Gestation and Lactation



The human gestation period is usually around 280 days or 9 months although this is only a guide as some babies can be overdue by a considerable amount of time, although more worryingly, some babies can be very premature.

This video shows you the growth of a baby from fertilisation to birth:

The human gestation period begins when the sperm from the man fertilises the egg or ovum of the woman, this is the point of conception. From here the gestation period is split into three distinct time periods called trimesters.

First Trimester

The first three months are known as the first trimester and this time runs from the last day of the last period until the 13 week mark. It is  during this time that a fetus is implanted into the womb. The first sign of pregnancy is usually a feeling of sickness, nausea and fatigue. Periods are usually stopped at this point but some women may experience light flows during this time. Miscarriages and loss of pregnancy can be very common during this trimester.

Second Trimester

The second trimester runs from the 14th to the 27th week of pregnancy. This is the trimester where most women start to feel much better. The bad feelings of morning sickness begin to fade and it is during this time period that it is said that a pregnant woman gets her glow. The mother will also usually become much more energetic. The fetus will start to move a lot and the movement should be noticable to the mother.

Third Trimester

The final trimester begins at the 28th week and continues all the way till birth. This is the period where the fetus grows to full birth size and begins to stretch out the mother’s uterus and abdomen. The fetus is at its most active at this stage and will be very noticable. The mother may start to feel uncomfortable around now and she may become anxious for the birth. In the last two to three weeks, contractions will begin in the run up to the birth.


Humans are mammals and as such, they breastfeed their young. The mother’s body begins to prepare to supply nutrients for her baby during pregnancy. The mother’s nipples tend to get bigger in size and darker around the areola area. Just before birth, the mammary glands begin to produce milk and the nipples begin to leak. Only a few drops at first but this will later become a stream, once baby begins to feed. This is known as lactation. Breast Milk is thought to be the best form of nutrition for neonates and babies.Breastfeeding-anatomy-300x239