Is it a Baby?

Ultrasounds and photographs show human embryos from fertilization and fetuses later in pregnancy.

Is a human embryo or a human fetus a baby?  The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives this definition:

A baby is 'an extremely young child; the youngest of a group'1 

And this definition for a child:

A child is ' a son or daughter'.. 'an unborn or recently born person'2

Yes, a human embryo or fetus is a baby.  

A human fetus does not 'become' a baby at birth - he/she is already a very young unborn baby.  Likewise a human embryo does not 'become' a baby at 10 weeks gestation when he/she will be called a fetus.  A human embryo is already a tiny human being3one of the youngest members of the human family.  

 

The Endowment of Human Development (EHD) website, recommended by human embryologists (the scientists on human life), has an image gallery which shows how babies look from fertilization until birth, at each week in pregnancy.

 

As scientific and medical evidence shows, babies in the first month of pregnancy do not look like they do at two months, four months, six months or nine months of pregnancy.  After birth, newborns don't look like they will as toddlers, nor as older children, teenagers or adults.  However, human beings are supposed to look different at different stages of development.  

We are used to thinking of babies after birth because that is when we usually see a new baby for the first time.   However, with modern ultrasound technology and photography, as shown by the images on the EHD site, we can see the new baby much earlier and before birth.  In every pregnancy, from conception until birth, there is a baby in the womb, he/she is just younger and in an earlier stage of development than at birth.

When people speak of a pregnant woman often they will say she's 'with child' or 'expecting'.  When referring to the unborn child she is carrying, they will always refer to the 'baby', never to the 'fetus' or 'embryo'.  It is a correct to refer to a human embryo or fetus as a baby because he/she is an extremely young child of the parents.

 

 

Footnotes:

1  Baby: 'an extremely young child; the youngest of a group'  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/baby

2  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/child

3  "At any point in time, during the continuum of life, there exists a whole, integrated human being." ~ Human embryologist, C. Ward Kischer. When Does Human Life Begin? The Final Answer. 2003  https://www.all.org/abac/cwk004.htm. Retrieved 15 July 2014.

At every stage in the life of a human, from a new embryo at fertilization to a newborn, from a newborn to an adult, a whole human being exists.  Every adult human being existed first as an embryo, then a fetus, then a newborn, older child, teenager and finally adult.  From the very moment each of us first existed as a new embryo, we have all the genetic material which determines our individuality and which controls our own growth and development as unique human being.  

 

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