Prenatal Development

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The effects of environmental influences are wide-ranging depending on the prevailing environmental factors. A particular stage of development fails to take place normally, especially the critical period when cells multiply and enlarge to form organs. Prenatal development is critical in determining the health and structure of a newborn. For example, exposure to chemicals, radioactive material, and drugs among other hazardous conditions may lead to failure in development of some body parts, stunted growth in babies as well as poor cognitive development. Severe exposure can lead to miscarriage or death during and immediately after birth (Hepper 2005). This essay is a critique of the effects of environmental hazards on prenatal development. It …show more content…
The development of the fetus is affected by the body condition of the mother. Problems such as diseases, nutrition, depression and age among others can adversely affect the fetus. Understanding the body processes during pregnancy is significant for the pregnant woman. This knowledge helps in ensuring that they do not jeopardize the development of the fetus, for example through taking drugs. Viral diseases in the mother are a major threat to the fetus due to their small size which the placenta may be unable to sift out to prevent them from attacking the fetus. Diseases such as the Human Immune Deficiency Syndrome and other viral diseases are therefore likely to be transmitted from the mother to the fetus. Some of the viral diseases acquired during pregnancy may have a permanent effect on the newborn. For example, Weisberg (2007) observes that Rubella which is a type of measles is one of the viral diseases that are known to cause long term deformities in newborns, such as mental retardation and malfunctioning of vital body organs such as the heart and ears. Other diseases that may be transmitted include malaria as well as chicken pox among others. Strain from convulsions resulting from diseases such as Toxemia may lead to premature birth. Other conditions resulting from the condition of the mother such as Anoxia may lead to brain damage of the fetus …show more content…
These hazards include drugs such as narcotics, alcohol, smoking and nicotine containing drinks. The mother’s condition is also a major determinant of the success of pre-natal development. Maternal malnourishment, stress and diseases during pregnancy expose the fetus to the risks of infections and deformities. Teenage and old age also present a risk to prenatal development. Blood composition of the fetus and the mother are major determinants of prenatal development. The RH-factor matters especially when the blood of the mother gains access to the blood stream of the fetus Mattison et al.

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