[This is part 22 of a multi-part series chronicling a pregnancy through the lens of “Baby Chris.” Click here for other parts.]
21 weeks after fertilization (23 weeks LMP), Baby Chris is almost a foot long and weighs one pound: the size of a large mango. According to the Endowment for Human Development, “[t]he structure of the fetal gastrointestinal tract has developed to approximate that of the newborn although full function is still weeks away.”
Neurological development continues, with the two hemispheres of the brain showing distinct differences. And while there is no way to test whether babies dream or what they dream about, Baby Chris does exhibit the rapid eye movement (REM) typically associated with dreaming.
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|Image description: Depictions of a 21-week-old unborn baby via the Endowment for Human Development. On the left, a diagram measures the baby in inches and millimeters. On the right, a 3D ultrasound shows the baby smiling, with eyes closed. The umbilical cord is visible across the baby’s chest and neck.