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Diary of an Unborn Child: Chronology of the New Life   


A person's a person,
no matter how small.

Dr. Seuss

  1. Immediately upon fertilization, cellular development begins. Before implantation the sex of the new life can be determined.

  2. At implantation, the new life is composed of hundreds of cells and has developed a protective hormone to prevent the mother's body from rejecting it as a foreign tissue.

  3. At 17 days, the new life has developed its own blood cells; the placenta is a part of the new life and not of the mother.

  4. At 18 days, there are occasional pulsations of a muscle this will be the heart.

  5. At 19 days, the eyes start to develop.

  6. At 20 days, the foundation of the entire nervous system has been laid down.

  7. At 24 days, the heart has regular beats or pulsations.

  8. At 28 days, 40 pairs of muscles have developed along the trunk of the new life; arms and legs are forming.

  9. At 30 days, there is regular blood flow within the vascular system; the ears and nasal development have begun.

  10. At 40 days, the heart energy output is reported to be almost 20 percent of an adult's.

  11. At 42 days, the skeleton is complete and the reflexes are present.

  12. At 43 days, electrical brain wave patterns can be recorded. This is usually ample evidence that "thinking" is taking place in the brain. The new life may be considered a thinking person.

  13. At 49 days, the baby has the appearance of a miniature doll with complete fingers, toes and ears.

  14. Name changed from embryo to fetus.
    At 56 days all of the organs are functioning the stomach, liver, kidney, and brain all systems are intact. There are lines in the palms. All future development of the new life is simply that of refinement and increase in size. This is approximately two months before "quickening" yet there is a new life with all of its parts needing only nourishment. The mother will usually not feel the child's movements until four months after conception.

  15. 9th and 10th week, the baby squints, swallows, and retracts its tongue.

  16. 18 week old fetus

    11th and 12th week, the arms and legs move, the baby sucks its thumb, inhales and exhales amniotic fluid; nails are appearing.

  17. 16 weeks (four months), the genital organs are clearly differentiated, the baby grasps with its hands, swims, kicks, and turns somersaults (still not felt by mother).

  18. 18 weeks, the vocal cords are working . . . the baby can cry.

  19. 20 weeks, hair appears on the baby's head; weight one pound; height 12 inches. A fetus (little one, child, baby) is a human person at fertilization, 10 weeks, and 20 weeks.


By the Numbers Feature. "Diary of an Unborn Child: Chronology of the New Life." Lay Witness (Jan/Feb. 2003).

The Institute Slubow Narodu, a prominent Polish lay apostolate group, printed "Tragic Diary" at the request of His Eminence Stephen Sysznski, primate of Poland. The article, written by H. Schwab, appeared in the December 1961 issue of Sodalis, publication of SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake, MI. It was translated for Our Sunday Visitor by Fr. Edward J. Krason, assistant pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Huntington, IN, and printed in the June 24, 1962 edition.

This article is reprinted with permission from Lay Witness magazine. Lay Witness is a publication of Catholic United for the Faith, Inc., an international lay apostolate founded in 1968 to support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.

Copyright 2003 LayWitness



Copyright 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved