The possibility of pregnancy brings a wide variety of emotions, be it planned or unplanned. Despite the complicated feelings surrounding it, there’s no doubt that the process of pregnancy is a miracle. In this post, we’re exploring the amazing journey of pregnancy from conception through the 13th week (also known as the 1st trimester).
Before we do, please know that if you are faced with the possibility of pregnancy and aren’t sure where to turn next, Life’s Choices is here to support you and empower you with the resources necessary to embark on your personal journey. You’re not alone. The first step in making your decisions surrounding your pregnancy is to make sure you are fully educated about the facts surrounding the pregnancy process. Here’s what to know about the first trimester:
A miraculous journey has begun! An egg (oocyte) is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube inside the female body. Small finger like hairs called cilis in the fallopian tube, propel the egg along in anticipation for fertilization. Fertilization takes place in the fallopian tube when an egg is penetrated by a single sperm; each sperm and egg contain 23 chromosomes that when combined transform to make a unique human being with its own set of 46 chromosomes (DNA).
Once this single sperm has united with the egg, a hard protective shell-like membrane, called a zona pellucida, forms around the outside of the newly formed fertilized egg (embryo). This process occurs to protect the embryo from being fertilized by multiple sperm, as one deposit (ejaculation) of sperm from a man to a woman contains 40-150 million sperm which can live inside the woman’s reproductive organs for up to five days.
The journey for this newly created human being has now begun in the form of an embryo. The embryo is a time in a human’s life that he/she will experience the most rapid development ever, and it all takes place in just eight short weeks. The embryo itself consists of three different stages:
By 10 weeks gestation, all of the baby’s major organ systems and appendages have developed: the brain, nervous system, circulatory system, digestive system, legs, arms, fingers, and toes. The sex organs, eyes, and ears are also starting to develop. The yolk sac and stem have now been absorbed into the digestive system, and the umbilical cord and placenta are now established. The placenta and umbilical cord will now be the means in which nutrients and oxygen rich blood will be delivered to the baby from the mother, and waste byproducts will be released from the baby back to the mother.
Fun fact: If you take negative images of lungs, a tree route system, and the vasculature in a baby’s placenta, visually they all mimic each other. They are all incredibly interdependent upon each other delivering life-sustaining oxygen for the humans and carbon dioxide for the trees. What a masterful design!
Now at 10 weeks gestation, the baby is no longer referred to as an embryo and is now referred to as a fetus measuring approximately one inch long. The fetus will continue to grow rapidly over the next few weeks measuring between three to four inches long by 13 weeks, ending the journey of the fast and furious 1st trimester yet entering the exciting adventure of what will be the second trimester.
To learn about the wonders that occur during the second trimester, keep following along! We’re excited to share later this month this second part of the amazing journey of pregnancy. For more educational and practical information about the pregnancy journey, we encourage you to sign up for Life’s Choices’ free prenatal classes. Learn more about our free class options here:
“…For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depth of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days were ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be…” Psalm 139: 13-16