The term prenatal development is the process in the uterus where the fetus or embryo starts to develop during pregnancy from the time of conception or fertilization until birth and it is typically divided in three period: The pre-embryonic, embryonic and fetal. (Kuther: 2001). From the moment of fertilization that the egg is being fertilized until it reaches the time of birth, visible changes in the structure of the mother’s body. As the sperm and egg unite these two genetic material contributes to form a new genetically different individual. In this situation, the mother is giving her best to have a safe environment for protecting the fetus and at the same time giving nourishment for its survival. Giving birth is not an easy task for an expectant mother; most of them experienced a painful labour and they exert a lot of effort just to be able to deliver the baby. In this phase of life, an expectant mother should have better preparation in order to avoid some complications physically, emotionally and financially.
Prenatal Development and Birth
Pregnancy takes place when an egg is fertilized by the sperm and this process is called fertilization. Fertilization happens in the outer third of one of the fallopian tubes, during sexual intercourse when the sperm is able to meet and unite with the egg and form a single cell. During the two days of fertilization the egg starts to move towards the uterus, and this journey is impelled by the muscular action of the fallopian tube. When the egg takes action to move, the cells starts to divide to form a cluster of cells and it is called morula. The morula will reached the uterus after five to seven days and it will enclose firmly in the uterine lining. And pregnancy is properly established, and morula is known as embryo.
Inside the uterus, the fetus is surrounded by the amniotic sac filled with fluid to protect the fetus. Nourishing the fetus is provided through the placenta, an organ attached to the wall of the uterus and connected to the fetus by the umbilical cord. (Smith 2002: 779). The uterus increases its size and weight and gradually expands into the mother’s abdomen as the fetus grows. The mother might experience some body image disturbances and visible changes in her organs such as in the bladder area. The intestines are pushed out of their normal position because the uterus is enlarged. As the pregnancy ends, the fetus is tightly curled with its head and pointing downward towards the pelvis of the mother.
In order to have better understanding of the topic to be discussed, the following terms are defined, thus:
Placenta-is to give oxygen and nourishment to the fetus via the placenta and umbilical cord. Umbilical Cord- it allows the nutrients and waste products in the blood to travel. Uterus- a muscular and expandable and it increases in size and weight during prenatal development. Amniotic Sac- serve as the protection of the fetus against injury. Amniotic fluid- serves also as a protection against injury, allows movement and stabilizes temperature. Cervix- it widens to let the baby through. Mucus plug- a plug of thick mucus sits in the cervix entrance and protects against infection. Vagina- the walls become soft and relax for the preparation of baby’s birth.
There are three stages or trimesters in pregnancy. It takes about three months per trimester. Each trimester takes a significant change in the mother’s body and a continuous development and growth of the baby. The first eight weeks of pregnancy is termed as embryo or embryonic stage. After eight weeks, the fetus is formed.
First trimester is considered as the crucial stage of baby’s development because, after eight weeks upon fertilization, the embryo starts to develop most of its organs. When the fetus is in its twentieth day its length is 3mm long and starts to develop a cardiac bulge where in this region the heart can be found and also the...