Saturday, May 13, 2006

Prenatal Development

Imagine how you came to be. Out of thousands of eggs and millions of sperm, one egg and one sperm united to produce you :) Coming to the prenatal Development, the whole process takes place by three periods. The Germinal period, Embryonic period and Fetal period. I didn’t want to bore you guys by explaining the first two periods; you might realize I am talking science! I liked the fetal period which is all about your three trimesters. Don’t you think that is something interesting we would all like to know?
Fetal period is the prenatal period of development that begins two months after conception and lasts for seven months, on the average. Growth and development continue their dramatic course during this time.

Conception to 1 month (4 weeks)

  • Is less than 1/10inch long
  • Beginning development of spinal cord, nervous system, gastro-intestinal system, heart and lungs.

Two months ( 8 weeks)

  • Is just over 1 inch
  • Face is forming with rudimentary eyes, ears, mouth and tooth buds.
  • Arms and legs are moving.
  • Brain is forming
  • Fetal heartbeat is detectable with ultrasound.

Three months (12 weeks)

  • The fetus is about 3 inches long and weighs about 1 ounce.
  • It has become active, moving its arms and legs, opening and closing its mouth, and moving its head.
  • It can swallow and the kicking startsJ
  • The face, forehead, eyelids, nose, and chin are distinguishable, as are the upper arms, lowers arms, hands, and lower limbs.
  • The genitals can be identified as male or female.

Four months (16 weeks)

  • The fetus has grown to 6 inches in length and weights 4 to 7 ounces.
  • Fingernails and toenails are forming
  • Heart beat is strong
  • Skin is thin , transparent
  • Downy hair(lanugo) covers the body
  • Prenatal reflexes are stronger; arm and leg movements can be felt for the first time by the mother

Five months (20 weeks)

  • The fetus is about 12 inches long and weights close to a pound.
  • Heartbeat is audible by stethoscope
  • Sucks thumb
  • Hiccups
  • Structures of the skin formed- toenails and fingernails, for example.
  • The fetus is more active, showing a preference for a particular position in the womb.
  • Stimulated or irritated by sounds and lights :)

Six months (24 weeks)

  • The fetus is about 14 inches long and already has gained another half pound to a pound.
  • The eyes are eyelids are completely formed and a fine layer of hair covers the head.
  • Skin is wrinkled and covered with a protective coating (vernix caseosa)
  • They can open the eyes but the vision is unclear.

Seven months (28 weeks)

  • The fetus is about 16 inches long and has gained another pound, now weighing about 2-3 pounds.
  • Increase body fat and adjust to the temperature
  • A grasping reflex is present and irregular breathing movements occur.
  • Very active

An important point that needs to be made is that the first time a fetus has a chance of surviving outside of the womb is the beginning of the third trimester (at about seven months). An infant born in the seventh month usually needs assistance in breathing.

Eight months (32 weeks)

  • Is 16 ½ to 18 inches long and weighs 4-5 pounds
  • Has periods of sleep and wakefulness
  • Responds to sounds
  • May assume the birth position
  • Bones of head are soft and flexible
  • Less active since it is cramped- no space

Nine months ( 36- 38 weeks )

  • Is 19 inches long and weighs 6 pounds
  • Skin is less wrinkled
  • Vernix – a cheesy smoothie kind of stuff which is covered the fetal body gets thick to help the baby to come out smoothly:)
  • Lanugo ( hairy part) is almost gone
  • Is gaining immunities from mother
  • Rotate into an upside down position
  • Getting ready for the birth:)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Periods of Development

Prenatal Period is the time from conception to birth, roughly a nine-month period.

Infancy is the development period that extends from birth to 18 to 24 months. They are extremely dependent on adults. They start to learn the language, social learning, and symbolic thought. They explore sensorimotor coordination like sense of touch, sense of taste, sense of sound, sense of smell and sense of sight.

Early childhood is the development period that extends from the end of infancy to about 5 to 6 years of age. This period is called the preschool years. During this time, young children learn to become more self- sufficient. Their language expands; they develop school readiness skills like identifying letters and to follow instructions. They spend many hours in play and with peers.

Just the Beginning

This blog is just for my records. I will be writing about what I read and learn about babies from the books, classes, and from my observations. My interest on babies developed after my visit to India. I was baby sitting my nephew Aryan for a month in India. He was around 18 months when I visited India. I always wonder why babies act in different ways. I became more interested after seeing Aryan’s play’s and activities. As soon as I came from India, I was reading books on child psychology and came to know that there are many theories about childhood. For many of Aryan’s action I could find answers from the books. I will write these shortly. I will be concentrating more on infants to preschool kids. Please share your opinions and knowledge when you come across this blog.