What Happens Early on in Pregnancy

The fertilized egg now develops into a zygote, which is the very basis of human life. All humans begin their lives as a single cell. This single cell now has combined the genetic information (DNA) from the mother and father and can develop into a complex cell orchestration of metabolism, movement, and mentality. All the zygote needs is a nourishing place to develop, namely the mother's uterus. Within a brief time after conception, the zygote divides into two cells, which then divide into four cells, which then divide into eight cells, and so on. From conception to 2 weeks is referred to as the pre-embryonic period, while from week 2 to the closure of week 8 marks the embryonic period. By the end of the embryonic period the embryo will show small but fairly developed organs and begin to take on a more recognizable human form. The commencement of week 9 to the moment of birth marks the fetal period. During this time the fetus will show remarkable growth and maturation of organs and appendages. At approximately 13 weeks, the heart begins to beat, even though the fetus still weighs but a few ounces.

At conception, human life begins with a single cell called a zygote.

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