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Front of Sacred Hearth Catholic Church in Conroe, TX

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Miracle of Life – Weeks 15th to 18th

Post Date: May 19, 2023
Author: Laura Stephens

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
– Matthew 18:10

Though only just beginning in these weeks to have glimpse of a world beyond the safety of the womb, the preborn baby is quietly developing and carefully following the design of God for growth and maturity.

Fifteenth Week

At this week of development, the baby is the size of an orange and as long as a child’s board book. The baby’s body is growing faster than the head. The baby can make more complex whole-body movements. The skin is still translucent so blood vessels and skeleton can be seen. Bones are continuing to harden and grow to prepare for life outside of the womb. The ear bones are developing so hearing is just beginning. Soon the baby will hear the mom’s heartbeat and voice, as well as the digestion of mom’s food. 

Sixteenth Week

Currently the baby is the size of an avocado and length of a baby wipes pack as the baby has roughly doubled in size over the past 4 weeks.  Baby’s head is more erect and in line with the body instead of leaning forward. Baby’s heart is pumping between 150 and 180 times per minute while pumping 50 pints of blood daily. The eyes and ears are in right placement on the baby’s head.  Joints are working as the baby can move fingers and toes. The baby can also flex muscles, grab umbilical cord, and make facial expressions. The baby’s taste buds are developing with precision at this time. The umbilical cord now has 2 arteries and 1 vein to support the baby in the needs and demands of growth.

Seventeenth Week

The baby is the length of a seven-inch carrot and weighs about 6 ounces as the baby has doubled in weight over last two weeks. Now the baby is starting to develop a layer of fat to help gain weight, store energy, define features, help with heat production, protect organs, and develop metabolism. This fat will be found in face, neck, shoulders, breast, and stomach wall. The lungs are beginning to exhale amniotic fluid. Tiny lines are continuing to develop on the fingers to form the fingerprints. The baby’s heart is now pumping 100 pints of blood a day to help the baby grow.

Hair is filling in on the baby’s head, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Eye movements can be seen under closed eyelids. The exterior sex organs are fully formed so one can possibly see the baby’s gender on ultrasound. The umbilical cord is getting thicker and longer to increase delivery of nutrients and oxygen to baby from mother.

Taste buds are working and can determine between sweet and bitter. The baby can begin to taste the diet choices of the mother and will begin to have preferences of what they will like and not like after birth

Eighteenth Week

Now the length of a $20 bill, the baby weighs about 8 ounces. The baby’s eyebrows, hairs, and fingernails are growing. The baby can yawn and hiccup and even frown. The baby is moving so much that some moms can begin to lightly feel the baby, but for some this can take a few more weeks.

Starting to practice napping schedule, baby has times of being awake and then times for resting. The baby starts to develop myelin, which is a mix of fat and protein, to insulate and protect nerves as well as speed up the message sending within the nervous system. 

“The baby will suck if its lips are stroked, and it can swallow and even get the hiccups. The retinas have become sensitive to light, so if a bright light is shined on your abdomen, your baby will probably move to shield its eyes.” (WebMD)

My precious little baby, I have loved you from the start. You are my tiny miracle, laying closely to my heart. Each day I feel your presence, each day you quickly grow. Each day your heart beats softly, as only I can know. So I’ll keep this in a special place, and remember each year through, of this very special time of life, the months I carried you. (Babies and Love)


Resources include:, , and

WebMD quote retrieved from

Babies and Love quote retrieved from

Author: Laura Stephens

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