At 8 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta and fetus have been developing for 6 weeks. The placenta forms tiny hairlike projections (villi) that extend into the wall of the uterus. Blood vessels from the embryo, which pass through the umbilical cord to the placenta, develop in the villi.
A thin membrane separates the embryo's blood in the villi from the mother's blood that flows through the space surrounding the villi (intervillous space). This arrangement does the following:
The embryo floats in fluid (amniotic fluid), which is contained in a sac (amniotic sac).
The amniotic fluid does the following:
The amniotic sac is strong and resilient.