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What is an embryo?

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What is an embryo? For the first eight weeks of a pregnancy, the developing egg is called an embryo. A liquid-filled bag develops around the embryo to protect it. By the fourth week of pregnancy the embryo is the size of a grain of rice. It has a head and a tail, and the beginning of limbs, and its tiny heart begins to beat.

The placenta is the embryo's life-support system. It is a red, flattened organ that becomes deeply embedded in the wall of the womb. The placenta extracts food substances from the mother's blood and passes waste material from the embryo back to the mother for disposal.

The placenta is connected to the developing baby by a thick umbilical cord, which contains large blood vessels.

After five weeks, the embryo has a pumping heart and tiny limbs and is about 1 cm in length. By nine weeks it has become a foetus, and is recognizable as a tiny baby. It begins to move. For the rest of its development, the foetus will increase in size until it is born.


Tags: women, pregnancy



Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 23 December '11


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