Prenatal Development and the Newborn

Prenatal Development and the Newborn - At each prenatal...

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Prenatal Development and the Newborn 1. Discuss the course of prenatal development and the destructive impact of teratogens. Developmental psychologists study physical, mental, and social changes occurring from conception to death. Fewer than half of fertilized eggs, called zygotes, survive. In the first week, cell division produces a zygote of some 100 cells, which are already beginning to specialize in structure and function. About 10 days after conception, the zygote's outer part attaches to the uterine wall and becomes the placenta through which nourishment passes. The inner cells become the embryo. During the next 6 weeks, the embryo's body organs begin to form and function. For example, the heart begins to beat and the liver begins to make red blood cells. By 9 weeks after conception, the embryo has become unmistakably human and is now a fetus. By the end of the sixth month, internal organs such as the stomach have become sufficiently formed and functional to allow a prematurely born fetus a chance of survival.
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Unformatted text preview: At each prenatal stage, genetic and environmental factors affect development. Along with nutrients, teratogens ingested by the mother can reach the developing child and place it at risk. If the mother drinks heavily, the effects may be visible as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). 2. Describe the capacities of the newborn. Newborns are surprisingly competent. They are born with sensory equipment and reflexes that facilitate their interacting with adults and securing nourishment. Touched on its cheek, a baby opens its mouth and searches for a nipple (the rooting reflex). Newborns turn their heads in the direction of human voices and gaze longer at a drawing of a human face than at a bull's-eye pattern. They prefer to look at objects 8 to 12 inches away, the approximate distance between a nursing infant's eyes and the mother's. Within days of birth, the newborn distinguishes its mother's odor and voice....
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