CHAPTER 4. PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT. THE COURSE OF PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT. Germinal period – creation of the zygote – one week after conception – 100/150 cells. Embryonic period – support systems for cells – 2/8 weeks after conception.
Positive prenatal development includes activities and behavior by the parents that demonstrate a caring concern for the growth of the fetus and attempting to control the factors that can be manipulated.
Confirming the pregnancy – Fetal life begins with the fertilization of the ovum, with pregnancy length calculated from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period.
The Three Trimesters: First – initial three months when prenatal organ systems are formed – physical and emotional adjustment for the mother; Second – middle months, continued growth of fetus, mother’s physical adjustment to the change; Third – uterus expands, some leg problems with blood flow, physically exhausting.
The Expectant mother’s nutrition, weight gain, and exercise are monitored for her health and that of her baby. Weight gain should be between 2.2 pounds per month and 6.6 (excessive). Appropriate levels of vitamins and adequate exercise all contribute to a healthy balance.
Culture and Prenatal care are also considerations that affect the fetus. Industrial countries generally have lower numbers of low-birthweight babies, with the United States at 7 percent; however, this is higher among African-American infants.
Cultural beliefs also impact prenatal care – In India midwives play a large role in the birthing process. Other cultures rely on ancient medicinal practices and/or strong familial cooperation.