The 9-Month Journey

Conception to 2 Months

Once conception occurs, the fertilized egg divides rapidly as it floats down the fallopian tube to the uterus. Eight days later, this ball of about 200 cells attaches to the lining of the uterus and settles in for the next nine months.

Now an embryo, it folds into itself at five weeks so that it looks more like a tube than a ball. The ends tuck in -- one will be the head, the other, the beginning of baby's cute behind -- and between them the spinal cord is developing. Also forming are your unborn baby's lifelines to you: the placenta and umbilical cord. By six to eight weeks, the embryo looks more like a tadpole than like a baby -- it even has a tail that will disappear as the embryo grows.

The baby-to-be floats in the amniotic sac, a supple bag inside the uterus that fills with fluid over time to cushion and protect him. Though only half an inch long, the embryo has a beating heart, and its limbs, fingers, and toes are forming. The eyes also develop early from mere indentations on either side of the face to light-discerning organs.

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