The Miracle of Life: A Journey from Conception to Birth 

When does life begin? Christians acknowledge that life begins at conception. In Psalm 139:13-16, the psalmist declares, “For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you, When I was made in secret, and skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.” This is truth.  

Yet our world teaches the lie, that life does not begin at conception. I took a poll in the operating theatre asking my medical colleagues when they believe life begins. Answers ranged from when you can hear a heartbeat, to when the baby is born, to when there is brain activity, and even when you retire! When we depart from the Word of God, there is much confusion. 

In the most hidden of places, at the exact moment of conception, a man’s sperm unites with the woman’s egg to form a single fertilised egg cell called a zygote. This is the miracle moment! The fertilised eggs bears the image of God. It is staggering that this single, wonderful cell contains all the genetic material required to form a unique being. As the zygote travels down the fallopian tube, it undergoes numerous divisions, forming a cluster of numerous cells called a blastocyst. By the end of the first week, the blastocyst is ready to implant in the lining of the uterus. 

First Trimester 

Over the next few weeks, the developing embryo takes shape. Around week three or four, the heart, the first organ to form, starts beating, a rhythm echoing the gift of life granted by the Creator. It is no surprise that the beating heart is the first organ to develop. This aids in the transportation of nutrients and waste throughout the growing embryo. The neural tube, the precursor to the brain and central nervous system, begins to develop by the end of the first month. 

By the fifth week the first signs of limbs begin to appear. The baby, though minuscule, starts to take on a recognisable frame. At week six, the brain starts to develop, and the heart, now a beating organ, is pumping blood to nourish the body. 

As the weeks progress, the limb buds elongate and divide, forming tiny hands and feet. Fingers and toes, though initially webbed, gradually separate and take shape. By the end of the embryonic stage, around week eight, the major organs have formed, and the baby is now referred to as a fetus. 

Second Trimester 

From weeks 14 to 20, the fetus experiences a period of rapid growth and refinement – skilfully wrought by the master craftsman. Every organ continues to mature. By week 20, the baby can hear sounds from the outside world, and the mother may feel the first gentle movements of her child. We read in Luke 1:41 “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb.” The child in the womb has a body and a spirit! 

Third Trimester 

In the third trimester, the developing child is almost ready to make its entrance into the world. The once-tiny zygote has transformed into a fully formed, intricate creation, fearfully and wonderfully made. At this point, the baby can open and close its eyes, and the lungs are maturing in preparation for breathing. In cases of premature labour, God has graciously provided skills and knowledge such that a baby can survive outside the womb as early as 24 weeks old!  

The development of a child in the womb is a breathtaking journey that unfolds under the divine guidance of a Creator who values and cherishes every life. There is no life that is unplanned, in the eyes of God. From the moment of conception, where the miracle begins, to the culmination of birth, each step is a testament to the sanctity of life and the beauty of God’s design. 

– Dr Isaac Thangasamy