Fetal Development Summary

Human brain development starts soon after the sperm penetrates the egg. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 23. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Neuron proliferation begins and is complete by 24 weeks. The process of neuronal migration begins at about the same time and tapers off by about the 30th week. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52-53. NY:Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

By the 14th day, the tiny ball of multiplying cells begins to fold in on itself. This movement activates the genes in cells that will form the nervous system. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 23. NY:Vintage Books, 2002.)

Brain cells begin to work, multiplying more rapidly than other body cells. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. p 12-14. NY:Doubleday, 1987, 1989.)

Three weeks after conception auditory neurons first appear. (Schwartz, Jeffrey M., MD, and Sharon Begley. The Mind & the Brain. p 124-125. NY:Regan Books, 2002.)

At some stages 250,000 new neurons are formed every minute. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 19-20. CT:Millbrook Press, 1998.)

The future brain and nervous system first become apparent when a portion of the outer ectoderm thickens to form a spoon-shaped structure only one cell thick known as the neural plate. A neural groove runs the length of the neural plate, dividing it into right and left halves. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. p 2. Washington D.C.:The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001.)

The fetus moves arms and legs, turns and bends body, head and back. It gains muscle practice with little effort in the gravity-free environment. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 16. NY:Bantam Books, 1985.)

A genetic male embryo will begin to develop testes. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different Are They? p 10-11. NY:Oxford University Press, 1984.)

The fetus has the potential to develop either male or female external genitalia. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 55-60. NY:Broadway Books, 1998.)

The fetus has the ability to develop in either direction: male or female genitalia. (Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain. p 28-30. NY:Penguin Books, 1997.)

If the embryo is genetically programmed to be male, the Y chromosome transforms a certain cluster of cells (primordial gonad) into testes that begin to produce male hormones, especially testosterone. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 79. NY:William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

The fetal auditory system is nearly complete. Every cell is influenced by the energy reflected in sound waves. (Pearsall, Paul, PhD. The Heart’s Code. p 110. NY:Broadway Books, 1998.)

Sexual identity is determined by 6-7 weeks. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 20-26. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

A period of great vulnerability to many types of drugs and to alcohol. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 60. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

The embryonic period lasts from implantation until about the 8th week of pregnancy. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD. The Roots of the Self. p. 36. NY: HarperCollins Publishing, 1995.)

By the eighth week, the fetus will kick when poked. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

By the eight week, the brain has developed its three parts. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 23. NY:Vintage Books, 2002.)

By seven and a half to eight weeks the fetus is able to experience sensation when reflex responses to somatic stimuli begin. (Derbyshire, Stuart W. G., PhD. The Science and Politics of Fetal Pain.)

About the 9th week the fetus responds to upsets by flexing its torso and extending its head. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD. The Roots of the Self. p 36. NY: HarperCollins Publishing, 1995.)

Genital formation on the fetus occurs between 9-12th weeks. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio). CO: Focus on the Family, 1967.)

Within seconds following a cough from the mother, the fetus begins to move rapidly. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Finger sucking begins, which helps to develop jaw and cheek muscles. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p. 16. NY:Bantam Books, 1985.)

By the end of the 12th week, the fetal will have fingernails. (Joy, Donald M., PhD.Bonding. p 90. TX: Word Books, 1985.)

Fetus is able to yawn. (Imrdkl, A Smiling Fetus is a Happy Fetus.)

Ovaries begin developing in female fetus. (Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain. p 28-30. NY: Penguin Books, 1997.)

Androgens produced by the testes of a male fetus cause Wolffian structures to grow (and the Mullerian structures degenerate). (Arnold, Caroline. Sex Hormones. p 60-61. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1981.)

Swallows amniotic fluid regularly. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 16. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

The female system (if the fetus is to be female) begins to produce the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 79. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Avoid harmful substances and get appropriate nutrition for the forming fetal brain/nervous system. A folacin shortage can lead to brain/spinal cord malformations (e.g., anencephaly, spina bifida). (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 68-70. NY:A Dutton Book 1998.)

