Perinatal and Prenatal Environmental Influences on the Development of Children

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Most child development causation research has focused on genetic inheritance, and environmental contexts such as social cultural and community influences as dominant factors in physical and cognitive development. I believe that prenatal environmental influences have been overlooked in much research to date. By reviewing the journal “Perinatal exposure in later psychological development and behavioral disabilities” I will emphasis the importance of healthy living to later cognitive development in infancy and early childhood.

During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s the devastating thalidomide tragedy brought awareness to the public the causation between birth defects and use of chemical’s during pregnancy. An estimated 10,000 birth
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A teratogen is any environmental agent that causes damage during the prenatal period of development (Berk, L 2008). The damage inflicted on the fetus depends on numerous factors such as dose, heredity, age and other negative influences. A higher dose of particular teratogens over a period of time has more negative effects. The genetic makeup of the fetus’s mother plays a contributory role in resistance to malformation. Influences such as poor health care and nutrition can increase the amount of damage teratogen’s can cause to the unborn child.

Environmental events that may adversely affect the development of a child is still underestimated and not fully understood and negative affects to cognitive development is not immediately observed upon birth. It is crucial during sensitive periods of growth for a mother to sustain from exposure to environmental hazards which can cause irreversible prenatal damage to the physical and cognitive development of the fetus. The embryonic period from three to eight weeks is the time when serious defects are most likely to occur because the foundations for all the body parts are being laid down (Berk, L. 2008). The negative effects of teratogens go beyond immediate physical damage, psychological consequences may occur indirectly as a result of prior physical damage prenatally (Berk, L. 2008).

Early exposure to

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