Chapter 3: A woman’s body in pregnancy
How the baby grows
After a sperm and egg join inside a woman’s womb, they combine to become one
group of cells that multiply and grow into a baby.
The mother’s blood contains oxygen from the air she breathes and nutrition
from the food she eats. Her blood then passes air and food to the baby through the
cord and placenta.
During the first 3 months of pregnancy, it is hard to see much happening from
the outside. But inside the womb, the baby is forming organs, bones, and other
body parts. During these early months, it is especially important that a pregnant
woman avoid poisonous
medicines, and alcohol, which
can all harm the developing
When a woman is about
5 months pregnant, she
can feel the top of her
womb at her bellybutton.
baby. As the baby grows, so
does the womb. The mother
can see her belly growing
and can feel the womb by
putting a hand on her belly.
When a woman is
9 months pregnant,
she can feel the top
of her womb just
below her ribs.
This is what
see if you
Inside the womb, the baby
floats in a bag of fluid called
amniotic fluid (the bag of waters).
The baby is connected to the
placenta (afterbirth) by a cord,
and the placenta is attached to the
inside of the mother’s womb.
When a person has difficulty having a child, he or she
is infertile. For a couple that wants to have children,
infertility can bring sadness, anger, or shame.
Often the woman is blamed when she does not
become pregnant. Even if the couple gets medical help,
many doctors will check only the woman for fertility problems.
But often the man is the one who is infertile. Neither men nor women should be
blamed for infertility. And both need support during this difficult time.
A Book for Midwives (2010)