During prenatal development, the mother's general health and age is very important. Nutrition, anxiety, and stress are a big part of the physical development during the prenatal stages. Referenced by Eysenck & Schoenthaler (1997) in our text, “A rapidly growing body of evidence reveals that when food sources are short on protein or essential vitamins and minerals during prenatal and early postnatal development, an infant’s physical, socio-emotional, and intellectual development can be compromised” (as cited by Broderick & Blewitt, 2010, p. 56).Genetic and chromosomal problems can begin at conception. Many disorders can be transmitted through the operation of dominant and recessive genes. Most recessive disorders are diagnosed in early childhood. Some genetic disorders include the following: sickle cell disease, hemophilia, night blindness, cystic fibrosis, extra fingers, high blood pressure, and huntington's disease. Chromosomal errors also effect the prenatal development stage. The most common is Down syndrome, in which a child has 3 copies of chromosome 21. The risk of bearing a child with this condition depends on the age of the mother.
It is know that HIV and AIDS is more prevalent in some cultures.
The environment can influence a lot during prenatal development. Broderick & Blewitt (2010) state “genes can do nothing without environmental input—and that environmental effects are shaped by genetic constraints” (p. 34). Teratogens and disease can cause birth defects during prenatal development. Pregnant mothers should avoid things like drugs, radiation, and stay away from people or places that could be infested with viruses. These can result in a defect in the embryo or the fetus if it occurs during a particular period of days or weeks of prenatal life. The organ system of the fetus is very vulnerable during this time. Mothers must limit their exposures to mercury, lead, solvents (alcohol and paint thinners), arsenic, parasite-bearing substances (undercooked meat or eggs, animal feces), and anesthetic gases. Pregnant mothers should also avoid smoking and drinking during the prenatal stage. Smoking may cause genetic damage to a fetus. Drinking may lead to a syndrome called fetal alcohol syndrome which can affect the fetus brain and heart. Other environmental influences like cocaine, marijuana and heroin, prescription drugs, and over the counter medicine should also be avoided during this stage. According to Broderick and Blewitt (2010), some of the more common teratogens are legal and illegal drugs, infections, and environmental hazards (p. 55).
Prenatal development starts with conception. Conception is when a sperm penetrates the ovum. Then it becomes a zygote which is a fertilized egg. The first 2 weeks after conception is called the germinal period. Then weeks 3 thorough 8 is called the embryonic period. A heartbeat can be detected around 4 weeks after...