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3. Prenatal Development, Birth, and the Newborn


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Title: 3. Prenatal Development, Birth, and the Newborn

3. Prenatal Development, Birth, and the Newborn
  • 3.1 From Conception to Birth
  • 3.2 Influences on Prenatal Development
  • 3.3 Happy Birthday!
  • 3.4 The Newborn

3.1 From Conception to Birth
  • Prenatal development averages 38 weeks.
  • Period of the Zygote
  • Period of the Embryo
  • Period of the Fetus

Period of the Zygote
  • An egg enters the fallopian tube 9-16 days into
    the menstrual cycle.
  • If the egg is fertilized by a sperm in the
    fallopian tube the cells divide. Within 4-5 days
    the zygote enters the uterus as a ball of cells
    and begins to attach to the wall.
  • This period ends after 2 weeks, when the zygote
    is implanted in the wall of the uterus and
    establishes connections to the mothers blood

Figure 3-1
Period of the Zygote
  • Implantation takes a week to complete and
    triggers hormone changes that prevent
  • A small cluster of cells in the center eventually
    becomes the baby and the layer of cells closest
    to the uterine wall becomes the placenta, a
    structure to exchange food and waste between
    mother and baby.

Period of the Embryo
  • From 3 to 8 weeks after conception the zygote is
    embedded and is called an embryo.
  • Three layers of cells form into body parts during
    this period.

Period of the Embryo
  • The outer layer or ectoderm, will become the
    hair, outer skin, and nervous system.
  • The middle layer or mesoderm, will form muscles,
    bones, and the circulatory system.
  • The inner layer or endoderm, will form the
    digestive system and lungs.
  • Cell specialization is now underway.

Period of the Embryo
  • The embryo rests in a sac called the amnion
    filled with amniotic fluid to cushion the embryo
    and maintain its temperature.
  • The umbilical cord houses blood vessels that join
    the embryo to the placenta.
  • Growth during this period follows two patterns,
    cephalocaudal proximodistal.

Figure 3-3
Period of the Fetus
  • From 9 weeks after conception to birth During
    this period the fetus increases in size and body
    systems begin to function.
  • All brain regions grow, especially the cerebral

Period of the Fetus
  • Age of viability 22 to 28 weeks
  • Is the age at which most bodily systems are
    functioning and the fetus has a chance to survive
    if born prematurely.

Age of Viability
  • Babies born this young have trouble breathing
    because their lungs are immature.
  • They also have difficulty regulating body
    temperature due to lack of a layer of insulating
  • During this time, the fetus develops regular
    periods of activity.

Fetal Behavior
  • In addition to fetal activity, the eyes and ears
    respond to stimulation.
  • Remarkably, newborns can recognize and will
    respond to sounds heard while in the womb.
  • What happened, after birth, when pregnant women
    read The Cat in the Hat to their babies a month
    and a half before birth?

3.2 Influences on Prenatal Development
  • General Risk Factors
  • Teratogens Diseases, Drugs, and Environmental
  • How Teratogens Influence Prenatal Development
  • Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment

General Risk Factors
  • Nutrition- the mother is the childs only source
    of nutrition so a balanced diet is vital.
  • A woman of normal weight should gain between
    25-35 lbs during pregnancy.

  • Proteins, vitamins, and minerals are essential
    for normal prenatal development.
  • Folic acid, one of the B Vitamins, is important
    for nervous system development. Inadequate
    consumption of folic acid can result in spina
    bifida, where the embryos neural tube does not
    close properly.

  • When a pregnant woman does not provide adequate
    nutrition, the child may be born prematurely or
    under weight for gestational age. In addition,
    rapid brain growth during later pregnancy could
    be adversely effected.

  • Will chronic stress impact prenatal development?
  • Correlational studies indicate anxiety is related
    to early birth and low birth weight.

Mothers Age
  • Teenagers giving birth are prone to problems with
    pregnancy, labor, and delivery, primarily due to
    lack of good prenatal care. Children of teenage
    mothers generally do less well in school and more
    often have behavioral problems.

Mothers Age
  • The problems of teenage motherhood are incomplete
    education, poverty, and marital difficulties, all
    can affect the babys development.

Mothers Age
  • Older women giving birth was common in the 90s,
    why? However, women in their thirties are no
    more prone to risks during pregnancy, labor, and
    delivery than women in their twenties.
  • Women in their forties are more likely to give
    birth to children with Down Syndrome.

Teratogens Diseases, Drugs, and Environmental
  • Teratogens are powerful agents that cause
    abnormal fetal development.
  • Many diseases cross the placenta directly and
    attack the fetus or are present in the birth
    canal when the baby passes through it..
  • Several bacterial and viral infections are
    harmful or fatal to the fetus or embryo.

