Category: Fertility

April 15, 2024

The Stages Of Embryo Development: Your Baby In The Womb

embryo development

Conception can happen at any time in the week or two following sexual intercourse. But for those trying to conceive who want a little more detail about how babies are made, we have you covered. Embryo development is a fascinating and intricate process that marks the beginning of life for many organisms, including humans. 

Stages Of Embryo Development

Embryo development consists of a series of well-coordinated steps, each contributing to the formation of a fully developed organism. From fertilization to the formation of complex tissues and organs, Island Reproductive Services is here to help you understand the stages of embryo development.


The journey of embryo development begins with fertilization. In humans, this occurs when a sperm cell penetrates the egg cell, forming a zygote. The zygote contains the full set of genetic material, half from each parent, and represents the start of a new individual. Fertilization typically takes place in the fallopian tubes of the female reproductive system.


The blastocyst is a pivotal stage in embryo development. It consists of an outer layer of cells called the trophectoderm, which will later give rise to the placenta, and an inner cell mass that will develop into the baby itself. The blastocyst undergoes a process called blastulation, during which it forms a fluid-filled cavity.


The blastocyst now moves toward the uterus, where it undergoes implantation. Implantation involves the attachment of the blastocyst to the uterine lining. This critical step establishes the connection between the developing embryo and the mother’s body, facilitating the exchange of nutrients and waste products. During this time, the embryo is about 1/100 of an inch long.

Fetal Development

As the blastocyst completes its journey to implantation within the uterine lining, it transforms into a fetus, marking a pivotal stage in its development. During this phase, significant anatomical transformations occur. Crucial structures and organs like the neural tube (which later becomes the brain and spinal cord), head, eyes, mouth, and limbs form. The embryo’s heart begins to develop and pulse around the sixth week. Around the tenth to twelfth week of gestation, the focus shifts to growth and refinement. The organs continue to mature, and the fetus becomes more recognizable as a human being. This period is marked by rapid growth, and the developing organism is now referred to as a fetus rather than an embryo.

Maturation And Birth

The final step in embryo development culminates in the maturation and birth of the organism. The fully formed fetus is ready to face the external environment. The day your baby is due is called your estimated due date (EDD). However, only about 1 in 20 women give birth on their due date. 

The process of birth involves the contractions of the uterus, leading to welcoming your little miracle to the world. The average labor lasts 12 to 24 hours for a first birth and is typically shorter (eight to 10 hours) for other births. However, time can vary greatly depending on each mother’s individual case. 
Understanding the steps of embryo development is not only a testament to the complexity of life but also essential for mothers-to-be and couples. At Island Reproductive Services, after learning about your goals, your past history, and often your apprehensions, treatment options are discussed with you and/or your partner. Your individual needs become our motivation. We are experts in providing the care that your situation requires. For more information or questions about embryo development, check out our website or give us a call at (718) 948-6100.

March 29, 2024

How To Prepare Your Body For Pregnancy: Preconception Health

preconception health

A woman’s body is a complex and beautiful thing, and conception is one of the many joys of life. Yet, the journey of pregnancy is a significant life-changing decision that involves careful consideration, making preconception health of the utmost importance. 

Preconception Health

Ensuring optimal preconception health is crucial for both partners, as it lays the groundwork for a healthy pregnancy and the well-being of the future child. Here at Island Reproductive Services, we are going to cover some of the key aspects of preconception health and provide practical tips for individuals or couples planning to start a family.

Schedule a Preconception Checkup

Before attempting to conceive, schedule a preconception checkup with your healthcare provider. This visit allows for a comprehensive assessment of your overall health and identification of any potential concerns that may affect pregnancy. Discuss your medical history, current medications, vaccinations, and lifestyle factors with your healthcare professional to receive personalized guidance.

Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for both men and women when it comes to preconception health. Excess weight can contribute to hormonal imbalances and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. On the other hand, being underweight may affect fertility. Strive for a balanced and nutritious diet, coupled with regular exercise, to achieve and maintain a healthy weight before conception.

Folic Acid Supplementation

Folic acid is a crucial nutrient that helps prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus. Begin taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid at least one month before conception and continue throughout the early stages of pregnancy. This supplementation is particularly important during the first trimester when the neural tube is forming.

Assess And Manage Chronic Conditions

If you have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or thyroid disorders, work closely with your healthcare provider to manage these conditions before conceiving. Preconception health may involve stabilizing chronic health issues prior to pregnancy, which can reduce the risk of complications for both the mother and the baby.

Undergo Necessary Screenings and Tests

Ensure that you are up-to-date on necessary screenings and tests. This may include checking for immunity to certain infections, screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and conducting genetic carrier screening if there is a family history of genetic disorders. Early detection and management of any potential concerns can contribute to a smoother pregnancy journey.

Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can have adverse effects on fertility and may increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. For good preconception health, it is highly recommended to quit smoking and limit alcohol intake well before conception to create a healthier environment for conception and fetal development.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can impact fertility and contribute to pregnancy complications. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Establishing healthy coping mechanisms before pregnancy can positively influence your ability to manage stress during this transformative period.

Evaluate Medication Use

Review any medications you are currently taking with your healthcare provider. Some medications may need to be adjusted or discontinued before conception to ensure the safety of the developing fetus. Do not stop or alter any medications without consulting your healthcare professional.

Create a Supportive Environment

Building a strong support system is crucial during the preconception period. Discuss your plans with your partner, family, and close friends. Emotional well-being plays a significant role in reproductive health, and having a supportive network can positively impact your overall experience.

Preconception health is a foundational step on the journey to parenthood, ensuring the best possible start for both parents and the future child. Here at Island Reproductive Services, we commonly treat women with abnormal menstrual cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and many other disorders. For more information or questions about preconception health, check out our website or give us a call at (718) 948-6100.