How a child is born: a series of breathtaking photographs showing the development of the fetus until birth


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The photographer Lennart Nilsson spent 10 years of his life documenting human fetus growth, from pregnancy to birth.

The world first heard about Lennart Nilsson in 1965, when "Life" magazine published 16-pages of photographs of human fetuses. Immediately after, the photographs were also published in famous magazines like the Sunday Times, Paris Match, and more.

Microscopes and cameras were Nilsson's passion even in childhood. Over time, his ambitions became reality and he could show the world the beauty of the human body at the microscopic level. He managed to capture the first images of a fetus already in 1957, but they weren't good enough to publish.

Nilsson was able to capture the most accurate images with a Cystoscope – a medical instrument used to examine the inside of the bladder. He attached a camera along with a small light, and took thousands of pictures in the life of a fetus inside of his mother's uterus.

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Nilsson has produced something fantastic: for the first time, people were able to see with their own eyes the birth process and the initial phase of the development of human life.

Sperm cell traveling along the fallopian tube towards the egg

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The egg

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The critical moment

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One of the 200 million sperm cells of the father penetrate the membrane of the egg

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The perspective of the sperm cell. The head contains all the genetic information

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A week later, the fetus wanders to the uterus, as he floats down through the fallopian tube

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Another week has passed, and the fetus attaches to the uterus wall.

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The fetus after 22 days growth. The gray part will become the child's brain

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After 18 days of development, the fetus's heart starts working

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28 days after fertilization

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At the fifth week, the fetus is 9mm long; You can now see face with openings of mouth, eyes and nostrils.

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40 days. The outer cells of the fetus join the uterus wall loose area to form the placenta.

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8 weeks of development

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10 weeks. The eyelids are half open already. Within a few days they will be completed.

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In 10 weeks the fetus already use his hands to examine the environment

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16 weeks

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You can now see the lines of blood vessels through the skin

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18 weeks. The fetus can hear noises from the outside world

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19 weeks

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20 weeks. In 20 cm length, hair starts to grow on his head.

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24 weeks

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6 months ago

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36 weeks. Within a month, the baby will be born

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Nilsson's book, A Child is Born, was published in 1965. Within a few days it was sold out in stores, and it was published again many times afterwards, to become the most popular photo book of all time.

Today Lennart Nilsson is 94 years old, and still interested in science and photography.


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