Lips, eyes, nose, tongue, boobies… we have covered many aspects of human body and we will cover more but in the meantime, how about exploring the very origin of a human body? Yes, we want to talk about interesting Fetal and Embryonic facts that will simply make your jaws drop! Are you ready for this interesting journey? You guys are awesome and we know that you crave for knowledge. So, we will take it for granted that you are ready!
Interesting Fetal and Embryonic Facts: 1-10
1. Life inside a woman’s womb starts as a single cell. This cell is so small that it is literally invisible to naked eyes. Gradually the cell divides and multiplies and by the time the baby is actually born, there are two hundred million cells! The total weight of these 200 million cells is 6 billion times the weight of the egg that was fertilized.
2. It is not that the sperms race for the egg. It is rather the other way round. The egg selects the best sperm. Once the egg finds the best sperm, it opens up and takes the sperm in and then closes. The sperm that goes inside fails to come out. The egg preys on it by distilling out the chromosomes from it.
3. Recent studies however show that more than one sperm can enter an egg but only one manages to enter the nucleus.
4. Human beings remain vertebrates even in embryonic stage.
5. The development of a child’s brain is dependent on three factors. 60% of the development is determined by genes, 10% by the diet of the mother and 30% by the environment inside the uterus.
6. The genes are actually responsible for basic brain development’s blueprint creation. The final pathway, location and interrelationships between neurons are, to a great extent, dependent on wellbeing of mothers, early nutrition, mood and habits like alcohol and smoking.
7. The mood or emotions of the mother determine how the developing brain gets hardwired. This happens because neurotransmitters and hormones travel across placenta to the fetus’ developing brain through the bloodstream.
8. Studies reveal that external sound stimuli are also responsible for the growth of brain cells developing in utero. This happens when the brain rapidly matures from 24th week onward.
9. Unborn babies feel pain as strongly inside the womb as those outside the womb.
10. The greatest change of an embryo in terms of physical change and size takes place in the first month after fertilization.
Interesting Fetal and Embryonic Facts: 11-20
11. One month old embryo is 10,000 times bigger that the egg that was fertilized. The embryo takes the shape of a tiny baby by the time it reaches the age of 2 months.
12. By the time the embryo reaches the 7th week, the embryo develops all organs and features that an adult will have even though the embryo at this stage is only an inch long.
13. By the time the embryo reaches 28 days, 3 primary brain parts are already developed.
14. Foot prints and palm prints get permanently marked on the fetal skin only when the embryo grows 2 months old.
15. It is only between 22 and 25 days post fertilization that the fetal heart beats for the first time.
16. The actual fetal stage is marked by the development of the first bone cell between 46 and 48 days.
17. It is the third month when the development of the vocal cord is completed. However, at this stage no sound is produced because of the absence of air. A baby can cry out loud only after birth but, the baby is actually capable of crying long before the birth takes place.
18. By the 4th month the abilities of the baby grow at cosmic scale. The baby is by then capable of sucking thumb and playing with umbilical cord.
19. It is only during the fifth month that the baby can cover its ears with its hands in presence of a strong external sound stimuli.
20. By 6th month the unborn baby is a complete human being. By this time, the baby develops complete awareness, remembering, feeling and sensing.
Interesting Fetal and Embryonic Facts: 21-30
21. The immune system of the fetus starts working by 5th month but it becomes fully developed only after a very long time.
22. Compared to female fetuses, male fetuses are way more prone to pregnancy hazards like premature membrane rupture, placenta previa etc.
23. During intrauterine life, the fetus keeps developing almost 50 thousand neurons every second and by the time of birth, the baby will have a bank of 100 billion neurons ready to be used.
24. Fetal feet are developed after the fetal hands. Researchers say that because of this late development of fetal feet, babies actually learn to walk long after they learn to use their hands.
25. The heartbeat rate of the fetal heart is 125 bpm at 6 weeks. In 7th week the heartbeat increases to 150 bpm. This further increases to 180 bpm during the 8th week. Then it starts settling down and stands anywhere between 120 and 160 bpm by the time the fetus reaches 16 weeks. This 120-160 bpm remains fixed until the baby is eventually born. The rate of 120 to 160 bpm is actually twice the heartbeat of an average healthy adult.
26. Vernix – a cheese-like white skin coating starts developing on a baby’s body during 18th month of pregnancy. Premature babies are born with lot of vernix while overdue babies do not have any vernix.
27. Week 16 onward, babies start shedding cells into amniotic fluid. These shedded cells are very important in the sense that they are storehouse of information about the chromosomes of the babies. These information can be used by medical experts to test for possible abnormalities.
28. Babies within the womb are mostly found sleeping. Scientists say that babies sleep because dreaming helps with development of the fetal brain.
29. Birth weight of a baby is almost entirely dependent on the genetic structure of the mother. Father’s genetic structure has almost nothing to do with that of the baby’s birth weight. The taller and heavier the mother is, the greater is the birth weight of the baby.
30. Lungs are the last major organs of the baby that develop. Lungs don’t develop until the 34th week of pregnancy.
Interesting Fetal and Embryonic Facts: 31-40
31. Both the baby and the mother get gamma globulin as well as another substance responsible for fighting disease from the placenta.
32. The baby receives several antibodies for fighting diseases from mother’s blood during the last three months of pregnancy. The baby also receives these antibodies from the amniotic fluid it drinks while inside the womb.
33. The hormonal signals from the placenta, the baby and the mother triggers labor.
34. During birth, mother’s conditions are mirrored by the baby. The baby will have a hard time during labor if the mother faces a hard time. The baby remains wide awake if the mother remains awake.
35. The first breath taken by the baby is the hardest in life. Scientists say that the effort put in by the baby to take the first breath is same as the effort it takes to blow a balloon.
36. The most precise method of measuring the fetal age is that of measuring the distance between the crown and the rump. This is because of the fact that the fetus has a very predictable rate of growth during the first trimester.
37. Sometimes twins share placenta but usually they have separate amniotic sacs.
38. Permanent teeth buds of the babies are formed during the 6th month of pregnancy. These buds are formed behind milk teeth and high in the gums.
39. Female babies are always smaller in size compared to the male babies.
40. First born babies are always smaller than the second babies.
Bonus Fetal and Embryonic Facts
- Embryo cells act as stem cells up to the age of 6 days and have the ability to form any part of the body.
- The gender of the embryo cannot be developed until 8 weeks. At this point only female characteristics start to appear.
- A newly born baby girl will have more than a million eggs inside her. By adolescence, she will retain only 300,000 and by the time she reaches 30 years of age, she will have only 30,000 left.
- Eggs can be frozen for fertilization in future and amazingly, they can stay intact for a very long period of time. One successful fertilization case was that from an egg which was frozen for 25 years!
Sources: 1, 2
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