Even when unexpectedly pregnant and considering abortion, knowing the intimate details of what is happening inside of your body is vital to helping you make the best decisions possible for you. It is important to educate yourself on where the fetus is in their growth journey and familiarize yourself with what is happening to your body AND their body. This will help you consider your options – abortion, adoption, and parenting – with a clear mind.
When considering their options, many women wonder – when is my pregnancy considered a baby? Here’s what you need to know.
On average, fertilization happens about two weeks after your last menstrual period. Conception happens when the sperm unites with the egg. Conception typically occurs about two weeks after your last period begins. At the moment of fertilization, your baby’s genetic make-up is complete, including the sex. The two weeks before conception are counted as the first two weeks of your pregnancy. All of this happens in the mother’s fallopian tubes and long before a missed period.
During the first 7 days, the new life continues to grow and develop as it makes the journey to the uterus. It is loaded with stem cells full of potential: ready to form every part in the body. The multiplying cells form a little ball, or an embryo. By this time, the first nerve cells have formed.
As the fertilized egg grows, a water-tight sac forms around it, gradually filling with fluid. This is called the amniotic sac, and it helps cushion the growing embryo. The placenta begins to form and produce the hCG hormone detected by pregnancy tests. Most tests will not show positive yet, so at this stage, it is difficult to know that you are pregnant.
The baby’s heart begins pumping just 22 days after fertilization. This is about one week after a missed period. Facial features continue to develop. Each ear begins as a little fold of skin at the side of the head. Tiny buds that eventually grow into arms and legs are forming. Fingers, toes and eyes are also forming.
The head is large in proportion to the rest of the body at this point. The neural tube (brain, spinal cord and other neural tissue of the central nervous system) is well formed now. The digestive tract and sensory organs begin to develop too. Bone starts to replace cartilage.
Once you’ve missed your period and you think you may be pregnant, you can come to the Cline Center to verify your pregnancy and be evaluated for a free ultrasound to confirm the location (whether or not the fetus is located in the uterus) and viability (whether or not the fetus is growing normally and has a heartbeat) of your pregnancy.
The arms, hands, fingers, feet and toes are fully formed. At this stage, the baby starts to explore a bit by doing things like opening and closing its fists and mouth. Fingernails and toenails are beginning to develop as well as unique fingerprints. The beginnings of teeth are forming under the gums. The reproductive organs also develop, but sex is still difficult to distinguish on ultrasound.
Thumb sucking begins, as well as the ability to grasp things, open the mouth, sigh, and stretch. The face, hands, and feet can sense light touch at this age. Thumb sucking and grasping suggests that the baby can feel things.
So, in just the first weeks months of pregnancy your baby’s genetic makeup is complete, their heart is beating, and they can suck their thumb. No matter what choice you make for your pregnancy, fetal development science shows us that pregnancy is more than just a pregnancy from the beginning.
You are not alone. We have support for you and for your baby.
Cline Center | 601-487-1064