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Embryo vs fetus: What's the difference?

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Written by Cara Sumner

Cara Sumner

Cara Sumner is an accomplished writer with more than ten years of experience writing on subjects including skincare, sustainability, health, and wellness. Now, she’s dedicating her days to bringing more awareness and education to female reproductive health in her role at Natural Cycles. Cara holds a Master's Degree in Social Anthropology from Stockholm University and Minored in Female Studies/English Literature while getting her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Radford University in the States. On the weekends, you'll find her forest bathing in the woods around Stockholm.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Kerry Krauss, Medical Director at Natural Cycles

Dr. Kerry Krauss

Dr. Kerry Krauss is a practicing board-certified OB-GYN who gained her MD from Thomas Jefferson University and completed her residency at Pennsylvania Hospital. Dr. Krauss currently serves as a Medical Director for Natural Cycles, where she helps advance the Natural Cycles mission of empowering women to take charge of their health. She was motivated to join Natural Cycles to help provide an effective non-invasive, non-hormonal birth control option to her patients. And after her own struggles with infertility and PCOS, she believes that Natural Cycles can help women struggling with these issues and learn about their own bodies.

Key Takeaways:

  • At eight weeks of pregnancy, the embryo becomes a fetus and remains a fetus until birth 
  • When a baby-to-be becomes a baby can be a sensitive topic, but the scientific terms we use are important for understanding your body and the phases of pregnancy 
  • How you refer to your unborn child is your choice

Before your baby-to-be is ready for the outside world, it will go through several developmental phases. In this article, we’ll take a look at gestation and learn when a fertilized egg cell develops from an embryo to a fetus to a baby. We’ll also explore the difference between an embryo vs. fetus — and discuss why the words we use matter.

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