  • Five of the most common are AIDS,
    Cytomegalovirus (a type of herpes), Genital
    Herpes, Rubella, and Syphilis.

  • Potentially dangerous drugs are not limited to
    cocaine and heroin but include alcohol, caffeine,
    aspirin, nicotine, and marijuana. Nicotine
    constricts blood vessels and reduces the amount
    of oxygen and nutrients reaching the fetus. Even
    second-hand smoke is harmful to the fetus.

  • Pregnant women that consume large quantities of
    alcohol often give birth to babies with Fetal
    Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). These children grow more
    slowly, have heart problems, misshapen faces, are
    mentally retarded and have limited motor skills.
    Three or more ounces of alcohol a day can result
    in FAS. Safe levels of alcohol are impossible to

Environmental Hazards
  • Environmental hazards are treacherous because
    were often unaware of their presence. Chemicals
    associated with industrial waste are the most
    common and quantities are minute. Known hazards
    are lead, mercury, PCBs (polyclorinated
    biphenyls), X-rays.

Environmental Hazards
  • Prenatal exposure to PCBs and cognitive
    function What was the aim of the study? How
    did the investigators measure the topic? Who
    were the children? What were the results? What
    did the investigators conclude?

How Teratogens Influence Development
  • Not universally harmful. A teratogen can be
    harmful to one species and not to another.
  • The impact of harm changes over particular
    structures, at particular times during
    development, and can be different for particular

Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Diagnosis ultrasound (sound waves to generate a
    picture) and amniocentesis (a needle through the
    mothers abdomen to obtain a sample of amniotic
    fluid at 16 weeks) are common procedures.

  • Chorionic Villus Sampling is sampling tissue from
    the chorion (part of the placenta) through a
    small tube inserted through the vagina. CVS can
    be done 8 wks after conception.

  • Fetal medicine is concerned with treating
    prenatal problems before birth with drugs,
    surgery, or genetic engineering and is considered
    an experimental field.

3.3 Happy Birthday!
  • Labor and Delivery
  • Approaches to Childbirth
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Birth Complications

Labor and Delivery
  • Stage 1 starts when the muscles of the uterus
    contract and ends when the cervix is fully
    enlarged (about 10 cm)
  • Stage 2 baby is pushed down the birth canal
  • Stage 3 placenta is expelled

  • Approaches to Childbirth First be prepared!
  • Where to give birth hospitals, at home, birthing
  • Postpartum Depression 10-15 of mothers have
    persistent (months not weeks) irritability,
    disturbed sleep, and apathy.

Birth Complications
  • Lack of Oxygen (Anoxia) Often leads to surgical
    removal of the fetus (C-section) to prevent
    mental retardation or death.
  • Prematurity and Low Birth Weight Prematurity is
    less serious than low birth weight.

  • Prematurity is when infants are born less than 38
    weeks after conception. These infants may lag
    behind in development for a year or two but
    eventually catch-up with other children.

Low Birth Weight
  • Low birth weight or small-for-date infants are
    not as prosperous. Mothers of low birth weight
    babies often smoke, drink, or do not consume
    enough nutrition during pregnancy. Babies
    weighing less than 1500 grams at birth often do
    not survive and usually have impaired cognitive

3.4 The Newborn
  • Assessing the Newborn
  • The Newborns Reflexes
  • Newborn States
  • Perception and Learning in the Newborn

  • Assessing the newborn The Apgar is a scale to
    assess the newborns health. Five vital signs
    receive scores with a score of 7 or above
    indicating good physical condition. The Neonatal
    Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) evaluates a
    broad range of skills and is a more comprehensive
    assessment of infants.

  • Newborns reflexes prepare them to interact with
    the world.
  • There are 4 primary newborn states alert
    inactivity, waking activity, crying, and
  • Newborns can perceive their environment and learn
    from it.

  • Newborns spend 2-3 hours a day crying and have
    three distinctive types of cries basic cry, mad
    cry, and pain cry.
  • Crying is an early attempt to communicate.
  • Calming a baby can take some experimentation.

  • Infants sleep 16-18 hours a day. As babies get
    older the sleep-wake cycle gets closer to the
    day-night cycle.
  • Half of newborns sleep is in REM sleep. Many
    scientists believe REM stimulates the brain but
    REM function is still debated.

  • SIDS-a healthy baby dies suddenly for no apparent
    reason. 1 to 3 of every 1000 babies dies from
    SIDS most often between 2 and 4 months of age.
    Contributing factors are Prematurity, low birth
    weight, parents who smoke, sleeping on their
    stomachs, overheating with too much heavy
    clothing or blankets.

  • The widely publicized Back to Sleep campaign has
    helped to reduce the incidence of SIDS.
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