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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Fetus in Utero

During pregnancy, the lining of a woman's uterus thickens and its blood vessels enlarge to nourish the fetus. As pregnancy progresses, the uterus expands to make room for the growing baby. By the time your baby is born, your uterus will be many times its normal size.

What happens during the seventh month of pregnancy?

  • The eyes can open and close and sense changes in light.
  • Lanugo begins to disappear.
  • The fetus kicks and stretches.
  • The fetus can make grasping motions and responds to sound.

During the eighth month of pregnancy, the following occurs:

  • With its major development finished, the fetus gains weight very quickly.
  • Bones harden, but the skull remains soft and flexible for delivery.
  • The different regions of the brain are forming.
  • Taste buds develop and the fetus can taste sweet and sour.
  • The fetus may now hiccup.

During the ninth month of pregnancy, the following occurs:

  • The fetus usually turns into a head-down position for birth.
  • The skin is less wrinkled.
  • The lungs mature and are ready to function on their own.
  • Sleeping patterns develop.
  • The fetus will gain about ½ pound per week this month.

Glossary

Amniotic Sac: A thin-walled sac that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy. The sac is filled with amniotic fluid which is a liquid made by the fetus and the amnion (the membrane that covers the fetal side of the placenta) and which protects the fetus from injury and helps to regulate the temperature of the fetus.

Anus: The opening at the end of the rectum.

Cervix:
The lower part of the uterus that projects into the vagina. Made up of mostly fibrous tissue and muscle, the cervix is circular in shape. Area that opens/dilates at birth.

Egg: The female reproductive cell produced in and released from the ovaries; also called the ovum.fetus
an unborn baby from the eighth week after fertilization until birth.

Fertilization: Joining of the egg and sperm.

Fetus: The developing offspring in the uterus from the ninth week of pregnancy until the end of pregnancy.

Hormones: Substances produced by the body to control certain functions.

Placenta: An organ, shaped like a flat cake, that only grows during pregnancy and provides a metabolic interchange between the fetus and mother. This tissue provides nourishment to and takes waste away from the fetus. The fetus takes in oxygen, food, and other substances and eliminates carbon dioxide and other wastes.

Sperm: A male cell that is produced in the testes and can fertilize a female egg cell.

Umbilical Cord: A rope-like cord connecting the fetus to the placenta. The umbilical cord contains two arteries and a vein that carry oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and waste products away from the fetus.

Uterine Wall: The wall of the uterus.

Uterus (also called the womb): The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman's lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum, that sheds its lining each month during menstruation and in which a fertilized egg (ovum) becomes implanted and the fetus develops.

Vagina: The part of the female genitals, behind the bladder and in front of the rectum, that forms a canal extending from the uterus to the vulva.