NRL News

“Life in the Womb,” Part 3

by | Mar 6, 2013

By Carol Tobias, President
National Right to Life

Editor’s note. This can be heard at

unbornbabiesToday, we continue our discussion of the exciting developments of the unborn child that take place inside her mother’s womb.  We know that from the moment of conception, a unique human person is formed and that this new human being begins to develop in ways unique to all human beings, exhibiting all the characteristics of human life.

Here is a list of what happens within a few days of fertilization.  As the days pass, the process of cell division will speed up.

It takes about a day and a half for the first cell division.  But after three days, our new human person has divided four times and grown to 16 cells.  After four days, she has grown to several hundred cells and acquired a new name.  She is now a blastocyst.  After six days the blastocyst begins to implant into the inner wall of the uterus.

The blastocyst has several hundred cells with an outer layer and an inner cell mass.  The outer layer will develop into the placenta and the inner mass will develop into the fetus.  [“Fetus,” which is Latin for “young one,” is the medical term for a life inside the womb at this stage of development, but, unfortunately, the term has been co-opted by pro-abortionists and others in an attempt to dehumanize the developing unborn child.]

At 2 weeks, implantation is complete and the baby is now referred to as an embryo.  In another week, the embryo will form into three cell layers:  the outer layer will become nervous tissue, skin, hair, nails, etc.  The second layer will become the lining of the digestive tract, glands, lungs, liver, etc.  The inner layer will become the connective tissue, bone, blood, muscle, reproductive system, etc.  The individual cells each have a fixed destiny and cannot be made into something else.

The unborn baby in the womb is called an embryo from 2 weeks until 8 weeks.  At 4 weeks, the embryo is 1/6” and the head is the largest part of the organism.  The heart is beating, arm and leg buds appear, and all organ systems begin to form.

At 5 weeks, the embryo is about a half inch.  The eye forms and facial features appear.  The eye is a direct out-growth from the brain.  It will fuse shut and re-open at 7 months.  The eye is one of the earliest organs to develop.

At 6 weeks, the first movements can be seen.  If the baby’s mouth is stroked, total body responses occur, suggesting a rudimentary nervous system to transport and record stimulation.  By 9 weeks, the responses will be specific to the stimulation received.  That is, if the mouth is stroked, sucking and tongue movements can be seen, but the rest of the body does not respond.

At this early stage of development, the arms of the baby are very short and the hands are located just in front of the mouth.  They are positioned to touch the mouth and stimulate the movements of the mouth and tongue.  This is responsible for training the important use of the mouth for sucking after birth.  This also prepares the newborn baby to begin mouthing the speech patterns that she sees her parents make, a skill that begins at birth.

We’ll leave off here and continue our look at the extraordinary development of the unborn child in utero tomorrow.

Categories: Unborn Children