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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo. Initally designed to evaluate the internet as a teaching tool for first year medical students, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than one million visitors each month.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a new Web site to help researchers, doctors and patients obtain reliable information on high-quality clinical trials. Now you can go to one website and search all registers to identify clinical trial research underway around the world!




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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersDevelopmental TimelineFertilizationFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFemale Reproductive SystemBeginning Cerebral HemispheresA Four Chambered HeartFirst Detectable Brain WavesThe Appearance of SomitesBasic Brain Structure in PlaceHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearFetal sexual organs visibleBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsInner Ear Bones HardenSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateFetal liver is producing blood cellsBrain convolutions beginBrain convolutions beginImmune system beginningWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisWhite fat begins to be madePeriod of rapid brain growthFull TermHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningLungs begin to produce surfactant
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development


Kids being kids — make better parents

Mothers who took on burdensome caregiving roles as children — and weren't allowed to just "be kids" — tend to be less sensitive to their own children's needs, finds new research from Michigan State University.

The research suggests these parents do not understand child development and end up parenting in a similar harmful manner in which they were raised. The study is online now in advance of print publication in the Journal of Family Psychology.

According to Amy K. Nuttall, assistant professor in MSU's Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and lead author on the study:

"If your childhood was defined by parents expecting you to perform too much caregiving without giving you the chance to develop your own self-identity, that might lead to confusion about appropriate expectations for children and less accurate knowledge of their developmental limitations and needs as infants. If mothers don't understand their children's needs, they're not able to respond to them appropriately."

Burdensome, adult-like caregiving -"parentification" - can involve routine parenting and disciplining of one's siblings, excessive chores and responsibilities around the house, and serving as the main emotional support system for parents.

For the study, 374 pregnant women from low-income households in four U.S. cities were surveyed about their upbringing. After birth, a mothers' parenting techniques were observed several times during an 18-month period.

Mothers who engaged in excessive, adult-like caregiving as children were less likely to respond warmly and positively to their infant's needs and interests. They were less likely to put their child's need for exploration and independence above their own agenda.

A previous study led by Nuttall, also in the Journal of Family Psychology, found the children of mothers who engaged in excessive caregiving during childhood went on to display behavioral problems. Together, these studies have important implications for developing parent-education programs for mothers who were overburdened by caregiving roles in childhood.

Nuttall feels instruction about infant development might be best served in prenatal classes. Women are more likely to attend prenatal classes than parenting classes offered after birth.

"Prenatal parenting classes may be particularly useful for teaching accurate knowledge of child development and appropriate expectations about children's abilities even before mothers give birth and begin parenting."

Amy K. Nuttall PhD, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Abstract: Maternal History of Parentification and Warm Responsiveness: The Mediating Role of Knowledge of Infant Development.

Maternal history of parentification in the family of origin poses subsequent risk to parenting quality during the transition to parenthood. The present study builds on prior work by evaluating whether the association between maternal parentification history and warm responsiveness is mediated by maternal knowledge of infant development in first time mothers. Using data from a prospective longitudinal study on the transition to motherhood, maternal knowledge of infant development and observational codings of warm responsiveness were examined across the first 18 months of parenthood for 374 mothers who also provided retrospective reports of their childhood parentification experiences. Results indicated that maternal retrospective reports of higher engagement in parentified roles in family of origin were associated with poorer knowledge of infant development across the first 18 months of parenthood and, in turn, less warm responsiveness with 18-month-old children. However, maternal parentification history did not significantly influence changes in maternal warm responsiveness across the transition to parenthood. These findings suggest that preventive interventions targeting maternal knowledge of infant development as early as the prenatal period may be useful for preventing poor warm responsiveness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)

Co-authors are University of Notre Dame researchers Kristin Valentino, Lijuan Wang, Jennifer Burke Lefever and John Borkowski.

Abstract: Maternal history of parentification, maternal warm responsiveness, and children's externalizing behavior.

Destructive parentification occurs when children are expected to provide instrumental or emotional caregiving within the family system that overtaxes their developmental capacity. According to parentification theory, destructive parentification in family of origin poses a risk to child development in subsequent generations; however, there is a paucity of empirical research examining the impact of a maternal history of destructive parentification on parenting quality and child outcomes in subsequent generations. The present study examined the potential risk of maternal history of parentification on child adjustment by hypothesizing that a maternal history of parentification in family of origin would have a negative impact on quality of maternal warm responsiveness at 18 months of age which would, in turn, be associated with increased children's externalizing symptoms at 36 months. Results indicated that there was a significant indirect effect of maternal history of destructive parentification in family of origin on child externalizing behavior in the next generation through maternal warm responsiveness, supporting the hypothesized model. This finding suggests that facilitating the development of maternal contingent responsiveness among mothers with a history of destructive parentification may promote more adaptive child development in the next generation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Co-authors are: Nuttall, Amy K.; Valentino, Kristin; Borkowski, John G.

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Oct 2, 2015   Fetal Timeline   Maternal Timeline     News     News Archive   

Expecting kids to parent and discipline other siblings, perform excessive chores around the house, and act as the main emotional support for their own parent or parents -
dulls a child's own personality
and may produce a future bad parent.
Image Credit: Open Source











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