Research on Fetal Brain Development

Scientists have been studying the growth and development of the human brain from conception to birth, and the results are fascinating. The evidence of the brain’s early capability is compelling. The brain develops progressively, as does the body, from the first cell union, or zygote, the beginning of human life. It’s difficult to imagine how a single cell could become a super-powered “apparatus” with abilities far surpassing mechanical responses in only a few months.

Let me take you through an overview of the steps. After only three weeks from conception, chemical messages are telling some of the new cells to become the building blocks of the human brain. In only four weeks from conception, the brain has developed into organized structures. By five weeks after the moment of conception, the brain neurons begin communicating to the muscles, and movement begins. From the seventh to twenty-eighth week, the brain neurons seem to “explode” at the multiplication rate of 250,000 per minute! Ultrasounds show that hand dominance begins at seven weeks from conception.

Memory functions begin by twenty-nine weeks. Late term fetuses have a capacity for remembering the sounds and sensations experienced inside the womb. Songs sung and stories read are later recognized with interest by the infant after birth. The fetus has been listening to his or her mother’s voice and will easily relate to it after birth. One could say, without a stretch of the imagination, that learning is happening ten weeks before a normal full term birth.

There is no single milestone to determine when consciousness begins. This realization makes a case for us to do what we can to protect this little one, from conception to birth.

These facts are attributed to Katrina Furth, PhD. See her website below:

Katrina Furth, Ph.D.