What is an Embryo? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Starting Life
  • 0:20 Stages of Development
  • 1:26 Growth in the Uterus
  • 2:05 Fetus
  • 2:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

An embryo is an early stage of development for an unborn baby. During this period of growth, a tiny fertilized egg divides and develops to a point where it starts to resemble a newborn. Learn about the embryonic stage of development.

Starting Life

Puppies and kittens are so cute! When they're born they look like miniature dogs and cats, but they didn't always look that way. Before they were born, they started life as tiny fertilized eggs inside their mother's reproductive tract, which is the same way your life started.

Stages of Development

Mammals, like humans, dogs, and cats, develop and grow inside their mothers. Human babies develop for about nine months before their birth days. During this time they move through different stages, starting as a single cell and then growing into an embryo and then a fetus.

It may seem hard to believe, but you started out as a single fertilized egg called a zygote. Fertilization happens when a female egg is joined by a male sperm. You were so small that your mom and dad would have needed to use a microscope to see you!

After fertilization, you quickly moved into your first major stage of development, and your parents referred to you as an embryo, which is the name given to an unborn baby for the eight weeks following fertilization.

Changing from a zygote to an embryo is all about dividing, or more specifically, cell division. Fertilization takes place in the uterine tubes, which are tubes that connect the female ovaries to the uterus. The ovaries are where the eggs came from, and the uterus is where the embryo implants, or sits as it grows. When the embryo first arrives in the uterus, it is a tiny cluster of cells and looks more like a raspberry than a kid!

Growth in the Uterus

At this point, the still-tiny embryo needs a place to rest and grow, so it burrows into the lining of the mother's uterus, which is called the endometrium. The endometrium is a safe place for the embryo to develop and have its needs met.

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