Saturday, June 2, 2007

Monster Update: Week 10

The Monster is no longer an embryo! Though it's barely the size of a kumquat (pictured) — just an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, the Monster now has completed the most critical portion of its development. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in its body rapidly grow and mature. The Monster's vital organs — the liver, kidney, intestines, brain, and lungs — are now in place and starting to function (although they'll continue to develop throughout the pregnancy). The Monster's liver continues to make blood cells, and the yolk sac, which previously supplied these cells, is no longer needed and begins to disappear.

During the next three weeks, the Monster's length will more than double to nearly 3 inches. Its head is proportionately smaller now than it was a few weeks ago, but the head is still almost half the length of the Monster's entire body. Its forehead temporarily bulges with its developing brain (!) and sits high on its head; it will later recede to give the Monster a more human appearance. Each day, more minute details — including tiny fingernails, toenails, and peach-fuzz hair — start to appear on the Monster's body. Its fingers are now completely separated; its arms bend at the elbow and curve slightly; its hands are flexed at the wrist and meet over its heart; its legs are lengthening; and its feet may be long enough to meet in front of its body. The Monster is busily swallowing amniotic fluid and kicking its legs.

Text adapted from Baby Center.

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