Milestones of Early Life


Our first nine months of life must have been the most eventful we have ever experienced. Here are the major milestones of that life before birth - the first chapter in your own biography:

The father's sperm penetrates the mother's egg cell. Genetic instructions from both parents interact to begin a new and unique individual - no bigger than a grain of sugar.

1st day
The first cell divides into two, the two into four, and so on.

5-9 days (first week)
The new individual burrows into the wall of the womb.

14 days (second week)
Mother's menstrual period is suppressed by a hormone produced by her child.

18 days
Heart is forming. Soon eyes start to develop.

20 days (third week)
Foundations of brain, spinal cord and nervous system are laid.

24 days
Heart begins to beat.

28 days (fourth week)
Muscles are developing along the future spine. Arms and legs are budding.

30 days (first month)
Child has grown 10,000 times to 6-7mm long. Brain has human proportions. Blood flows in veins (but stays separate from mother's blood.)

35 days (fifth week)
Pituitary gland in brain is forming. Mouth, ears and nose are taking shape.

40 days
Heart's energy output is 20 percent of adult's.

42 days (sixth week)
Skeleton is formed. Brain co-ordinates movement of muscles and organs. Reflex responses have begun. Penis is forming in boys (Mother misses second period).

43 days
Brain waves can be recorded

45 days
Spontaneous movements have begun. Buds of milk teeth have appeared.

7 weeks
Lips are sensative to touch. Ears may resemble family pattern.

8 weeks
Child is well proportioned. Now a small scale baby, 3cm and weighing a gram. Every organ is present. Heart beats sturdily. Stomach produces digestive juices. Liver makes blood cells. Kidneys begin to function. Taste buds are forming.

8.5 weeks (second month)
Fingerprints are being engraved. Eyelids and palms of hands are sensative to touch.

9 weeks
Child will bend fingers around an object placed in the palm. Thumb sucking occurs. Fingernails are now forming.

10 weeks
Body is sensative to touch. Child squints, swallows, puckers up brow and frowns.

11 weeks
Baby urinates, makes complex facial expressions - even smiles.

12 weeks
Vigorous activity shows distinct individuality. Child can kick, turn feet, curl and fan toes, make a fist, move thumbs, bend wrists, turn head, open mouth and press lips tightly together. Breathing is practiced.

13 weeks (third month)
Face is prettier, facial expressions resembling parents'. Movements are graceful, reflexes vigorous. Vocal chords are formed (but without air baby cannot cry). Sex organs are apparent.

4 months
Child can grasp with hands, swim and turn somersaults.

4-5 months
Mother first feels baby's movements.

5 months
Sleeping habits appear, but a slammed door will provoke activity. Child responds to sounds in frequencies too high or low for adults to hear.

6 months
Fine hair grows on eyebrows and head. Eyelash fringe appears. Weight is about 640g height 23cm. Babies born at this age have survived.

7 months
Eye teeth are present. Eyelids open and close, eyes look around. Hands grip strongly. Mother's voice is heard and recognised.

8 months
Weight increases by 1kg and baby's quarters get cramped.

9 months
Child triggers labour and birth occurs, usually 255-275 days after conception. Of 45 generations of cell divisions before adulthood, 41 have already taken place. Four more will come during the rest of childhood and adolescence.

The milestones listed above have been documented by scientific research. Slight variations, of hours and days, may exist and future research may show that some milestones occur earlier than is now realized.

Printed with permission from Heritage House "76, Inc, 919 So. Main St. Snowflake, AZ 85937, USA

For more information and resources contact:


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