The Biology of the First Trimester of Pregnancy

We all know how women become pregnant, and we have heard stories of the birthing process. What goes on during the nine months of a normal pregnancy? Yes, a mother might get morning sickness, stretch marks, and swollen feet. But many people may not stop to consider the various changes that are going on inside mother’s body as her unborn child grows.

When an egg is fertilized, it moves down the fallopian tube and implants itself in the wall of the uterus, or the uterine lining. This is the part of a woman’s body that flushes out during menstruation if no egg is implanted into it. If a woman is pregnant, her endocrine system will emit large amounts of progesterone, which keeps her from having a period and losing the fertilized egg.

Next, the outer layer of cells turn into the placenta that surrounds the baby. The placenta is actually attached to the baby by the umbilical cord. It works to nourish the fetus, as well as remove waste, exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, regulate your hormones, and protect its precious cargo. At the end of a pregnancy, the placenta is flushed out of your body along with the afterbirth.

Once in the second month, the fertilized egg is finally categorized as an embryo. Cells are starting to become specialized, and they form three layers which give rise to different parts of the body. Still, the little thing is only about one-tenth of an inch long. Then, two distinct orifices start to develop-one will be the mouth and the other is the anus.

At the age of six weeks, the embryo undergoes a number of exciting changes. Buds emerge that will turn into arms and legs, and the organs are created as well. The two halves of the heart fuse together, and this vital part of your baby will start to pump its first beats. Also, this is when the umbilical cord grows and performs all of its tasks, like keeping the baby nourished and healthy.

At the beginning of the third month, your baby has turned into a boy or a girl, but it is still indeterminable on an ultrasound. It also has eyes, and the fingers are differentiating. This is now called a fetus rather than an embryo, and by the end of the first trimester, your baby now has eyelids and definitely looks more human than alien.

Because of the complexity of pregnancy, it is easy for something to go wrong. Egg placement, cell development, hormonal problems, and actual physical abnormalities such as umbilical cord misplacement can translate to deformations of your baby. Sometimes, a doctor can step in and help your child, while other times interference or negligence can make it worse.

For more information on pregnancies and birth injuries, check out the Philadelphia area birth injury law specialists at Lowenthal & Abrams, PC, today.

Joseph Devine