Babies are miracles. It's plain and simple. The number of stages and processes that a baby must go through in order to be born is nothing short of incredible. Each stage is met with a number of challenges but the entire process is designed in the most perfect and flawless way. When you first find out that you may be expecting, you may not feel very different, but your newly developing baby is working hard to grow!
By just three weeks, a fertilized egg is already burrowing itself into the uterus and instantly and rapidly begins developing! Amniotic fluid is starting to collect around your little one and it will eventually become the amniotic sac that will keep your baby protected throughout the pregnancy. Your baby is now receiving everything he or she needs from tons of tiny little tunnels that connect your baby's blood vessels to the lining of your uterine wall. The placenta won't come into play until around 4 weeks. Between 4 weeks and 10 weeks, all of your baby's organs will begin to develop and some of them will even start working! It's amazing to think that all those tiny organs are fitting inside an inch long body! Every minute that your child is in your belly, he or she is working hard to grow, learn, and change in order to develop into that precious smelling bundle you will get to meet in 9 months!
With every stage you enter throughout your pregnancy, more amazing changes are happening, and you would be surprised at the incredible things that your sweet baby can do inside the womb!
Studies have shown that mothers who consume certain foods will give birth to babies who enjoy that same food after they are born. For example, a mother who eats lots of carrots while pregnant, will most likely have a child who will be a carrot munching fiend! Do you like to eat bacon? There's a possibility that your baby, when old enough, will like it just as much as you do!
By the time you are nine weeks pregnant, she will already have developed a tiny mouth, tongue, and little taste buds. At this point, your baby is getting all her nutrients from the amniotic fluid, so the different flavors of foods that you eat, will pass through your bloodstream and into that fluid. This is when your little one will get a taste of those spicy, sweet, or savory foods you've been eating. If you want to birth a veggie-loving baby, be sure to eat all the green things you can get your hands on!
A growing baby can suck his or her thumb as early as 12 weeks! Many expecting parents have been able to catch this moment on an ultrasound. As soon as the baby's arms can reach her mouth, she will learn how to and be able to suck her thumb for comfort or just as a way to explore all her new developments. Some babies may even continue to suck their thumbs once they have been born and even into toddlerhood!
The more the baby touches her face, flexes her hands, or sucks her thumb, the better. A thumb-sucker in the womb is a good indication of a healthy developing baby! However, don't be overly concerned if you have not witnessed your baby do this. There are many other indicators that you are carrying a perfectly healthy baby!
Pay close attention at the next ultrasound appointment and hopefully, you will be able to notice your smart little baby sucking that thumb!
13 Sweet Dreams
In recent years, researchers have been able to determine that around 32-36 weeks (Maybe even earlier than that!), babies begin going through the REM cycle (Rapid Eye Movement), which is associated with dreaming. Although dreaming in the womb has not been fully proven (Brain waves cannot be monitored), doctors are confident that this phenomena is likely.
Babies who have reached the 23 week mark have sleep cycles that are very much like those of a newborn baby. This means that they spend a lot of their time in REM sleep. Doctors have also discovered that babies in the womb go through very quiet yet alert stages in which they seem to be concentrating on sounds outside of their cozy home in mama's belly.
Even though babies depend completely on their mamas to thrive, they are still amazingly intelligent and adaptable. It's interesting to think that a little baby growing in a belly is concentrating on things that are happening outside the womb, let alone having dreams! If only we knew what those little angels are dreaming about!
If only there was a way to know what those little angels are dreaming about!
12 Teeth Buds, Hair Follicles and Fingernails
It is hard to believe, but your little baby will be almost completely formed by eleven weeks! At this point in your pregnancy, you're probably feeling exhausted and pretty nauseous but your little baby is working hard to come and meet you, so be patient, and know that this stage will pass soon.
At this point, he or she is the size of a fig or about 1.5 inches long. That is smaller than the length of your pinky finger! Hold your pinky finger up. Now imagine a baby with tiny eyes, an itty bitty nose, and a little heart in that small space. It is an incredible thing! Moreover, that little one in a half inch body is already developing teeth buds in his or her gums! Not to mention she may also start developing hair follicles and fingernails at this stage in the pregnancy. Your little one is growing, changing, and developing so much in the first few weeks, that there's no wonder you are exhausted!
11 Baby Mozarts
If you have not realized it by now, your developing baby is nothing short of incredible. Not convinced? Read on.
