About Your Growing Baby

First Trimester

The first trimester begins at conception and ends at week 13. In just four weeks of development, the embryo will be about 6 mm (1/4 inch) long and will begin to develop its heart, muscles, backbone, ribs and digestive tract. By week 8 of development, the embryo will have grown to 2.5 cm (1 inch) and will be able to move. At the end of the first trimester, the fetus begins to rapidly grow in size, and it will expand its movements and behaviours to include kicking and thumb sucking.

Second Trimester

The second trimester lasts from week 14 to week 26. Near the middle of this period, most mothers will begin to feel the fetus' movements. Around this time, the fetus' skin will be covered in long, fine hair and a white substance called vernix which protects the fetus' skin from constant exposure to the amniotic fluid. By week 24, the fetus' eyes will be sensitive to light, it will react to sounds and it will be about 30 cm (12 inches) and 820 grams (1.8 pounds). By week 26 of development, the fetus has a chance of survival if it's born prematurely. During the second trimester, many women will have an ultrasound to check the development of the fetus' heart, spine and other body parts.

  • The Second Trimester
  • Fetal Ultrasound for Keepsake Videos
    Recently, some businesses have started promoting the use of fetal ultrasound machines for the sole purpose of making videos of babies in the womb as a keepsake for parents. In this setting, the ultrasound provides no information about the baby's health. Health Canada is recommending parents not expose their unborn babies to fetal ultrasound for the purpose of making "keepsake" videos.

Third Trimester

The third trimester is from week 27 to the birth of the baby, commonly estimated as a due date based on 40 weeks of pregnancy. During the third trimester, the lungs mature, antibodies are transmitted from the mother, the fetus gains a layer of fat, and rapid brain development triggers sensory and behavioural abilities to expand. As the fetus grows larger and space in the uterus decreases, the fetus will move less often. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, most fetuses will assume an upside down position in preparation for birth.

First Six Weeks of Life

When you first see your child, you might be really surprised! Whether the baby is a boy or a girl, he will probably have a white substance on his skin called vernix, he might have birthmarks, little red or white dots that look like pimples on his swollen face, a misshapen head and his genitals may be swollen. Not quite what you were picturing? Don't worry – within a few weeks he'll transform into the perfect little bundle you have dreamed about for nine months.

There are many other things that may occur during and after birth or during the first few days and weeks of your newborn's life. If you have a girl, you might see some white-ish vaginal discharge with a small amount of blood in it. This happens because of hormones and is completely normal. If you have a boy you may notice a bulge near his genitals that sticks out when he cries. This is a common type of hernia that baby boys can experience. Contact your medical professional or midwife if you notice a bulge and they will provide you with the information you need.

Your baby will also have many checks, tests and appointments even before leaving the hospital. Your child's pediatrician may come to visit you during your hospital stay or you might have to arrange an appointment to see your child's health care provider. During your hospital stay your child will likely receive her first bath, a blood test performed by poking her heel and various other tests to ensure she is doing well. Before leaving the hospital, you will have to put your baby in her car seat and have it checked by a nurse.

  • Routine Health Care for Newborn Babies
  • Registering a Birth in Manitoba
    Every child born in Manitoba must be registered with Vital Statistics Agency within five days of the birth or before the baby leaves the health facility. As of July 1, 2011, Vital Statistics Agency, Canada Revenue Agency and Service Canada introduce the Integrated Birth Registration process to Manitoba. This means that parents can choose to apply for Canada Child Benefits or a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for their baby when they complete the Registration of Birth form.

You may want to talk to a nurse, medical professional or midwife about the tests that babies regularly receive after birth. You can also speak to your medical professional or midwife to find out who will provide your baby's care after she is born.

The first few weeks of your baby's life are quite an adjustment for her. She is getting used to the world outside of the womb and this place can be hard, cold, and scratchy. Remember, she has been floating in a perfectly-controlled environment and then she was pushed and contorted out of a tiny space into a cold environment with bright lights. Your baby has a lot to get used to! Keep your baby warm and comfortable with soft clothing that is appropriate for the season. Your baby won't care if she's in red or purple, second-hand or designer clothes, but she will care if she is comfortable. Babies don't like to be either too hot or too cold, and you can expect her to let you know if she is uncomfortable.


