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3: Prenatal Development

  • Page ID
    2993
  • [ "article:topic-guide", "Prenatal Development" ]

    • 3.1: Introduction to Heredity, Prenatal Development, and Birth
      In this lesson, we will look at some of the ways in which heredity helps to shape the way we are, what happens genetically during conception, and take a brief look some genetic abnormalities. For decades, scholars have carried on the “nature/nurture” debate. Those on the “nature” side would argue that heredity plays the most important role in bringing about that feature. Those on the “nurture” side would argue that one’s environment is most significant in shaping the way we are.
    • 3.2: Prenatal Development
      The germinal period, the organism begins cell division and growth after conception. The embryonic period begins once the organism is implanted in the uterine wall. During this period, cells continue to differentiate and at 22 days after conception the neural tube forms which will become the brain and spinal column. From the ninth week until birth, the organism is referred to as a fetus. During this stage, the major structures are continuing to develop.
    • 3.3: Environmental Risks
      Good prenatal care is essential. The developing child is most at risk for some of the most severe problems during the first three months of development. Unfortunately, this is a time at which most mothers are unaware that they are pregnant. One of the most commonly used teratogens is alcohol. Some environmental pollutants of major concern include lead poisoning, which is connected with low birth weight and slowed neurological development. One of the most potentially devastating teratogens is HIV
    • 3.4: Pregnancy
      There are a number of common side effects of pregnancy. Not everyone experiences all of these nor to the same degree. And although they are considered “minor” this is not to say that these problems are potentially very uncomfortable. Serious complications of pregnancy can pose health risks to mother and child and often require hospitalization. Difficulty during delivery may lead to anoxia which can result in brain damage or in severe cases, death.
    • 3.5: Childbirth
      Prepared childbirth refers to being not only physically in good condition to help provide a healthy environment for the baby to develop, but also helping a couple to prepare to accept their new roles as parents and to get information and training that will assist them for delivery and life with the baby as much as possible. The more a couple can learn about childbirth and the newborn, the better prepared they will be for the adjustment they must make to a new life.
    • 3.6: Maternal Mortality
      Read this BBC article about why so many women worldwide still die in childbirth.
    • Lecture: Prenatal Development
    • Slideshow: Prenatal Development
    • Study Guide: Introduction and Prenatal Development
    • Unit 1 Exam: Introduction to Lifespan, Theories and Research, Beginnings
    • Video: "Life's Greatest Miracle"

    Thumbnail: This is a picture of a human fetus at 40 weeks' gestational age (i.e. 38 weeks after fertilization). Image used with permission (CC SA 2.5; Andrew c).