A research project indicated that babies who had songs played to them in the womb were able to recognize that same song several months after they were born.
During this particular research, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" was played very loudly several times a day during the last trimester of pregnancy. Next, a few days after birth, researchers took recordings by using electrodes on different sections of the babies' brains. When the babies heard the familiar lullaby again, there was a decidedly greater brain response than those babies in a control group. Researchers tested this amazing event further by changing a few notes in the song while the babies' brains were once again being recorded. Judging by their brain activity, the babies seemed to notice that something was different in the song as their brains reacted differently to the new tune!
This phenomenon is known as preconscious learning. This means that the babies do not consciously realize that they are hearing that same song again, instead, their brains recognize the familiar tune and this recognition shows obvious changes in the babies' brain waves.
10 Are You Okay, Mama?
Your baby is so connected to you, that he can learn your emotional state inside the womb! Unbelievably, babies can take part in some of the emotions that you are experiencing! There will never be another human being on this Earth who will have the ability to be that in-tune and connected to you and your emotions, so never take your little one for granted!
An Australian study was once conducted in which expectant mothers watched a very disturbing portion of a movie for 20 minutes and the babies in the womb experienced the same emotional upset! Even when these babies were exposed to the same movie 3 months after birth, they remembered those familiar emotions that were correlated to the events being viewed.
Some other controversial studies have shown that the emotional state of the mother can produce a baby who possesses the same emotional tendencies. For example, an anxious mother may give birth to an anxious baby! While this is a very real possibility, you should keep in mind that very short bouts of anxiousness or sadness that are quickly resolved, will not have a lasting effect on your baby, so don't cause yourself any unesscesary worry! However, the effects of long-term emotions like the ones mentioned above can impact your little one, therefore you should never underestimate the impact that you can have on your child, moreover, the impact that your child can have on you!
9 Wanna Play?
Your smart little baby can not only learn, taste, and dream, but he or she can also play!
Videos have been captured during sonograms in which the baby is clearly jumping and moving in response to sound. These videos show babies who have only been developing for about 9 weeks!! All you have to do is Google: "Baby moving in womb", and you will be overwhelmed with results that show very tiny babies jumping, waving, smiling, and even clapping inside the womb! Mothers who have uploaded these videos range in gestational age from 9-12 weeks all the way up to 36 weeks and beyond.
Babies start exploring their developing bodies early on while in the womb, and this explains a lot of the "playing" we get to see during routine ultrasounds. These little ones are working hard by discovering their hands, feet, and faces and they love testing the waters to see what they are capable of doing. Luckily, technology has allowed us to see these amazing events unfold.
There is a possibility that your baby may jump in response to a loud sound or sudden movement. Even if you sneeze, your baby may become startled and jump suddenly inside the womb. If you are far enough along then you will most likely have felt this movement, but if you are early in your pregnancy, you probably didn't feel anything. Either way, it is pretty cool to know how connected your child is to his surroundings even outside the safety of mama's belly.
While your baby may become startled by certain movements or sounds, it is important to stay calm about your baby's movements. If she does not respond every single time there is a loud noise, it is okay. Some mothers never experience this startling movement, so don't be alarmed! It is super cozy inside the womb and very muffled, so don't become overly concerned if your, most likely, sleeping baby does not respond!
To keep your mind at ease, try keeping up with your baby's movement cycles throughout the day. He or she probably has a routine that you can figure out if you pay attention. For example, some babies may sleep throughout the day and stir around at night. Therefore, if you notice a decrease in movement during this time, just call your doctor or midwife to ensure everything is fine! 9 times out of 10, your little one is just resting!
7 Excuse Me!
One of the most adorable and memorable things about carrying a child, is when you experience tiny hiccups!
Hiccups that occur with babies who are in utero are caused when fluid from the amniotic sac enters and exit's the baby's lungs. This causes the diaphragm to contract quickly which results in those precious hiccups.
You will know if your little one has the hiccups because there will be a series of tiny, rhythmic tapping sensations. They are easily recognized because the sensation is repetitive and soft unlike baby's kicks which are sporadic and forceful at times. Hiccups in babies who are still in the womb are actually good indicators that the baby is very healthy. These hiccups can indicate that your baby's central nervous system is developing normally, but once again, do not be alarmed if you have not felt these hiccups because it may have occurred without you realizing and there are other ways to determine if your baby is developing normally.