The fetal brain can discriminate environmental events and can learn and retain information about environmental stimuli. The heart rate of the fetus changes when sounds occur in the environment. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self. p 92. NY:Penguin Books, 2002.)

Auditory centers in the brain stem emerge. (Schwartz, Jeffrey M., MD, and Sharon Begley. The Mind & the Brain. p 124-125. NY: Regan Books, 2002.)

The process by which neurons differentiate to their specific functions begins at approximately 14 weeks of gestation and continues through the first year of life. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 23. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Taste buds are beginning to detect taste differences in the amniotic fluid due to the presence of varying chemicals. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52-53. NY:Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

The layout of fingerprint patterns is finalized about 16 weeks after conception. (LeVay, Simon and Janice Baldwin. Human Sexuality. p 108-109. MA:Sinauer Associates, Inc., Third Edition, 2009.)

By the 4th month after conception, the fetus is able to hear. (Tomatis, Alfred A, M.D. Editor Timothy M. Gilmore, PhD, et al. About the Tomatis Method. p 20-24. Toronto, Canada: The Listening Centre Press, 1989.).

If the XY chromosome combination is present, the brain must be changed from that of a female to a male. The change agent is the androgen hormone solution. (Joy, Donald M., PhD. Bonding. p 91. TX:Word Books, 1985.)

Fetus is light sensitive from the 16th week. A direct light held to the mother’s abdomen will startle the fetus and cause it to move away. May cover its eyes in response to light and its ears in response to ultrasound. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52. NY:Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Androgens saturate the male fetal brain. The corpus callosum is reduced with resulting hemisphere specialization (e.g., functions in one hemisphere are not duplicated in the other hemisphere). (Joy, Donald M., PhD. Bonding. p 92-93. TX:Word Books, 1985.)

If a “Y” chromosome is present and there is sufficient maternal androgen, a chemical bath occurs to the brain that reduces size of the corpus callosum and allows right hemisphere to flourish. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females Audio. CO: Focus on the Family, 1967.)

The fetus can feel touch all over the body except for the back and top of the head. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p. 52. NY:Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Olfactory bulb and nerves responsible for the sense of smell are fully formed. Activity in the area of the brain responsible for smell is present before birth. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 20. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

Fetus opening eyes can be seen on ultrasound. (Imrdkl, A Smiling Fetus is a Happy Fetus.)

External sex organs begin to develop as a result of sex hormones, primarily androgens. (Arnold, Caroline. Sex Hormones. p 60-61. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1981.)

Cells are in place to form the cerebral cortex in the core of the fetal brain. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 168-175. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

Taste buds are formed. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 20. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

Imprinting of muscle response to the phonemes of mother’s speech begins. If there is no speech stimulus from the mother, the phonetic response of the fetus in utero will not develop. (Pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. p 100-102. VT:Park Street Press, 2002.)

The fetus can hear the mother’s voice and the father’s, if he is close during gestation, and is able to distinguish them from others at time of birth. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

The fetus can hear, and is listening carefully. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 98-99. NY: A Dutton Book, 1998.)

Begins to make facial movements that resemble crying. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 16. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

Responds to touch. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 21. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

Ultrasound shows fetus making facial movements that resemble smiling. (Imrdkl, A Smiling Fetus is a Happy Fetus.)

Fetal eyes capable of producing tears. (Source)

Fetal brain first responds to light. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 21. NY:Bantam Books, 1985.)

Fetal pupils are able to respond to light. (Source)

Able to distinguish mother’s voice. Able to distinguish music (and after birth can recognized music it heard in utero). (Wolfe, Patricia, PhD. Brain Matters. p 16-18. Virginia: ASCD, 2001.)

Opens eyes in utero. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 16. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

Hemispheric lateralization appears, more pronounced in males. (Tortora, Gerard J. and Sandra Reynolds Grabowski. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. p 477. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.)

Fetus has the same capacity to see as at birth. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

The brain is basically complete by the eighth month of pregnancy. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 24. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Fetal brain responses to sound are completely mature. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 20. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

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