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Chapter 5

FRHD 3040 Chapter 5:

Family Relations and Human Development
Course Code
FRHD 3040
David Green

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FRHD 3040
Chapter 5 becoming parents and parenting infants and toddlers
- There are steps expectant parents might take to increase likelihood that their babies will
carry to full term, have a healthy weight and a lower risk of birth defects
- Before pregnancy
o Multivitamin with folic acid, only 1/3 of women take folic acid before pregnancy
o Avoid binge drinking
o Update immunization against teratogenic viruses (rubella)
o Gain or lose weight to attain a healthy weight
o Re-examine use of prescription drugs
o Know your status regarding sexually transmitted disease
- During pregnancy
o Early prenatal care
o Appropriate weight gain
o Eating nutritiously
o Vitamin/mineral supplementation that includes folic acid
o Avoiding alcohol, tobacco and other teratogens
o Safe food handling
- Teratogens agents or conditions that can interfere with prenatal development and can
lead to infant death or birth defects. Ex, viruses or drugs
- Nutritious diet low birth weight can result if not eating a nutritious diet, folic acid
supplements are important as folic acids deficiencies have been linked to neural tube
defects in newborns, also linked to fetal brain development and inattention and peer
problems in childhood. Due to this fortification of cereals and breads have folic acid in
them has occurred
- Avoiding harmful substances avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and other harmful
- Smoking increases the risk of fetal mortality, low birth weight and infant mortality
cognitive and behaviour problems can also result
- Prenatal exposure to alcohol affects approximately 40,000 newborns annually
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term that can relate to any effects
in those whose mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy.
o This includes fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), alcohol related birth defects
- Cognitive problems associated include learning disabilities, hyperactivity, attention
deficits, problems with impulse control, social skills, language and memory
o Nation wide study 5% acknowledged drinking
- Drugs birth defects, fetal death, low birth weight, infant mortality have been related to
use of legal and illegal drugs
- Early prenatal care first visit to physician should occur during the first trimester
o The first 12 weeks are when the fetus is at the highest vulnerability to teratogens
o Education is a major component of prenatal care
Women without prenatal care 3x more likely to have low birth weight

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Those without prenatal care are often younger, less educated, unmarried,
economically disadvantaged and from minority groups all linked to low
birth weight infants
- Women with other prenatal risk factors (smoking, psychosocial problems) are also least
likely to get prenatal care
o Results showed that women who had at least 10 prenatal visits were more likely
to resolve either risk factors
- Poverty
o Risk factor for low birth weight infants
o Poor women more likely to be ill, malnourished, teenaged and stressed
o They receive late or inadequate prenatal care, breathe polluted air, move a lot and
live in crowded places
o Increasing the number of families with health coverage in Brazil was associated
with decreased infant mortality
o In the US, two risk factors for avoidable pregnancy complication are not having
health insurance or being covered by Medicaid
- Birth and newborn’s
o Most are carried to full gestation and are born healthy
o Usually born in hospital and can leave after 2 days
- Born early/small
o In developing countries having a premature or low birth weight child has a great
risk of dying shortly after birth
o 37% of babies who died between 2000-2003 in developing countries happened
shortly after birth
o industrialized countries have greater access to medical care and therefore
maximize infant survival rate
o most traditional cultures also have infant care that tries to maximize the survival
rate, such cultures include breast feeding on demand, responding to infant’s baby
sleeping with mother etc
o skin to skin contact has been found to increase chances of survival of preterm or
low birth weight infants
o kangaroo care was first used in Columbia when there was a shortage of
now they teach mothers how to hold infants between their breasts tohelp
promote the survival
babies head is facing sideways, ear towards the heart and any tubes are
taped down to the parents clothing
cry less, sleep for longer periods, gain more weight more coordinated
breathing and heartbeat patterns
related to later positive interactions between infants and their
lower parental intrusiveness
higher parent-infant synchrony
lower infant negative emotionality
- challenges of parenting low birth weight infants

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o baby’s birth weight, length of hospital stay and postnatal complication are
significant predictors of anxiety and distress of parents
o anxiety decreases in mothers after premature babies discharged from hospital
o no difference in prenatal self efficacy
- changes in family and friendship networks
o following birth, parents increase contact with family members and diminish
contact with friends
- caring for infants and toddlers in a co-parenting relationship
o gender role expectations
parents generally become more traditional in their gender-role attitudes
and behaviours following the birth of a child with women changing more
than men and first time parents changing more than experienced parents
o the social context
the more time parents have to deal with the negotiations and daily routines
of co-parents, the more supportive and less intrusive their co-parenting
behaviour is likely to be
more instability is likely to be found among first time parents who are
developing their roles
employment outside the home affects first time parents
fathers in dual earner families display more co-parenting than father in
single earner households
o parent attributes
self esteem has been linked to more positive co-parenting behaviours
mothers more co-parenting associating with being part of a dual career
family, having college education
Goldberg parents who share childbearing beliefs are more supportive of
each others parenting practices
o Child characteristics
Temperament of child linked to co-parenting behaviours among infants
and toddlers
Father of babies with difficult temperament demonstrate more intrusive
co-parenting behaviour
One parent wants to comfort baby and the other thinks cries should
be ignored
Solmeyer and Feinberg
Under conditions of low co-parenting support, a positive
association between difficult temperament and parents depressive
symptoms emerged
Under conditions of high co-parenting support, this association
was not observed
- Social support for parents of infants and toddlers
o New parents often turn to their own parents for advice and help in childrearing
o Nuclear family in the US typically limits the involvement of extended family
members and leaves the parental couple more reliant o each other for support in
their new roles
o Community based programs
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