6 What's That Smell?
Until recent years, scientists and researchers did not think that babies had the ability to smell in the womb because smell depends on breathing in air. However, according to Parents.com, "doctors now believe that the amniotic fluid flowing through your baby's oral and nasal cavities can trigger her sense of smell." Studies have shown that babies are drawn to the scent of breastmilk even though they have never been in contact with it. This particular occurrence may be indicative of cues coming from prenatal life.
Babies are also responsive to bad smells, like cigarette smoke, as they have been known to cringe and push away from the smelly scents they are experiencing. It goes without saying that if your baby just has to smell cigarette smoke in order to shy away from it, then it will most definitely have a negative impact on his or her health. So, let's not go there! ; )
The good news is, if a baby can smell the bad things, she can also smell the good things, too! That yummy chicken fettuccini you cooked for supper smells just as good to your growing baby as it does to you!
5 Night, Night
Growing and learning is so exhausting! It is so exhausting, in fact, that your baby might signal how tired he or she is by yawning!
While there is some confusion regarding this issue (Some scientists believe that babies are simply opening and closing their mouth, as opposed to actual yawning.), further studies of developing babies have been conducted in an effort to clear up the questions of yawning babies in utero. A researcher at the University of Durham in the UK said she "found that yawning was common at 24 weeks but then dropped to zero at 36 weeks" This is an indication that babies yawn more in their earlier stages than they do once the developing process is nearly complete. (The yawning is no longer necessary.) While it hasn't been proven, it has been said that yawning for babies in the womb may be a trigger for a maturing brain and not actually a sign of sleepiness.
4 Can I Have a Tissue?
It may be difficult to accept, but your growing baby has the ability to and the emotions that enable them to cry!
Scientists have recently used ultrasound technology to identify and pinpoint crying behaviors. This sad milestone in the development of a growing baby can start as early as 28 weeks, and is known as silent crying. When babies experience something negative they use their only communication tool to "voice" their displeasure. This simple act is a clear indication of the sophistication of babies' brains because, in order to cry, various motor systems must be developed. According to Newhealthadvisor.com, crying "requires receiving stimulus, recognizing the stimulus as negative and giving proper response."
This "silent cry" has been recorded via ultrasound using a low-decibel noise on mother's belly in order to stimulate the baby.
3 Underwater Breathers
Even though your baby is not actually breathing in oxygen, he is still doing something called "practice breathing" while he is in your belly!
At around 27 weeks, your sonographer will start paying close attention to these practice sessions to ensure that things are developing properly with your baby. According to Babycenter.com, your little one's lungs are filled with fluid around this time and those lungs begin expanding and compressing from the rhythmic contractions of your diaphragm and chest muscles. These contractions help him to develop all of the muscles that are necessary for breathing outside of the womb! Some women have any claimed to have felt this practice breathing! What an amazing feeling that would be! However, whether you have felt this breathing 0r not, your little one will have practiced enough inside the womb that he will be more than ready to do the real thing once he comes into this world!
2 Is That You, Mama?
One of the most precious things about a growing baby is the fact that he or she loves to hear Mama's voice and can even distinguish her voice from others.
Babies' ears begin to form as early as 8 weeks and they can hear sounds around 17 to 18 weeks! Therefore, by 25 weeks your baby can probably recognize your voice and even respond to the sound! While your baby may kick or change positions in response to a loud noise, she will do the opposite when she hears your voice. Studies have shown that babies' heartrates slow down when they hear their mother's voice which indicates that they are soothed by the sound.
Did you know that your voice can even aid in the healthy development of your baby's brain? The more you talk to your baby, the quicker the parts of her brain that are responsible for language development will activate! Once the baby has been born, she will automatically be soothed by your voice as opposed to others' that she hears. Talk to your baby as much as possible throughout your pregnancy because the benefits are numerous!
1 I'm Alive!
Is it not enough that a human is growing inside of you?!
We get so caught up in all the details and busyness of life that we sometimes fail to realize what a blessing it is that a baby can be formed and thrive inside a mother's belly! We are so used to this process that it has become a "less than special" occurrence, when in all reality, it is the most amazing process we will ever go through.
Arms are stretching, toes are wiggling, ears are hearing, a brain is remembering and a heart is beating inside you! This intricate system of baby development is something that we have taken for granted and fail to realize how truly mind-blowing it is. It is heartbreaking to know that not every woman can bear a child, therefore it is imperative that we understand all the amazing things that a baby can do inside the womb and realize that children are complete and utter gifts in our lives!