Pregnancy Stages by Month, Outlined in 10th Century

The importance of full-term pregnancy (i.e. 10 months) for the baby has been known for over a millennium.
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When do you think the stages of pregnancy were first outlined?

If you believe this is something that only modern science can adequately explain, then this post may change your perspective.

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I am passionate about reading holistic medicine literature and ways to connect ancient knowledge of health to our modern living.

Today’s excerpt comes from the text called Great Peace and Sagely Benevolence Formulas. This is a medical encyclopedia published by Song dynasty in 992 CE.

In its first month the fetus is like milk

 In its second month it is the size of a plum

In its third month it forms the shape of a human

In its fourth month the gender is specified

In its fifth month sinews and bones appear 

In its sixth month hair appears


In its ninth month it turns its body three times

In its tenth month it is full-term
The mother and the baby separate

Among the babies, those who are born after ten months 

Live long with wealth and honor

For a comparsion, check out the two websites that show fetal development by weeks and months.

National Institute of Health’s 2018 research on full-term pregnancy is found here.

So, how did the doctors of Song dynasty figure this out? This knowledge must’ve been transmitted down over several generations, over countless observations (HOW did they observe a growing fetus?).

If you have further insight on the history of pregnancy stages or ones from different cultures, please share with us in the comments!

Thank you for reading,


eternal student of life

P.S. I would appreciate any constructive feedback on this content, as well as suggestions for improving this blog 🙂

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