Touch: Day 40 in the Life of an Unborn Baby

At eight weeks gestation, the baby is growing more noticeably and has developed a sense of touch–a sign of intricate design and the blessing of a new life.

by Frost Smith on January 5, 2022
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At 40 days post-fertilization (8 weeks gestation), both mother’s “bump” and baby are starting to grow at a more noticeable rate. Growing at the rate of about 1 mm per day, the baby is about the size of a raspberry. Some would say the baby is looking a lot more “human,” with a large head, growing “webbed” limbs, and barely a “tail.” Of course, the baby was always human, and the “tail” was never a tail at all, as we’ve previously discussed.1 These features are all part of a well-designed process (not a reckless evolutionary one, as Haeckel deceptively tried to convince others). Any similarities between these very early stages among humans and animals should be expected when the process involves going from one cell to an organism with four limbs and the same internal organs necessary to function in the same earthly environment. Isn’t our God worthy of praise for this?

At this stage, the baby has developed the sense of touch, particularly on his or her little nose or lips, which means the brain is also developing rapidly.

At this stage, the baby has developed the sense of touch, particularly on his or her little nose or lips, which means the brain is also developing rapidly. The baby’s arms and legs are more than “buds” now, and facial features are beginning. As for the mom, the fluid and uterus that protect the baby are about the size of a grapefruit. More than likely, the most significant thing the mother notices is the nausea that about 75% of moms experience. Called morning sickness, it can last all day for months.

No one said pregnancy (or even getting pregnant2) would necessarily be easy, and, in fact, the Bible describes some of the difficulties in several places, many in Genesis.

I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children. (Genesis 3:16)

Now Sarai was barren; she had no child. (Genesis 11:30)

The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. (Genesis 25:22)

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” (Genesis 30:1)

Rachel went into labor, and she had hard labor. And when her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for you have another son.” And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni. (Genesis 35:16–18)

Add to this difficulty the thought of “going it alone” if the situation surrounding the pregnancy is less than ideal. Some studies have found that up to 83% of women who have abortions felt pressured in one way or another to do so.3 This pressure is often by the man who would be responsible to help were the woman to carry the pregnancy to term. As outrageous as this is, and ironically a true tragedy for women’s rights, the pressure isn’t always from a “deadbeat dad.” Fathers (and mothers, for that matter) sometimes don’t want the “family embarrassment” of an unwed pregnant daughter.

Women Choosing Their Futures

Billboards such as this one I’ve seen (the woman on the left has a clearly pregnant belly and on the right is in graduating apparel) demonstrate the supposed disparity of motherhood vs. success, devaluing children, women, and motherhood.

While laws and other people may make the decision to abort too easy or to adopt too hard, let’s do what we can to change those horrible statistics as Christians who see these precious preborn babies for what they are: image-bearers of God.

Worse, society at large paints the growing child in a young woman’s womb as an impediment to the mother’s life and success. While the God-given ideal for society is a marriage relationship wherein men and women are fruitful and raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, can you see how wrong and how backward it is to destroy the child, who has not done anything wrong, for any of these reasons?

While laws and other people may make the decision to abort too easy or to adopt too hard, let’s do what we can to change those horrible statistics as Christians who see these precious preborn babies for what they are: image-bearers of God. Let’s start this new year by doing what we can to help pregnant women see that as well by supporting them to make the important decision to parent or to allow others to parent their child. At the Creation Museum, our Fearfully and Wonderfully Made exhibit lists some pregnancy centers that minister to women in these difficult situations. Consider finding one in your area and volunteering or donating supplies. Let’s come alongside and make it easier for women to choose life.

References

Catherine Donaldson-Evans, “8 Weeks Pregnant,” WhatToExpect.com, June 24, 2021, https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-8.aspx.

Genesis 15:1–6.

Colleen de Bellefonds, “What a Baby Can Feel in Utero,” WhatToExpect.com, June 24, 2021, https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/fetal-development/fetal-touch/.

“When Does the Fetus’s Brain Begin to Work?,” ZeroToThree.org, https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1375-when-does-the-fetus-s-brain-begin-to-work.

Footnotes

  1. Yet evolutionary wording still pervades even women’s pregnancy descriptions, such as in this article that says of this stage “Your baby's tadpole-like appearance is fading (embryonic tail included) as the body starts to straighten out” (see Holly Pevzner, “Week 8 of Your Pregnancy,” VeryWellFamily.com, July 19, 2021, https://www.verywellfamily.com/8-weeks-pregnant-4158920).
  2. Much could be said about the pain of infertility, as evidenced by Rachel’s distress in Genesis 30 (and so not unnoticed by a merciful God), but much of this has been addressed in this excellent article from Answers magazine: “Acknowledging the Pain of Childlessness.”
  3. “Statistics on Coerced Abortions,” ClinicQuotes.com, August 31, 2012, https://clinicquotes.com/statistics-on-coerced-abortions/.

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