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  • What Is The Prenatal Period? Don’t Think You Know Everything

    This stage is crucial for the healthy growth and development of your baby.
    by R.M. Mauhay .
What Is The Prenatal Period? Don’t Think You Know Everything
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/Vovk Natalia
  • When it comes to your child's development, you can't help but fast forward to the day when they are finally born. But nurturing your little one inside the womb during the prenatal period is equally important.

    What is considered the prenatal period?

    When we say prenatal period, it means the period of time which takes place during pregnancy extending to birth. It is the start of your baby's growth and development and happens from the moment of conception.

    During this time, there is high demand from you, mommy, to take in much-needed nutrition to sustain the growing life inside of you. It's important that you maintain your health and be physically-ready to sustain a risk-free pregnancy and birth. 

    What are the three stages of prenatal development?

    Prenatal development happens in three different major stages: the germinal stage, which is the stage that happens during the first two weeks after conception; the embryonic period, which happens during the third up to the eighth week of pregnancy; and lastly, the fetal period, which happens during the ninth week to the day of birth.

    Germinal stage

    This period begins right from the time of conception when the sperm and the egg cell unite in either one of the two fallopian tubes. The zygote, which is the fertilized egg, then travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus.

    At this stage, approximately 24 hours to 36 hours into conception, the cell division begins to happen through the process called mitosis. Through mitosis, the zygote begins to divide into two cells, then into four, and so on. During the process, there will be a significant number of zygotes that hardly progresses, with only half of them surviving for less than two weeks.


    At the point where the eight-cell has been reached, the cells will then start to differentiate themselves, taking on certain characteristics. The characteristics they take will determine the type of cell that they will become. As they continue to multiply, they will the separate into two distinctive masses: the outer cells will then become the placenta as the inner cells form the embryo.

    During the week-long journey of the cells from the fallopian tube to the uterus, the cell division rapidly continues. They will develop into a blastocyst, which is made up of three layers. These three layers will develop into different structures in our body.

    • Ectoderm - skin and nervous system
    • Endoderm - digestive and respiratory system
    • Mesoderm - muscle and skeletal system

    Once the blastocyst reaches the uterus, the process of implantation happens, wherein it attaches itself to the uterine wall. This process provides the needed nourishment for the growing life inside your womb for the next nine months.

    If implantation is successful, hormonal changes will occur, halting the menstrual cycle and causing various physical changes.

    Embryonic stage

    At this time, the once mass of cells have now become an embryo. This stage begins at the start of the third week after the conception wherein the mass of cells are becoming a distinct human being. It is important to take note that this stage plays an essential part in the development of your baby’s brain.

    By the fourth week, your baby’s head will begin to form, followed by the their eyes, nose, mouth, and ears, with their heart starting to pulse as well formed by a blood vessel.

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    By the fifth week, their arms and legs will start to develop as well. By the end of the eighth week, the embryo will now have the basic organs except for the sex organs.

    At the end of this period, the brain’s basic structures and the central nervous system have already been established as well as the peripheral nervous system’s basic structures.

    Fetal stage

    After the cell differentiation is almost done, the embryo will now become a fetus as it enters the next stage.

    The fetal stage plays an even more important role in the development of the brain. This stage starts at the beginning of the ninth week which lasts until birth, and marks a significant changes and growth to your developing baby.

    During this period, all the basic structures which have been established from the previous stages further develops. In between the ninth and twelfth week of gestation, at the earliest, baby's reflexes begin to surface, with the fetus starting to make reflexive movements with its arms and legs.

    On the third month of gestation, their sex organs start to differentiate, and by the end of the month, all of their body parts will be formed.

    From this stage until birth, the fetus will continue to develop and form its body structures, with its brain and central nervous system becoming more and more responsive.

    Why is the prenatal stage so important?

    Considering that whatever you intake and whatever you do will affect the baby inside you, the prenatal period is a crucial stage and must be given importance. It is during this stage that you can establish the foundation for a healthy pregnancy and proper development of your baby.


    It's why early prenatal care is a must so that your health and your baby's health can be monitored. As soon as you confirm pregnancy, visit or consult with your doctor regularly and make sure to discuss any concerns or difficulties with them.

    Click here for your prenatal care options during a pandemic.

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