Feeding can take a while to get established – even for experienced moms having their second or subsequent baby – so just know that you aren't alone if you are having a hard time! You might notice a blister on your baby's lip; this is caused by sucking and will normally go away without further treatment. If you are concerned, you can speak to your child's health care professional or a public health nurse. If you are experiencing difficulty breastfeeding, you can contact your public health nurse or call the Breastfeeding Hotline - Info Santé Nurse at 204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257.


Bathing your baby for the first few times can be very scary and stressful. They are so tiny and fragile and you have to try to hold on to a soapy, perhaps screaming, wet baby? Yikes. Even though it is stressful, however, you'll likely find that with some practice, it becomes more manageable. And yes, he might scream through his bath but if you stick to the following two steps in bathing, you can relax knowing that you are doing what needs to be done and soon enough your little one will be comfortable with the bathing routine.

One of the most important parts of bathing your baby is the water temperature. Ensure the water is not too hot or cold. Remember that perfect temperature-controlled womb? Your baby may really hate the feeling of air on his skin while sitting in water.

The second most important part of bathing your baby is to never leave him unattended in water. Baby bathtubs are not designed to keep a baby's head above water and it takes a very small amount of water and only seconds for a baby to drown.

Most babies should be bathed about every three days but you should wipe your baby's face, hands, neck and genitals every day. It's a great idea to get everything ready before drawing your child's bath – this way you won't be tempted to leave to grab a towel, diaper or anything else while your child is in the water. If your child really dislikes his bath, think about developing a bathing routine to help him adjust.

If you have a baby boy, don't pull back his foreskin during bathing, diapering or at any other time unless otherwise instructed by your baby's health care provider. Your son's penis and foreskin do not need specific care to be clean and healthy until an age when your son will be retracting his foreskin on his own.

Some parents prefer bathing with their babies because they feel more in control of the situation and they can keep their baby warm. Other parents prefer to use a baby bathtub and still others prefer to use the sink. However you choose to bathe your baby, never leave him alone in the water and always check the water temperature with your elbow before placing your baby in the water.

Umbilical Cord

Your infant's umbilical cord needs very little special care once you are home. After bathing, carefully dry the area around the umbilical cord and try to keep the child's diaper from rubbing his umbilical cord. Simply fold down the front of your baby's diaper if it is rubbing against his umbilical cord. And that's it – umbilical cord care is usually one of the easy things! In about two weeks' time, your infant's umbilical cord will fall off on its own. Don't try to remove the umbilical cord and if you notice any redness or swelling, oozing or pus around the cord, speak to a public health nurse or your child's health care provider for further information.


Cradle cap is a very common condition found on a baby's head – it doesn't cause your child any pain but it can look quite nasty. Cradle cap looks like dry, flakey skin that is usually yellowish-brown in colour. It is easily treated by using a little bit of baby oil or olive oil and a soft baby hair brush. Put a little oil on the hair brush and gentle massage your baby's scalp where there is cradle cap. If the cradle cap persists or you have any concerns, speak to your child's health care provider.

At the hospital, you will probably be given a few sheets of paper on which you are to record your newborn's bowel movements and feeding times. This might seem a bit silly and excessive but you wouldn't believe how interesting your own infant's bathroom and feeding habits can be! It's a great idea to fill these out the best you can. Finding time to record poops when you're struggling to do everything else can be tricky, but these sheets can be very handy when you take your baby for his first medical check-up. Because feeding can be difficult to establish, this is a way to measure and monitor how much fluid your child is getting and if she has any bowel or urinary problems. If you keep the sheets handy and leave them in view, it can make it easier for you to remember to fill them in.

Sleep is that strange thing that happens when your infant closes his eyes and is quietly resting. Your newborn's naps can run anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours – if you are lucky. Anything less than thirty minutes does not count as sleep; it's merely a short, lovely quiet moment! To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, always put your baby down to sleep on her back on a firm, flat surface. It's unsafe to have bumper pads, toys, stuffed animals or pillows in your child's crib or bassinet while your baby is in it. It's also important to make sure your child is warm but not hot while sleeping. It's a great idea to speak to your medical professional, midwife or public health nurse about reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and keeping your infant safe while sleeping.

  • Safe Sleep for Baby
    Creating a safe sleep environment for your baby will lower the risk of injury and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).