite large in comparison to its body.
After six weeks, your baby’s heartbeat can likely be heard via stethoscope. By the conclusion of month two of his development, your embryo is now known as a fetus. Your fetus will be an inch in length and weigh about as much as a kidney bean.
Your baby’s limbs, including fingers, hands, toes and feet, have completely formed by this time, and toenails and fingernails are starting to develop. He can close and open his mouth and fists. The external part of your baby’s ears have formed. Teeth are just beginning to form. Reproductive organs are now developing, but your baby’s gender usually cannot yet be determined via ultrasound.
At the close of month three of baby’s development, what is known as the first trimester of pregnancy, your baby will be fully formed, with all extremities and organs present, and urinary and circulatory systems in working order. All parts and systems will continue to mature and develop over the course of the rest of the pregnancy. Your baby’s length is now about four inches and weight is an ounce (about the size of a lime). It is also important to note that the chances of your gestational surrogate miscarrying your baby decrease after the first trimester.
By the fourth month of baby’s development, its heartbeat can usually be heard through a doppler. Eyelashes, eyebrows, eyelids, hair and nails have formed by this time. Bones and teeth are increasing in density. Baby’s nervous system begins to function. Its genitalia and reproductive organs are formed. Genitalia can usually be seen via ultrasound at this time, and gender can usually be determined. You might also see your baby making faces, sucking his thumb, stretching or yawning via ultrasound at this point. At the conclusion of month four, your baby will be about six inches in length and weigh four ounces (about the size of your hand).
Your gestational surrogate might start to notice your baby’s movements at this point in the pregnancy as his muscles develop and he begins to exercise them. Your baby’s hair will continue to grow, and soft, fine, protective hair known as lanugo will begin to cover your baby’s back and shoulders. This hair will usually disappear about a week after baby is born. Your baby’s skin will also be covered by a white coating known as vernix caseosa, also a protective covering that your baby will shed right before he comes into the world. Your baby will measure approximately 10 inches in length and weigh anywhere from a half pound to a full pound by this time (about the size of a banana).
Baby’s translucent, wrinkled skin will take on a reddish hue during month six. Veins will be visible through it. Toe prints and fingerprints are now visible. Eyelids will part and your baby will open his eyes. Your surrogate might notice your baby responding to sounds and even hiccupping this month. Your baby will be about 12 inches in length and weigh an average of two pounds by the completion of month six (equivalent to the size of a mango). It is important to note that babies who are born prematurely, after week 23, can likely survive in neonatal intensive care.
Body fat reserves will continue to develop this month, as your baby continues to mature. His hearing is now fully developed. Your surrogate will tell you that he is moving much more and responding to light and sound. Your baby measures approximately 14 inches in length, weighing anywhere from two to four pounds by the conclusion of month seven (about the size of an eggplant).
More body fat reserves are developing during the eighth month. Your surrogate might feel your baby kicking more now too, as his brain continues to develop rapidly. He can hear and see by the eighth month. His systems are usually well-developed by now, but his lungs may need further development. He will measure 18 inches and weigh up to five pounds by the time month eight is finished.
Your baby’s lungs continue to develop during the final month, and the longer he stays in the womb, the more he will continue maturing and growing. He can turn his head, close his eyes, blink, grasp, and react to touch, light and sound by now. Your surrogate might notice baby moving less often by now, simply because he has less room in which to move. He will begin to change his position as he readies for birth, moving further down into the surrogate’s pelvis, with the head towards her birth canal. Your baby will be approximately 20 inches in length and weigh about seven pounds by the close of the ninth month and is now ready to come out and meet his parents!
Simple Surrogacy wishes you the best of luck on your journey to become parents and will be happy to help you along the way to meeting that goal! Please contact us for more information.