The Prenatal Period. Changes in Development from Fetus to Newborn
Prenatal period is one of the stages in the development of a fetus. During pregnancy, the unborn child goes through numerous stages of development. The changes usually happen gradually and progressively to ensure that all the parts of the fetus are properly developed, with just the right biological compositions. All the changes that occur in the development of the fetus are a result of fertilization process.
According to Felman, & Martorell (2012), a result when male sperm and a female’s egg come together is called fertilization. The product of the egg and the spermatozoa is usually known as the zygote. It is a basic component of human life. After the formation of the zygote, the life begins to develop gradually and spontaneously from the simplest forms or parts to the ones more developed and complete. In examining the prenatal stage, there are several processes and body changes that occur in the fetus.
The germinal stage is one of initial stages of human growth and development. After the egg and the sperm meet, they form a single celled organism called the zygote. The zygote starts its journey towards the womb, known as the uterus. During its journey, the zygote passes through the fallopian straight towards the main resident that will accommodate it for the next nine months or so until it is fully developed (Felman, & Martorell, 2012).
Felman, & Martorell (2012) pointed out that the germination process begins whereby the main cells that comprise the zygote begin to multiply evenly. The even multiplication ensures that human growth and development are initiated and at the right pace. During the stage of germination, there are situations where the fetus does not implant itself properly in the uterus. These circumstances may lead to a loss of pregnancy, though the mother may not even have noticed that she was pregnant. In case, the process of germination ends successfully, the woman’s biological health changes dramatically. The changes that occur as a result of germination lead to stopping of the menstrual cycle. The cells that result from multiplication slowly begin to develop unique features, such that the new features will determine what kind of organ comes from these cells.
Two weeks after a conception, the cells continue to multiply and uniquely develop into separate entities of the body. The developing cells make up two separate masses. The main components of these mass the placenta and the embryo. The placenta is the outer covering, while the inner part of the two masses is the embryo. The process of growth continues from here because the fetus is already implanted into the placenta, which is the main shield that protects the unborn child from the hazardous external influences that may harm the developing embryo.
In the embryonic stage, the cells form a mass called the embryo. This stage occurs approximately two weeks after conception and successful implantation. The embryo is actually a new life that has been initiated. The new life is composed of blood vessels that are divided into three sections.
The sections form the main basic parts of human life. The three main parts that are established at the embryonic stage consist of a special tube, usually known as the neural tube. The neural tube, therefore, is the basic form of the central nervous system in human beings. The embryo, being now a distinct human being, establishes its own mechanism of feeding. At this stage, the basic parts of the spinal cord and the brain begin to spontaneously develop.
The other basic parts of human life begin to shape up from unique cellular development. At this stage, such body parts as mouth, ears, eyes and nose start to develop. This process occurs four weeks after conception. The cells continue to multiply evenly in large quantities.
In addition, there is a specialization of cell role and movements to more specialized regions, where the new cells are needed. At this stage, there are several risks associated with cell deformation. The most common risks include cases of some forms of measles, usually known as rubella. Other complications may result in deformation of legs, blindness and arms, among others. At the end of the embryonic stage, the developing mass weight is around one gram. The basic components of the heart form where blood vessels that constitute the cardio- vascular system begin to develop.
Santrock (2012) pointed out that in the embryonic stage, the cell undergoes structural changes that depict the body patterns of a human being.
The cells continue to multiply evenly in large quantities. In addition, there is a specialization of cell role and movements to more specialized regions, where the new cells are needed. At this stage, there are several risks associated with cell deformation. The most common risks include cases of some forms of measles, usually known as rubella. Other complications may result into deformation of legs, blindness and arms, among others. At the end of the embryonic stage, the developing mass weight is around one gram.
At the fetal stage, most of the cells have undergone multiplications and reorganizations. This stage occurs from the 8th to 38th weeks after the conception. The human shape begins to be established at this stage. Careful observation of the fetus at this stage starts showing human characteristics (Santrock, 2012).
The central nervous system continues to develop to more complex forms. At this stage, the heart beat is visible. Any external environmental influences are noticed by the fetus. Changes in external environments, such as the stimulus, will be noticed from the central nervous system of the fetus. In the fetal stage, sex organs begin to appear with a combination of spinal cord and the brains. The neurons that constitute the central nervous system form (Santrock, 2012).
After four to six months during the pregnancy, the heart becomes stronger and also the other organs are formed. At this stage, the baby’s brain has developed a tissue, whereby the amniotic fluid is well developed. The baby has also established some hair. In general, at the fetal stage, all the organs of the foetus are developing at a very fast rate.
According to Santrock (2012), this is the stage where the fetus’ eyesight is not yet fully developed to respond to eyesight. The skin of the fetus at this stage still remains reddened, with wrinkles and very little fat content. There is a special biological component called vernix; it covers ate skin of the fetus at this stage. In examining the lungs, there are some parts that are not yet fully developed. However, the development of the lungs is better observed after a child’s birth. A respiratory system is functioning well. In female fetus, the clitoris section is visible to some levels, though the labia are not yet fully developed.
In the prenatal stages of growth and development of child, there are several stages that occur between a time when a child is conceived and a time when it is born. The stages of development are well defined and progress gradually and spontaneously. The stages include the germinal stage; this is when the child is conceived. The post germinal component of the cells generated from germination creates an embryo, which is an actual distinct human being. The period of realization of a distinct human being is usually referred to as the organogenic period.
At this stage, the egg from the female and a sperm from the male meet through a special process of copulation.
During the germination stage, the fertilized egg and sperm travel thought the fallopian tubes of the female towards the uterus, which is the main resident for the two masses of cells. From the uterus, the cells multiply evenly to produce an embryo that is to germinate into a fetus, special unit of human life.
Santrock, (2012) explains that the embryonic stage begins after two weeks from conception. The post germinal component of the cells generated from germination creates an embryo, which is an actual distinct human being. The period of realization of a distinct human being is usually referred to as the organogenic period.
The organogenic period continues for two months, where there are major developments of the organs, neural tube, the central nervous system, spinal cord and the brain. In the fourth week, the head, eyes, nose, ears and mouth develop. The cardiovascular tissues are established, including pulse.
Finally, the fetal stage begins at the ninths week and explains ways in which the cells differentiate and further development in the body mechanism system occurs. At this point, the body sex organs develop. The basic body parts continue to develop fully until birth.
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