Prenatal Period

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by Chelsea38
Last updated 5 years ago

Health & Medicine

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Prenatal Period

An embryo's primitive brain appears when it is only a quarter of an inch in size. During the third trimester, which weeks 25-38, rapid brain development occurs which leads to expansion of sensory and behavioral capacities. "In the last trimester, fetuses are capable of simple forms of learning, like habituating (decreasing their startle response) to a repeated auditory stimulus, such as a loud clap just outside the mother's abdomen" (Zero to Three, 2014).

Between weeks 3 and 4, the embryo's spinal cord begins to appear. Also during this time, the embryo begins to develop the heart, muscles, digestive tract, ribs, and backbone. During the second trimester, which occurs from weeks 13-24, the fetus grows rapidly, and the mother can begin to feel movement from the fetus. By the end of the second trimester, the fetus weighs a little less than 2lbs.


Prenatal Period


Conception to Birth

Although no spoken language occurs during the prenatal period of development, a fetus begins to detect and react to sounds during the second trimester. "Sensory and brain mechanisms for hearing are developed at 30 weeks of gestational age, and the new study shows that unborn babies are listening to their mothers talk during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy and at birth can demonstrate what they’ve heard" (McElroy, 2013).


Pregnant women can do many things to encourage healthy development during the prenatal stage. For example; healthy diet, avoid toxins such as drugs and alcohol, make frequent visits to the doctor, stay active, take prenatal vitamins, get plenty of rest, and try to keep stress levels as low as possible.

One major sign of atypical development in the prenatal period of development would be no movement from the fetus towards the end of the second trimester, or into the third. Also, mother's who become extremely ill, or contract infectious diseases can affect the typical development of the unborn baby.

Atypical Development


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