Learning from the Embryo: The Power of Gesture

Biodynamic Thought

At five weeks the embryo is 5-7 mm long (about the size of a dry lentil). It is budding upper and lower limbs. Its heart is large and rapidly growing in size. By week seven the heart is enormous. Using an adult body as a reference, the heart stretches from the bottom of the nose to the level of the hips. The embryo’s face is resting up against the top surface of the heart, and the tiny arms now have hands with webbed fingers at the end of them. 

As the arms and hands grow around the heart, the embryo makes a series of gestures that are quite beautiful. The hands come up and around the lateral surfaces of the heart. The heart begins to pull into the body as the embryo grows in length, making space for the heart on its ventral surface. The hands meet as the heart…

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