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  • Bill Bush

The Science of an Unborn Child’s Heartbeat

Updated: Jul 3

With Georgia recently passing a law to bad abortions after the detection of a heartbeat, I decided to familiarize myself with the early developmental process of an unborn child.

In general, a heartbeat begins around three weeks and can be detected around six weeks.


Here is the brief summary of the developmental status of a six-week old unborn child.

Conception:  It takes about 24 hours for a sperm cell to fertilize an egg. When the sperm penetrates the egg, the surface of the egg changes so that no other sperm can enter.


At the moment of fertilization, the baby's genetic makeup is complete, including whether it's a boy or girl.


Week 1: The sperm and egg unite in one of your fallopian tubes to form a one-celled entity called a zygote. Soon after fertilization, the zygote travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus.


Week 2: The embryo and placenta are in place


Week 3: Ovaries stop releasing eggs and increased levels of estrogen and progesterone stop the woman’s menstrual period. The embryo develops into three layers. Some believe the heart begins beating around 21 days.


Week 4: The heart and other organs are starting to form. Small buds appear that will soon become arms. The baby's body begins to take on a C-shaped curvature.


Week 5: Brain and face are growing. Depressions that will give rise to nostrils become visible, and the beginnings of the retinas form. Lower limb buds that will become legs appear and the arm buds that sprouted last week now take on the shape of paddles.


Week 6: Lower limb buds take on the shape of paddles. Fingers have begun to form. Small swellings outlining the future shell-shaped parts of your baby's ears develop and the eyes become obvious. The upper lip and nose have formed. The trunk and neck begin to straighten. By the end of this week, the baby might be about 1/2 inch (11 to 14 millimeters) long from crown to rump—about half the diameter of a quarter.

The heartbeat can be detected by a physician.

And the unborn child may legally be killed in 50, 49 states.

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