The First 8 Weeks


    Day 1

    At Fertilization A BRAND NEW, unique and WHOLE ORGANISM is created with his or her own DNA. The chromosomes from the parents help determine the new human being’s sex, eye color, skin and hair color, balding, even earlobe attachment. After fertilization nothing new is added or needed to the human except oxygen, nutrition, water and time.[1]

    1st Week

    The first cell divides in two and cell division continues as it travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus.

    2nd Week

    More than 500 cells are present when this tiny embryo (the blastocyst) reaches the uterus 7 to 10 days after fertilization.[2] Foundations of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system are already established. The future site of the baby’s mouth, the prechordal plate, is now present.[3]


    3rd Week

    The heart begins to beat in a regular fashion.[4] Muscles are forming and arms, legs, eyes and ears have begun to show.



    4th Week

    The inner ears are visible at this stage and the beginnings of many of the organ systems are established.[5]



    5th Week

    The baby’s head grows quickly due to rapid brain development.[6]


    6th Week

    Brain waves can be detected.[7] The jaw forms, including teeth and taste buds.[8] The baby begins to swallow amniotic fluid and sometimes hiccups.[9] Fingers and toes are developing.



    7th Week

    The chest and abdomen are fully formed.[10] Swimming in the amniotic fluid, she now looks like a miniature human infant.[11, 12]



    8th Week

    By the end of this week, the fingers and toes are now all separated.[13] With the child’s humanity clearly apparent, this little baby responds to touch.[14]


1. “The Drama of Fetal Development”, American Baby. Jan. 1989. p. 45. Print. | 2. Moore and Persaud, The Developing Human-Clinically Oriented Embryology. 2nd ed. W.B. Saunders Company 1973 p. 310. Print. | 3. Hamlin, H. “Life or Death by EEG,” JAMA. Oct. 12, 1964, p. 113 Print. | 4. Britt, Robert Roy. “Lasting Impression: How Fingerprints Are Created.” LiveScience, Purch, 2 Nov. 2004,| 5. Flanagan, Geraldine Lux, Beginning Life DK Publishing , 1996 Limited p. 68. | 6. Health & Wellness Resource Center, “Normal Growth of a Baby During Pregnancy.” Clinical Reference Systems Annual. 2001. p.1391. | 7. Gordon, Debra MD. “Pregnancy.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. 2nd ed., pp. 2694-2695. | 8. Ibid. | 9. Ibid. | 10. Ibid.

Images: 1-3 weeks: Getty Images | Header image, 3-6 and 8 weeks by Steven O’Connor M.D. | 7 Weeks © The Center for Bio Ethical Reform.