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NYS Parent Guide

Prenatal: Growth and Development

Baby On the Way

Child Development

Child Development

A baby will soon join your family. Maybe through pregnancy, adoption, or foster care. Maybe you will be parenting a family member’s child. Or perhaps you are a relative or close family friend who will be part of a baby’s family.

You may have been waiting for years. Or perhaps you weren’t planning to be caring for a new baby now. You may already have a child.

No matter what your personal situation is, what you decide to say and do matters. It is never too early to begin building the strong and trusting relationship that your baby needs to thrive.

Here are some amazing facts about baby development:

  • By the second month of the pregnancy, your baby’s heart is beating. You may be
    able to even hear the beat at the 3 month visit when mom’s health care provider
    moves an instrument called a Doppler across mom’s growing belly.
  • Starting around 23 weeks of pregnancy, babies startle when they hear a sudden
    or loud noise. But if the noise is repeated often, they get used to it and stop responding. It’s a sign their brain is developing normally. (Eliot, 2000)
  • During month 6 all tucked in the uterus, babies develop a pattern for sleeping
    and waking and can even open and close their eyes. (Note: This doesn’t
    mean your baby will sleep on a regular schedule after they are born
    —at least for awhile.)
  • During the 8th month of pregnancy, there is very rapid brain activity and
    development. Baby’s brain—like yours—will continue to develop through life.

Useful Resources:


Sign up for this free text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms. Sent three times a week, texts include information on having a healthy pregnancy and baby and are timed to a woman’s due date or the baby’s date of birth. Subjects include: prenatal care, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, car seat safety, nutrition, safe sleep, and help to stop smoking. Texts include 1-800 numbers and other resources for more information.

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Did you know

Research finds that when mothers have emotional support, they are less likely to experience stress and more likely to demonstrate confidence, to be well adjusted and to employ effective discipline strategies.
(BANDY, T., ET. AL, 2012)