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CHAPTER 3 PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT, BIRTH, AND THE NEWBORN BABY BRIEF CHAPTER SUMMARY With conception, the story of prenatal development begins to unfold. The vast changes that take place during the 38 weeks of pregnancy are usually divided into three phases: (1) the period of the zygote, (2) the period of the embryo, and (3) the period of the fetus. Although the prenatal environment is far more constant than the world outside the womb, many factors can affect the developing embryo and fetus. Various environmental agents, or teratogens, and other maternal factors can damage the developing organism, making the prenatal period a vulnerable time. For this reason, early and regular prenatal health care is vitally important to ensure the health of mother and baby. Childbirth takes place in three stages: (1) dilation and effacement of the cervix, (2) delivery of the baby, and (3) delivery of the placenta. Production of stress hormones during labor helps infants withstand oxygen deprivation, clear the lungs for breathing, and arouse them into alertness at birth. Doctors and nurses use the Apgar Scale to assess the infant’s physical condition quickly after birth. Childbirth practices are molded by the society of which the mother and baby are a part. Alternatives to traditional hospital childbirth include natural, or prepared, childbirth and home delivery. When pregnancy and birth complications are likely, medical interventions help save the lives of many babies, but when used routinely, they may inaccurately identify infants as being in danger when they are not. Preterm and low-birth-weight infants are at risk for many problems. Interventions for preterm and low-birth-weight babies, such as special infant stimulation, can help these infants develop favorably. Infants begin life with remarkable skills relating to their physical and social worlds. Reflexes are the newborn baby’s most obvious organized patterns of behavior. Throughout the day and night, newborns move in and out of five different states of arousal. Rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep seems to be especially critical, providing young infants with stimulation essential for central nervous system development. Crying is the first way babies communicate, letting parents know that they need food, comfort, and stimulation. The senses of touch, taste, smell, and sound are well-developed at birth, while vision is the least mature of the newborn’s senses. After childbirth, all family members need to meet the challenges of living in the new family unit that has been created, but when parents support each other’s needs, the stress remains manageable. LEARNING OBJECTIVES After reading this chapter, you should be able to: 3.1 List the three phases of prenatal development, and describe the major milestones of each. (pp. 62–66) 3.2 Define the term teratogen, and summarize factors that affect their impact on the developing organism. (pp. 66–67) 3.3 List agents known or suspected of being teratogens, and discuss evidence supporting the harmful impact of each. (pp. 67–71) 3.4 Discuss other maternal factors that can affect the developing embryo or fetus. (pp. 71–73) 3.5 Explain the importance of early and regular health care during the prenatal period. (pp. 73–74) 3.6 Describe the three stages of childbirth. (p. 74) 3.7 Discuss the baby’s adaptation to labor and delivery. (p. 75) 3.8 Describe natural childbirth and home delivery, noting the benefits and concerns associated with each. (pp. 76–77) Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 43 Chapter 3 Prenatal Development, Birth, and the Newborn Baby 3.9 List common medical interventions during childbirth, circumstances that justify their use, and any dangers associated with each. (pp. 77–78) 3.10 Describe the risks associated with preterm and small-for-date births, along with factors that help infants who survive a traumatic birth recover. (pp. 78–80, 81–82) 3.11 Describe the newborn baby’s reflexes and states of arousal, including sleep characteristics and ways to soothe a crying baby. (pp. 82–85) 3.12 Describe the newborn baby’s sensory capacities. (pp. 86–87) 3.13 Describe typical changes in the family after the birth of a new baby. (p. 88) STUDY QUESTIONS Prenatal Development Conception 1. About once every 28 days, an ovum is released from one of a woman’s two __________________. The ovum is drawn into one of the two __________________, which are long, thin structures that lead to the uterus. (p. 61) 2. True or False: After release, a sperm can survive much longer than an ovum. (p. 61) Period of the Zygote 1. The period of the zygote is the (shortest / longest) period of prenatal development. (p. 62) 2. Match each of the follo

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