21 days. That’s all it takes. In fact some research indicates that it could be as early as 16 days. but, for arguments sake let’s go with 21 days. At 21 days a human embryo’s heart contracts for the first time. The embryo becomes a foetus.
At just 21 days!
I find this completely mind blowing. Most people don’t even know they are pregnant at 21 days and yet already there is a second, beating, heart in their body. W. O. W.
From that first contraction the human heart undergoes rapid development and growth but in some cases this doesn’t quite go according to plan. Did you know that every 2 hours a baby is born in the UK with a serious heart defect or that Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) causes 1 in every 13 infant deaths? I didn’t know that and I was born with CHD.
For all the statistics on information we know, there is a huge amount, and this is scarier, of statistics for information that we don’t know. For example did you know that it is estimated that 1,000 newborn babies leave hospital with an undetected heart condition? That’s despite the myriad of scans that mums-to-be receive during their 40 week pregnancy.
Well for a start a foetus’ heart is tiny. Like REALLY tiny. No bigger than a grape at 20 weeks. Incredible. So if you are looking at a grape how much detail do you see? Then think of a human heart, then try and imagine looking at that through an amniotic sac and a belly.
The charity Tiny Tickers aims to improve the early detection and care of babies with serious heart conditions. This will not only give these babies a better start to life but also prepares the parents for what to expect when the baby arrives thereby reducing the trauma to all concerned and, most important of all, improving survival rates. How do they do this? By training sonographers, and other health care professionals, to spot more defects during the routine scans, during pregnancy and soon after birth. Yay. Thumbs up, jelly on and give that expertise to these experts.
Tiny Tickers has recently been featured on the BBC’s Lifeline series and so you can find out more about their work by clicking the following links and if you have a spare, shiny new pound coin, why not donate it to the work this charity is doing?