Even before a woman finds out if she is pregnant, there are important developments taking place within her womb. Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson spent 12 years taking incredible photographs of every stage a cell goes through in its journey from fertilization to birth.
These pictures were taken with conventional cameras with macro lenses, an endoscope, and a scanning electron microscope. He started in 1965, and magnified the images by hundreds of thousands.
The absolutely mesmerising results are featured below for all of us to marvel at..
This image shows a sperm in the fallopian tube.
An egg cell.
A sperm approaching the egg cell.
The fallopian tube.
Two sperms in contact with the egg cell.
The winning sperm.
The moment of fertilization.
The sperm, after 5-6 days. The clump has developed into a blastocyst, which now contains more cells, and has entered the womb.
It has now been 8 days. The human embryo is attached to a wall of the uterus.
The brain has now started to develop in the human embryo.
At 24 days, the one-month old embryo has no skeleton yet. Only the heart has developed, which starts beating on the 18th day.
At 4 weeks.
At 5 weeks, the embryo is approximately 9 mm. The face is now distinguishable with holes for eyes, nostrils, and mouth.
At 40 days. Embryonic cells have formed the placenta, which connects the embryo to the uterine wall allowing nutrient uptake, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother’s blood supply.
At 8 weeks, the rapidly growing embryo is well-protected in the embryonic sac.
At 10 weeks. The eyelids are semi-shut, and will close completely in a few days.
At 16 weeks. The foetus uses its hands to explore its own body and its surroundings.
The skeleton at this stage consists mainly of flexible cartilage. You can clearly see a network of blood vessels through the thin skin.
At 18 weeks. The foetus is approximately 14 cm and can now perceive sounds from the outside world.
At 19 weeks.
At 20 weeks. The foetus is approximately 20 cm. You will be able to see woolly hair, known as lanugo, covering the entire head.
At 24 weeks.
At 26 weeks.
At 6 months.The baby is now preparing to leave the uterus. It turns upside down because it will be easier to get out this way.
At 36 weeks. The baby should be ready to see the world in 4 weeks.
Was that amazing, or what?