Your baby’s neural tube which runs along the length of his or her back is already sealing, and blood is now being pumped from your baby’s heart nearly twice as fast as yours. Development is brisk during these seven days, only four weeks after conception.
Now fundamental facial features start to appear. Tubes forming the inner ear and arches play a part in the formation of the jaw. Your baby’s body begins to take on a C-shaped curvature. The head differs from the bottom of the embryo. Small buds will soon become baby’s extremities while cells begin to form the lungs, stomach, liver and pancreas. Your baby can be seen on an ultrasound.
Minuscule tassel-like fingers are now forming on the outer layer of the embryo. These are called chorionic villi and are extremely important as the baby develops. “Why?” you might ask.
These minuscule villi become the first part of your baby’s lifeline to you. Each villus, containing the embryo’s blood vessels, will embed into the lining of your uterus. Mom’s blood supply will provide the vital oxygenation and nutrients to the embryo while exchanging and sending baby’s waste products back into mom’s blood. Due to a miraculous membrane separating mom’s and baby’s circulatory systems, baby’s and mom’s blood supplies never mix during pregnancy.
These diminutive villi structures will collectively, in time, form the placenta. The placenta is a pivotal organ vitally necessary to ensure the continued wellbeing and healthy delivery of your baby.
While the placenta is busy being formed, another immensely crucial organ is being developed, the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is the second part of your baby’s critically essential lifeline. The umbilical cord creates the optimal environment in the womb for your baby to grow and thrive. In order for your baby to develop perfectly in the womb, the umbilical cord must be watched and monitored throughout your pregnancy.
Every mom knows the importance of using a car seat once her baby is born. As a matter of fact, hospitals will not allow you to take your baby home unless he or she is securely buckled up in your car upon discharge. But did you know the importance of keeping your baby safe in utero while you drive? A recent study led by Catherine J. Vladutiu, PhD., Department of Epidemiology at Gilling School of Global Pubic Health, University of North Carolina, was recently published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. The study indicated that motor vehicle accidents are the primary cause of trauma to pregnant women that result in adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth, placental abruption, premature rupturing of membranes and stillbirth. These adverse outcomes rise alarmingly after one accident due to factors such as mom not wearing her seat belt or the vehicle not being equipped with an air bag. A University of Michigan study found that approximately 370 unborn babies die in motor vehicle accidents every year surpassing the number of babies aged from birth to one year who lose their lives yearly in similar crashes. The study also determined that approximately 200 fetuses could be saved if pregnant women used their seatbelts correctly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) has provided the following safety driving tips which can help protect you and your unborn baby:
Use it properly by placing the shoulder belt across your chest and away from your neck. Never place the shoulder belt behind you or under your arm. The lap belt should lie across your hips and below your belly.
They work in conjunction with seat belts to protect passengers in a crash.
Your breastbone should be at least 10 inches from the steering wheel or dashboard. As you continue through your pregnancy and your belly grows, move the seat as far back as possible for you to safely reach the pedals and steering wheel.
If you are the passenger, sit in the back seat if possible, it’s safer there. If you are in the front seat, move your seat back as far as possible.
Install your car seat at least three weeks before your baby is due and have it checked by a Certified Car Seat Technician.