Life Before Birth

YOUR FIRST NINE MONTHS of life were the most eventful you have ever experienced. Here are the major milestones of that life before birth - the first chapter in your own biography.

CONCEPTION: Father's sperm penetrates mother's egg cell. Genetic instructions from 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: The new individual burrows into the wall of the womb. Sex can be determined.

14 DAYS: Mother's menstrual period is suppressed by a hormone produced by her child.

18 DAYS: Heart is forming; eyes developing.

20 DAYS: Foundations of brain, spinal cord and nervous system are laid.

24 DAYS: Heart begins to beat.

28 DAYS: Muscles are developing along the future spine. Arms and legs are budding.

30 DAYS: Child has grown 10,000 times to 6-7mm. (1/4 in.) long. Brain has human proportions. Blood flows in veins (but stays separate from mother's blood.

35 DAYS: 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: Skeleton is formed. Brain coordinates 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 sensitive to touch. Ears may resemble family pattern.

8 WEEKS: Child is well-proportioned, small-scale baby, 3 cm. (1 1/8 in.) sitting up and a gram (1/30 oz.) in weight. Every organ is present. Heart beats sturdily. Stomach produces digestive jiuces. Liver makes blood cells. Kidneys begin to function. Taste buds are forming.

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

10 WEEKS: Body is sensitive to touch. Child squints, swallows 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: Face is prettier, facial expressions resembling parents'. Movements are graceful. Vocal cords 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 senses movements.

5 MONTHS: Sleeping habits appear. 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. (1 lb. 6 oz.) and height 23 cm. (9 in.). 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 recognized.

8 MONTHS: Weight increases by 1kg. (over 2 lbs.) and baby's quarters get cramped.

9 MONTHS: Child triggers labor and birth occurs, usually 255-275 days after conception. Of 45 generations of cell divisions before adulthood, 41 have already taken place.

"If Someone Had Only Told Me..."

Few women faced with an unwanted pregnancy are told of the marvelous development of the life growing within them. In their ignorance, abortion seems to be the right decision at the moment. But they are not warned of what will really happen to their baby or of the possible physical and psychological effects of abortion which may stay with them the rest of their lives. And they are rarely told of the alternatives to save the life of their child.

Some doctors say that abortion is a routine operation to remove "fetal tissue." But in truth, it is the destruction of a living human being. They do not tell the patient the cruel truth that the fragile life within her may be torn to pieces and sucked into a jar, or poisoned by a strong salt solution, or perhaps born alive and allowed to die by neglect or sometimes killed by a direct act.

One young woman, who later regretted an abortion, stated, "The doctor said, 'a little fluid out and some fluid injected, severe cramps, then the fetus is expelled.' That isn't what it was. I felt my girl thrash around for an hour and a half 'till she died a slow death.' "

The mother is also exposed to long-term complications. Incomplete abortion resulting in blood clotting, bleeding, hemorrhage, and infections are not uncommon. Menstrual disturbance, miscarriage, tubal pregnancies and sterility are always risks and tend to multiply with successive abortions.

Cervical lacerations and uterine perforation can result from suction and D & C procedures. Convulsions, severe vomiting and diarrhea are common with prostaglandin abortion. Cardiac arrests and maternal deaths have also been reported.

Long-term psychological and spiritual effects, which are now just beginning to be seriously studied, include guilt, anxiety, depression, anger, sense of loss, nightmares, death scenes, deterioration of self-image and even suicide.

A Life-Giving Alternative

But there is hope for both the mother and the child. If you have a problem pregnancy, we want you to know that you are not alone. God cares for you and the unborn child growing within you. He knew you before you were even born: "O, Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. ... My substance was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret ... and in Thy book all my members were written ... when as yet there was none of them." (from Psalm 139)

God wants to bring life - not death - out of your difficult situation. He has already provided lifelines to help you. Support is available to help you care for your child or to provide a childless couple with a baby. Financial aid, emotional support, medical services, and most important, a future free of guilt and full of hope for you and your unborn child are yours for the asking.

Choose life today. You can call the following national 24 hour toll-free number. You have friends waiting to help you at: 1-800-B-E-T-H-A-N-Y. Or you can phone "information" and ask for a Right-to-Life or Birthright group near you.

This info is a re-creation of a Good News Publishers tract by the same name. For more information on Good New Publishers, contact them directly at:
Good News Publishers 9825 W. Roosevelt Rd. Westchester, IL 60153