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factors that influence prenatal development.docx

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Diane Glebe

Factors that influence prenatal development: Heredity and environment Prenatal development  Process of maturation o Biologically programmed change and growth  Development that normally happens under ideal conditions Hereditary influences on development  Genes and inheritance patterns  Chromosomal anomalies  Genetically inherited diseases Environmental influences on development  Physical and emotional aspects  External factors/conditions o Nutrition o Exercise and physical health of the mother o Emotional stress o Maternal age o Drugs/ external substances Interaction of heredity and environment  Genetically perfect embryo may be damaged by environmental factors  Moderate genetic problems may be exacerbated by environmental conditions  In either of these situations a child could be born with some kind of developmental difficulty Teratology  The study of developmental abnormalities  ‘teras’ = monstrosity  Teratogen: any environmental agent that disturbs the development of an embryo or fetus o E.g. disease or chemical. Something outside the fetus itself  Helps us to learn how to avoid or prevent these external factors from affecting the fetus Studies of teratogens: variety of perspectives  Environmental agents that affect the mother while she is pregnant o Physical differences visible at birth o Cause by mothers exposure or lack of exposure to something during pregnancy  E.g. thalidomide  Babies born blind in London ON  Suggested at the time it was related to mothers being exposed to a pesticide from an orchard nearby.  Environmental agents that affect the mother before conception o E.g. Accutane  Stays in the body for several months after you stop taking it because it is stored in fat  Exposure to Accutane during the first trimester causes extensive damage to many parts of the fetus. (Eyes, heart etc.)  Environmental agents that affect the father: o Before conception  Alter sperm and therefore the baby’s genetics  E.g. alcohol and cocaine  Workplace chemicals o And are transferred to the mother while pregnant  Touching work-related chemicals on clothes  Lead, paint solvents, petroleum chemical nd  Chemicals in cigarettes (2 hand smoke)  E.g. BC study fire fighters o Higher rate of babies born with heart defects o Fire fighters are exposed to CO and other chemicals in the smoke and soot. These chemicals could affect the sperm or they are getting physically transferred to pregnant partner  Chemicals used in the Gulf War  Environmental agents that produce behavioural, learning and psychological problems rather than physical birth defects o Exposure to heroin/ methadone o Exposure to alcohol in later stages o The effects are sometimes not shown until they are school age and have poor performance in school  Environmental agents that produce effects that don’t become apparent until child is much older o Hormone DES o Given to prevent miscarriages o Daughters of mothers who took it developed cervical cancer o Sons developed testicular
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