Nutrition And Risk Factors In Prenatal Development

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Prenatal development makes up the period of time from conception to birth, and it is split into three separate stages that the unborn baby develops through. Prenatal development starts when a sperm fertilizes an egg. The prenatal stage of development lasts about 38 weeks. The three stages that make up prenatal development are the germinal stage, the embryonic stage, and the fetal stage. The germinal stage makes up the first two weeks of prenatal development, from conception to implantation, where the zygote implants itself into the uterine wall. When the egg is fertilized, it begins the period of the zygote (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2014, p.42). The zygote undergoes a period of rapid cell division, which happens about 24-36 hours after conception …show more content…
Kail and Cavanaugh (2014) have identified three types, which include nutrition, stress, and a pregnant woman’s age. Nutrition plays an important role in prenatal development, since the mother is the baby’s only source of nutrition (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2014, p. 45). According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2014), pregnant women need to follow a diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and healthful fats. Some of the key nutrients that pregnant women need to take in includes folic acid, iron, and calcium. Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects that affect the spinal cord, iron is important because you need it to make hemoglobin for your blood, and calcium is vital because it helps the development of a baby’s teeth, bones, heart, nerves, and muscles (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014). Another general risk factor is stress, which can lead to women having their babies early or having babies that weigh less than average (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2014, p. 45). Finally, the last of the three general risk factors is the pregnant woman’s age. Women in their thirties are more likely to have miscarriages than a woman in her twenties and a woman in her forties are more likely to have babies that will develop down syndrome (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2014, p. 46). During prenatal development, there are other …show more content…
According to the American Pregnancy Association (2015), an intake of drugs can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruptions, fetal death, and maternal death. Another teratogen is disease. Some diseases can damage the fetus if contracted by the mother. The most common disease contracted is herpes, which can be passed on to the fetus and can lead to deafness, brain swelling, or mental retardation (Cherry, 2015). Another teratogen that can have a negative impact on prenatal development are environmental hazards. Some environmental hazards include lead, which can lead to mental retardation, mercury, which can lead to retarded growth, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy, PCBs, which can lead to impaired memory and verbal skills, and finally, X-rays, which can lead to retarded growth, leukemia, and mental retardation (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2014, p. 49). Teratogens have various negative affects on both the mother and prenatal development for the

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