By Kristi Burton Brown
With today’s modern technology and medical information, we have a real-time window into the womb. What happens to babies before birth – all the ways they move, grow, and change – is nothing short of amazing.
Here are just 10 things that happen to babies before birth. These 10 things demonstrate their uniqueness, value, and of course, their humanity.
What’s more, each of these 10 things happen in the first trimester – when approximately 90% of abortions in the U.S. occur.
1) “On the first day following fertilization, the human embryo is identifiable as a specific individual human being on a molecular level.”
A South Dakota legislative task force, appointed to examine the science behind unborn life, found that “the new recombinant DNA technologies indisputably prove that the unborn child is a whole human being from the moment of fertilization, that all abortions terminate the life of a living human being, and that the unborn child is a separate human patient under the care of modern medicine.”
2) A Baby’s Heart Begins to Beat at 21 Days.
Here is a video of the baby’s heart beating at four weeks and four days, just a little over a week after it began beating.
According to The Endowment for Human Development, “[b]etween fertilization and birth, the heart beats approximately 54 million times…”
3) At 2 to 3 Weeks, a Baby’s Brain is the “First Organ to Appear.”
4) A Baby May Feel Physical Pain as Early as His Fifth Week.
After examining scientific resources and hearing medical testimony, the South Dakota Task Force found that “(the necessary pieces) for pain detection in the spinal cord exists at very early developmental stages.” Babies have also been documented moving away from unwanted or painful touch in their first few weeks of in utero life.
5) A Baby’s Kidneys are Present at Only 5 Weeks.
In fact, by eight weeks old, all of the baby’s organs are in place and only need to be fully developed.
6) A Baby’s Brainwaves Can be Measured at 6 Weeks Old.
See the brainwaves for yourself here.
7) At 6 Weeks, a Baby Will Move Away if His Mouth is Touched.
The Endowment for Human Development has a video of a six-week-old baby responding to touch here.
8) A Baby’s Ear Can Begin to be Seen Around 6 Weeks.
9) A Baby Has Fingerprints at 9-10 Weeks.
These fingerprints will be the same throughout the baby’s life. His permanent identification is already developing. Watch a video and see an unborn baby’s fingerprints here.
10) A Baby Can Suck Her Thumb and Yawn at 9 1/2 Weeks Old.
According to The Endowment for Human Development, most babies prefer their right thumb. At this age, plenty is going on. A baby’s vocal cords are forming, her bones are hardening, and her toenails and fingernails are emerging. See a video of a ten-week-old baby yawning here.
For more on prenatal development, go here.
Editor’s Note: The information here has, in large part, been studied and documented by The Endowment for Human Development (“a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health science education and public health” that has cooperated with National Geographic to put out a video about prenatal development) and The South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion.