Learn the Facts

What are the various stages of development in the womb?

Many stages of prenatal development can be identified, especially in the early days and weeks of life when change takes place at an extremely rapid pace. The following are the primary stages:

  • Zygote—A single-celled human being from fertilization until the first cell division
  • Embryo—A human being from the time of the first cell division until approximately the eighth week of life
  • Fetus—A human being from approximately the eighth week of life up until birth

To this list of stages of human development might be added: newborn, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, adult and senior—the continuum of human life which begins with conception.

Prenatal development and pregnancy can also be divided into trimesters:

  • First Trimester—From conception to approximately 12 weeks gestation
  • Second Trimester—From approximately 13 through 26 weeks gestation
  • Third Trimester—From approximately 27 weeks gestation to birth
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