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Fetal Development


Immediately upon fertilization of a human egg, the resulting “zygote” begins to divide, or cleave, into multiple cells containing its own unique and complete set of DNA, different than the mother’s. The basic structural plan of a separate human life exists at fertilization and contains all it will ever need to mature and survive throughout its lifetime. Aside from nourishment, the human fetus grows independently of his mother. The human fetus is, in all scientific respects, his own separate and distinct human being. Most induced abortions occur when the baby is between 8-12 weeks old.1

1 The Guttmacher Institute. (2011). In Brief: Fact Sheet; Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States. Retrieved from:

Fetal Development

Week 1
  Last Menstrual Period
 Week 2
 Week 3
   Baby attaches to the uterus
 Week 4
   Nerves, brain and spinal cord begin to develop
 Week 5
   Baby’s heart begins to beat
 Week 6
   Eyes, arms, legs, lungs, and stomach begin to form


Week 7
    Hands and feet are forming
 Week 8
    Upper lip, teeth, fingers and ears begin to form
 Week 9
    Toes and genitals are forming
 Week 10
    Baby has permanent fingerprints


Week 11
   Baby starts to produce urine
 Week 12
   Fingernails are forming
 Week 13
   Baby flexes and kicks
 Week 14
   Hormones gear up


Week 15
   Skin begins to form
 Week 16
   Facial expressions are possible
 Week 17
   Fat accumulates
 Week 18
   Baby begins to hear


Week 19
   Lanugo covers baby’s skin
 Week 20
   The halfway point
 Week 21
   Nourishment evolves
 Week 22
   Taste buds develop


Week 23
   Lungs prepare for life outside the womb
 Week 24
   Sense of balance develops
 Week 25
   Exploration continues
 Week 26
   Eyes remain closed
Week 27
   Second trimester ends
 Week 28
   Baby’s eyes open
 Week 29
   Movement is more forceful
 Week 30
   Baby packs on pounds


Week 31
   Reproductive development continues
 Week 32
   Downy hair falls off
 Week 33
   Baby detects light
 Week 34
   Protective coating gets thicker
 Week 35
   Rapid growth continues
 Week 36
   Baby can suck
 Week 37
   Baby is full-term
 Week 38
   Organ function continues to improve
 Week 39
   Placenta provides antibodies
 Week 40
   Your due date arrives

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