Prenatal Development and the Newborn

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					Prenatal Development and
      the Newborn
   Developmental Psychology
• This is the focus for Modules 7-10.
• These psychologists study the life cycle,
  from conception to death, examining how
  we develop physically, cognitively, and
        Three Focal Points
• 1. The relative impact of genes and
  experience on behavior. (mod. 5-6)
• 2. Whether development is best described
  as gradual and continuous or as a
  sequence of predetermined stages.
• 3. Whether the individual’s personality
  remains stable or changes over the life
            The Life Cycle
• When one sperm unites with a mature egg
  it forms a fertilized egg called a zygote.
  Only one sperm can penetrate an egg.
• Fewer than ½ of all fertilized eggs survive.
• In the first week, cell division produces a
  zygote of some 100 cells, which are
  already beginning to specialize in structure
  and function.
Prenatal Development
  and the Newborn

   Life is sexually transmitted
• About 10 days after conception, the
  zygote’s outer part attaches to the uterine
  wall (the interior wall of the uterus) and
  becomes the placenta through which
  nourishment passes. The inner cells
  become the embryo.
• During the next 6 weeks, the embryo’s
  body organs begin to form and function.
  The heart begins to beat and the liver
  begins to make red blood cells.
Prenatal Development
  and the Newborn
40 days   45 days   2 months   4 months
• By 9 weeks after conception, the embryo
  has become unmistakably human and is
  now a fetus.
• By the end of the sixth month, internal
  organs such as the stomach have become
  sufficiently formed and functional to allow
  a prematurely born fetus a chance of
• At each prenatal stage, genetic and
  environmental factors affect development.
• Along with nutrients, teratogens ingested
  by the mother can reach the developing
  child and place it at risk.
• Teratogens are agents, such as chemicals
  and viruses, that can reach the embryo or
  fetus during prenatal development.
 Medication Use During Pregnancy
• In the 1960’s Thalidomide was prescribed
  to many pregnant women to combat
  morning sickness.
• The use of this medication produced many
  birth defects and has since been banned
  for use with pregnant women.
Illegal Drug Use During Pregnancy
• Marijuana: crosses the placenta to the
• Smoking marijuana increases the levels of
  carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in
  the blood, which reduces the oxygen
  supply to the baby.
• Using marijuana can increase the chance
  of miscarriage, low birth-weight, premature
  births, developmental delays, behavioral
  and learning problems.
• Cocaine: crosses the placenta and enters
  the embryo/fetus’s circulation. The
  elimination of cocaine is slower in the fetus
  than in an adult.
• Cocaine use during the early months of
  pregnancy may increase the risk of
• Later in pregnancy, cocaine use can
  cause placental abruption which leads to
  severe bleeding, preterm birth, and fetal
• Babies born to cocaine users may have a
  smaller head and their growth may be
• The baby can be born dependent on
  cocaine and suffer withdrawal symptoms
  such as sleeplessness, muscle spasms,
  and difficulties feeding.
• Defects of the genitals, kidneys, and brain
  are also possibilities.
• Heroin is a very addictive drug that
  crosses the placenta to the baby.
  Because the drug is so addictive, the
  unborn baby is usually born dependent on
  the drug.
• Using heroin during pregnancy increases
  the chance of premature birth, low birth
  weight, breathing difficulties, low blood
  sugar, bleeding within the brain, and infant
• IV drug users are also at risk for
  susceptible to HIV and run a high risk in
  passing it on to their unborn child.
• PCP and LSD are hallucinogens. Both
  drugs can cause hallucinations that can
  cause the mother to cause harm to herself
  or her unborn child.
• PCP use during pregnancy can lead to low
  birth weight, poor muscle control, brain
  damage, and withdrawal syndrome if used
• Withdrawal symptoms include lethargy,
  alternating with tremors. LSD use can
  lead to birth defects.
• Methamphetamine causes the heart rate
  of the mother and baby to increase.
• Taking meth. during pregnancy can result
  in problems similar to those seen with
  cocaine. The baby will get less oxygen
  than normal.
• Meth. use increases the likelihood of
  premature labor, miscarriage, and
  placental abruption.
• Babies can be born small at birth and
  addicted to the substance suffering from
  withdrawal symptoms that include tremors,
  muscle spasms, sleeplessness, and
  difficulties feeding.
• Methamphetamine addicted infants can
  also have problems later in life including
  learning disabilities.
• One of the greatest risks for
  infants/children of meth. addicted parents
  is simply being under the supervision and
  control of their parents.
• In California, as meth. addiction increases,
  so does the number of children at risk for
  abuse due to neglect.
    Caretaker Substance Abuse
        and Child Neglect

2 yo boy found in
filthy home with
large quantity of
meth, parent under
the influence
   Caretaker Substance Abuse
     and Increased Risk for
• 10-month-old female
  rescued from a house
  fire in a trailer. Drugs
  and paraphanelia
  found in easy access.
• This infant and 5 yo
  sibling urine tox
Caretaker Substance Abuse and
 Increased Risk for Accidents
  • Singed hair
   Caretaker Substance Abuse
     and Increased Risk for
• Contact burns from
  falling debris
  Drug Use During Pregnancy and
             the Law
• South Carolina is the only state that holds
  prenatal substance abuse as a criminal act
  of child abuse and neglect.
• In 13 states prenatal substance exposure
  can provide grounds for terminating
  parental rights. (not California)
• A 2004 Texas made it a felony to smoke
  marijuana while pregnant resulting in a
  prison sentence of 2-20 years.
         Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
• FAS is the leading known cause of mental retardation.
• FAS/FAE produces irreversible physical and mental
• Microcephaly (small head circumference below 5%)
  Small palpebral fissures (eye slits)
  Flat nasal bridge
  Smooth or indistinct philtrum (ridge above upper lip)
  Thinned upper lip
  Flattening of mid-face
  Others: epicanthal folds, low set or mildly malformed
• ..\..\..\19 lb. baby.JPG
     The Competent Newborn
• Newborns are surprisingly competent!
• They are born with sensory equipment and
  reflexes that facilitate their interacting with
  adults and securing nourishment.
• When touched on its cheek, a baby opens
  its mouth and reaches for a nipple, this is
  called the rooting reflex.
• Newborns turn their heads in the direction
  of human voices and gaze longer into a
  human face than at a bulls-eye pattern
• Newborns prefer to look at objects 8-12
  inches away, the approximate distance
  between a nursing infant’s eyes and the
  mother’s eyes.
• Within days of birth, the newborn
  distinguishes its mother’s odor and voice.
• A simple form of learning called
  habituation enables researchers to assess
  what infants see and remember.
• Infants can discriminate colors, shapes,
  and sounds.
Prenatal Development
  and the Newborn
             Habituation
               decreasing
                with repeated
Prenatal Development and
      the Newborn
                habituated to
                the old
                gazing at a
                new one