Monday, March 07, 2005

See the 4D Images Used on "In the Womb"

If you missed National Geographic's "In the Womb" it will air again on March 11th. You can check their listings at

Using 4D imaging technology we are now better able to study fetal behavior and characteristics. Here are a few tidbits I jotted down:

By Day 15, the fetus begins developing neurons in the brain and spinal column. At 22 days, the heart cells begin to beat.

Up to the age of 8 weeks, the fetus subsists on the yolk sac, which then shrivels away as the fetus begins to rely on his mother for continued nourishment.

Reflexive movement meant to strengthen and exercise his body begins at just nine weeks of development.

By four months, the nervous system is up and running, and his bones begin to harden.

His hands develop before his feet, probably because they are keeping up with the development of the rest of his senses: taste, hearing, etc.

By four months, the fetus squirms when prodded.

At just 11 weeks gestational development, the fetus exercises the sucking reflex he will need to feed at birth, and develops left or right-handedness at this time - not in childhood, as originally thought.

Experts agree that there is no difference between the 33-week old fetus and the newborn child. In fact, "birth could be a relatively insignificant event in developmental terms."

Sentience in the womb is well demonstrated by the development of the twin bond between identical twins, who, sharing the same amniotic sac, continually interact with each other in the womb while they explore themselves and their environment. Their intimate bond and familiarity with each other can be observed from birth.

By four months, the fetus is aware of his environment, especially sounds, since hearing is the first sense to develop. He is especially sensitive to his mother's voice, and can recognize music - he has memory.

If you would like to see the 4D images, go to


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