The Month-by-Month Development of a Baby During Pregnancy

by Stephanie Mojica

Each month of pregnancy leads to increased fetal development and prepares your future child for life outside of the womb, according to the Mayo Clinic. Each phase of pregnancy is critical, as certain developmental stages, such as the formation of sexual organs and fingerprints, usually happens during specific points of each expectant mom's term.

The First Month

By the end of your first month of pregnancy, your future child has implanted itself into your uterine wall, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also, at this point the life-sustaining placenta should have formed.

The Second Month

During this stage of the first trimester, your baby's brain, spinal cord and other vital organs have begun to form, according to the Mayo Clinic. Growth and development rapidly accelerate, creating facial features in your future son or daughter.

The Third Month

By week 12, your baby is about 2 ½ inches tall and weighs approximately ½ oz., according to the Mayo Clinic. By now, the facial features should be fully developed into a baby-like appearance. Also, your child's fingernails have developed. Near the end of the first trimester, your child will begin urinating and releasing that waste through the amniotic fluid.

The Fourth Month

The beginning of the second trimester might be an exciting time for you and your partner, as this marks the point in which expectant parents can often find out the sex of their future child, notes the Mayo Clinic. Not only has your future son or daughter's sex organs really begun to form, but his skeletal bones are also developing.

The Fifth Month

Around week 20, you might feel your baby kicking forcefully, according to the Mayo Clinic. By now, your child should weigh at least 11 oz. and be about 6 1/3 inches long. Your baby starts gaining weight rapidly and can now swallow.

The Sixth Month

By the sixth month of pregnancy, your future child's fingerprints have formed, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your baby's hands and fingernails have also fully developed. As your third trimester nears, your child's liver, lungs and immune system grow even stronger.

The Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Months

The third trimester of any pregnancy is considered the "home stretch" and further accelerates your baby's development, according to the Mayo Clinic. During the seventh month, your future son or daughter's eyes will open, and the eyelids will form even further. By week 32, your child practices breathing in preparation for the outside world. As your labor nears in the ninth month of pregnancy, your baby can firmly grasp with his or her hands and rapidly gains weight; by delivery your child might weigh 7 ½ lbs. and stand 14 inches in height.

About the Author

Stephanie Mojica has been a journalist since 1997 and currently works as a full-time reporter at the daily newspaper "The Advocate-Messenger" in Kentucky. Her articles have also appeared in newspapers such as "The Philadelphia Inquirer" and "The Virginian-Pilot," as well as several online publications. She holds a bachelor's degree from Athabasca University.

Photo Credits

  • pregnant #15 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com