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Fetal Development

You can guess how far along you are based on your LMP, but only an ultrasound can confirm your gestational age.

When Does Life Begin?

From conception to labor, a baby is constantly growing and developing. Use this timeline to learn how a baby develops throughout pregnancy.

Gestational ages based on weeks from LMP.

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Month 1

Just 22 days after fertilization, a baby's heart begins to beat, although usually an ultrasound is unable to detect the heartbeat until 6 weeks.

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Month 2

At 8 weeks, a fetus has distinct fingers and can hiccup. A blood test can detect the baby's gender.

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Month 3

Babies can suck their thumbs, sigh, and hiccup. They also form unique fingerprints.

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Month 4

Babies form tastebuds!

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Month 5

Ears are fully developed and the baby can respond to sounds outside of the womb.

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Month 6

At this point, a baby is developed enough to be able to survive outside of the womb.

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Month 7

At 30 weeks, babies can produce tears.

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Month 8

The surface of baby's brain becomes wrinkly to hold more brain cells.

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Month 9

Lungs and vocal chords are developed so baby is ready for first cry and first breath in the outside world.


Source: Care Net. “Fetal Development Timeline.” Before You Decide, 2020.