Psychology - Prenatal Development & Birth - Chapter 4

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The Developing Person - Through the Life Span (7th Edition)

GERMINAL PERIOD

The first two weeks of prenatal development after conception; characterized by rapid cell division and the beginning of cell differentiation.

EMBRYONIC PERIOD

The stage of prenatal development from approximately the third through the eighth week after conception, during which the basic forms of all body structures, including internal organs, develop.

FETAL PERIOD

The stage of prenatal development from the ninth week after conception until birth, during which the organs grow in size and mature in functioning.

BLASTOCYST

A cell mass that develops from the zygote in the first few days after conception, during the germinal period, and forms a hollow sphere in preparation for the implantation.

PLACENTA

The organ that surrounds the developing embryo and fetus, sustaining life via the umbilical cord. The placenta is attached to the wall of the uterus.

IMPLANTATION

The process, beginning about 10 days after conception, in which the developing organism burrows into the placenta that lines the uterus, where it can be nourished and protected as it continues to develop.

EMBRYO

The name for a developing organism from about the third through the eighth week after conception.

FETUS

The name for a developing organism from the ninth week after conception until birth.

AGE OF VIABILITY

The age (about 22 weeks after conception) at which a fetus might survive outside the mother's uterus if specialized medical care is available.

TERATOGENS

Agents and conditions, including viruses, drugs, chemicals, that can impair prenatal development and result in birth defects or even death.

BEHAVIORAL TERATOGENS

Agents and conditions that can harm the prenatal brain, impairing the future child's intellectual and emotional functioning.

RISK ANALYSIS

The science of weighing the potential effects of a particular event, substance, or experience to determine the likelihood of harm. In teratology, risk analysis attempts to evaluate everything that affects the chances that a particular agent or condition will cause damage to an embryo or fetus.

CRITICAL PERIOD

In prenatal development, the time when a particular organ or other body part of the embryo or fetus is most susceptible to damage by teratogens.

THRESHOLD EFFECT

A situation in which a certain teratogen is relatively harmless in small doses but become harmful once exposure reaches a certain level (the threshold).

INTERACTION EFFECT

The result of a combination of teratogens. Sometimes risk is greatly magnified when an embryo or fetus is exposed to more than one teratogen at the same time.

FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME (FAS)

A cluster of birth defects, including abnormal facial characteristics, slow physical growth, and retarded mental development, caused by the mother's drinking alcohol while pregnant.

APGAR SCALE

A quick assessment of a newborn's body functioning. The baby's color, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone, and respiratory effort are give a score of 0, 1, or 2 twice - at one minute and five minutes after birth - and the total of all the scores is compared with the ideal score of 10.

CESAREAN SECTION

A surgical birth, in which incisions through the mother's abdomen and uterus allow the fetus to be removed quickly, instead of being delivered through the vagina.

DOULA

A woman who helps with the birth process. Traditionally in Latin America, a doula was like a midwife, the only professional who attended childbirths. Now doulas are likely to work alongside a hospital's medical staff to help mothers through labor and delivery.

ANOXIA

A lack of oxygen that, if prolonged during birth, can cause brain damage or death of the baby.

CEREBRAL PALSY

A disorder that results from damage to the brain's motor center. People with cerebral palsy have difficulty with muscle control, so their speech and body movements are impaired.

LOW BIRTHWEIGHT (LBW)

A body weight at birth of less than 5 1/2 lbs (2.5 kg).

VERY LOW BIRTHWEIGHT (VLBW)

A body weight at birth of less than 3 lbs, 5 oz (1.5 kg).

EXTREMELY LOW BIRTHWEIGHT (ELBW)

A body weight at birth of less than 2 lbs, 3 oz (.99 kg).

PRETERM BIRTH

A birth that occurs three or more weeks before the full 38 weeks of the typical pregnancy has elapsed - that is, at 35 or fewer weeks after conception.

SMALL FOR GESTATIONAL AGE (SGA)

A term for a baby whose birthweight is significantly lower than expected, given the time since conception.

KANGAROO CARE

A form of child care in which the mother of a low-birthweight infant spends at least an hour a day holding a baby between her breasts, like a kangaroo that carries her immature newborn in a pouch in her abdomen. If the infant is capable, he or she can easily breastfeed in this position.

PARENTAL ALLIANCE

Cooperation between a mother and father based on their mutual commitment to their children. In a parental alliance, the parents agree to support each other in their share parental roles.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

A new mother's feelings and inadequacy and sadness in the days and weeks after giving birth.

PARENT-INFANT BOND

The strong, loving connection that forms as parents hold their newborn.

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