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THE BEGINNING

Prenatal development is the period in development from conception to the onset of
labor. Perinatal period is the period beginning about the seventh month of pregnancy
and continuing until about four weeks after birth. Postnatal development is the period
in development the follows directly after birth. The germinal stage is the stage lasting
about ten -fourteen days following conception before the fertilized egg becomes
implanted in the uterine wall. The embryonic stage is the stage in which major
biological organs and systems form. The fetal stage is the stage in which is marked by
rapid growth and preparation of body systems for functioning in the postnatal
environment. Viability is the ability of the baby to survive outside the mother’s womb.
The gestational age is the age of the fetus derived from onset of mother’s last
menstrual period. The number of older mothers is on the rise in the U.S. as women
postpone pregnancy to establish careers or for other reasons. Healthy women older
than thirty-five routinely deliver healthy infants just as other between the ages of
twenty and thirty-five do. Teenagers, however, may be at a greater risk for delivering
less healthy babies. Lack of prenatal care is a big reason. Diets, while pregnant, must
be sufficient not only in number of calories but also with respect to the right amount of
proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients. Stress also plays a big role in delivering a
Cultural beliefs about potentially harmful consequences of frightening or stressful
events on fetal development are pervasive, and many societies encourage a calm
atmosphere for pregnant women. The social support a pregnant woman receives from
family and friends is an important factor that can lessen the consequences of stress
Another reason is the complicated nutritional needs of teenagers. Teenage mothers
give birth to as many as 500,000 babies in

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