Stephen & Pamela
We should have listened to the other success stories we read on your website. We activated our profile on August 5th and were matched August 14th with our first contact. We got to meet the birthparents several times over the next couple of months and talked to them daily. It was so nice having a couple of months before our precious baby girl was due to get to know them and get more ...
There's not a magic show out there that can beat the everyday, breathtaking thrill of seeing how your baby progresses from a fertilized egg to a full-fledged person in just nine months. Fetal development is grouped in three stages, germinal, embryonic, and fetal, each with its own specific task.
The germinal stage of fetal development lasts about 2 weeks, from the time of fertilization until implantation in the uterine wall. This is a time of rapid cell division. New cells are being produced and then reproduced. Within 3 days, that single fertilized egg is now a 20-30 celled zygote. Within a week, there are 60-100 cells clustered into a mass that starts to separate into two parts. The outer wall will become the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic sac - the structures that will support the developing infant. The inner mass will develop into your baby.
Once implantation has occurred, we enter the embryonic stage, which lasts about 8 weeks. The big story here is differentiation. Cells are dividing and taking on specific forms and functions. Major body structures, such as the heart, brain, liver, and sex organs, are formed. Some even start functioning - your baby's heart is beating by 7 weeks. The embryo starts to look more like a baby, with arms, legs, and facial features forming. The embryonic stage is the most critical one in fetal development. The developing embryo is highly vulnerable to damage. Proper nutrition and prenatal care are vital at this stage.
From eight weeks until birth, your developing baby is called a fetus, and we enter the final stage of fetal development. The main task now is growth. Major organs are now being refined or becoming detailed in structure. This is a time of rapid brain development. All body systems will start to function now. Even the lungs "breathe" amniotic fluid in and out. As every pregnant mom knows, a fetus is capable of a wide range of activity, including sleeping, kicking, punching a little fist. The baby can suck a thumb, squint, and has a regular sleep/wake cycle. Your baby's size will increase rapidly at this point, with the bulk of growth happening in the final month. After about 24-26 weeks, a fetus is considered viable - if born now, it could survive with intensive care.
No doubt about it - fetal development is the greatest magic show around, and you get the best seat in the house!