10 amazing bump facts

There’s a whole load of fascinating stuff going on in your tum as you grow your little person. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about…

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1. Your baby’s eyes

Little peepers form very early on, from about 7 weeks, but they’ll actually remain firmly shut until around week 27. Most Caucasian babies are born with dark blue eyes, but after birth, thanks to exposure to light, they might change to form their natural colour.

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2. Your baby’s fingers

These start to form around week 12, so for the majority of your baby’s time in your tummy, she’s got her own set of fingernails! “These are very soft, not hard like adult nails, so if she does scratch herself when she’s moving around, she won’t do herself any harm,” says Maylyn Bonds, midwife for Tommy’s, the baby charity (www.tommys.org).

3. Your baby’s heart rate

“Your baby’s heart beats about twice as fast as yours, between 110 and 150 beats per minute,” explains Maylyn. “It’s because her blood needs to pump move quickly to help her grow during the nine months she’s inside you.”

4. Your baby’s movement

The first baby movement you’ll feel is known as quickening, and while it can happen at different times for different mums-to-be, it’s often around 20 weeks. “From then on you might feel her jumping around, especially if she’s startled by sudden movement or any light that she can see from inside the womb,” says Maylyn.

5. Your baby’s immune system

“During gestation, your growing baby builds up her immune system straight from your defences,” says Maylyn. “For example, if you’ve already had chicken pox, then your baby’s immune to it at birth for the first few months.”

6. Your baby’s growth

While 12 weeks might seem an age away from welcoming your baby to the world, at this point, she’s actually fully formed, and just needs to grow bigger. “This is why, up until your second trimester, your baby’s known as an embryo (the official name for a fertilised egg), then a foetus up until birth,” says Maylyn.

7. Your baby’s skin

In the womb, your baby is covered in a soft, fine hair known as lanugo, which disappears just before, or just after birth. While it’s not known exactly what this does for your baby, we like to think it helps her stay cosy inside you.

8. Your baby’s chest

Whether you’re expecting a girl or boy, both are born with breast buds thanks to your clever hormones. “However, there won’t be much actual breast tissue at birth for either sex,” explains Maylyn.

“If your baby’s a girl, she’ll be carrying all the eggs she’ll ever produce at birth,” explains Maylyn. That’s around two million and she’ll never release all of them in her lifetime. Male genitalia start to develop around week 12, but your child’s gender can’t be identified until your 20-week scan.

9. Your baby’s intestines

These bizarrely grow inside the umbilical cord rather than your baby for the first 11 weeks, before they move across into the body when her tummy’s grown a bit bigger.

10. “I’m growing two generations”

“After welcoming two boys, it was amazing when I found out I was having a girl. It’s a nice feeling knowing the little girl inside me is producing eggs that will one day be my grandchildren. It’s as if there are two generations growing in my body!” 

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Lea-Anne Clayton, 24, from London, mum to Antony, 4, Charlie, 19 months, and 8 months pregnant

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