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Prenatal is what happens from formation to birth. There are three main stages in the process
in prenatal development:

Germinal stage- first two weeks after conception.

Embryonic period- third week through the eighth weeks of conception.

Fetal period- ninth week until birth.

Within the prenatal period of development there is rapid growth. It is in the germinal stage, the
male sperm travels and unites with the female egg, and the union becomes a zygote. The zygote
travels and makes its way to the uterus and there the embryo begins to grow. In child
development a typical child should reach certain milestones during the prenatal development in
physical, language, and cognitive development.
Physical Development
In the embryo period, which is the first eight weeks of development the embryo is about
1 inch and weight about 1/7 ounce. Berk (2013) reveals many body parts have form and begin to
develop such as, ears, brain, eyes, nose, arms, legs, and internal organs- are more distinct. The
embryo responds to touch, but is still too tiny to be felt by the mother (p. 91).

Six week embryo

In the fetus period of development, this begins the ninth week until birth. Berk say at this
point in development the fetus can kick, bend its arms, forms a fist, curls its toes, turns its head,
open its mouth, and even suck its thumb, stretch, and yawn (p. 92). As infants grow they
continue to develop their fine and motor skills using the hands, fingers, arms, and legs.

Language Development
Language is the way humans and other beings communicate with each other. Piper
(2012) say, Language is the principal means by which humans communicate (Sec. 1.1). There
are different methods humans can communicate with each other it can be verbal, written, signal,
or through behavior.
It is important parents communicate with their baby in the womb; this is how they adjust
to your sounds and language. According to Berks (2013), At birth, infants are prepared for some
aspect of conversational behavior. Newborns initiate interaction through eye contact and
terminate it by looking away (p. 370). Fetus communicates within the mothers womb in their
own unique way. After birth a baby communicate through its smile, cry, laughter, and sounds.

Cell Press (2009) exposes, From the very first days, newborns cries already bear the
mark of language their parents speak. Infants begin picking up elements of what will be their
first language in the womb, long before they can babble or coo (Summary, para.1). For infants
crying, babbling, and cooing is part of their typical development in language. Babies
communicate through their cries, as they signal to be feed, comforter, or diaper changed.

Cognitive Development
Cognitive development includes all the mental processes that a person uses to obtain
knowledge through thinking, reasoning, and learning. According to Berk, Core knowledge
perspective, infants begin life with innate, special-purpose knowledge system referred to as core
domain of thought. Each of these prewired understanding permits a ready grasp of new, related
information and therefore supports early, rapid development of certain aspects of cognition (p.
261). As the fetus continues to grow, so does their cognitive abilities. Kowalcek and Gembruch
(2008) say, Cognition incorporates reception, representation, memorization, assessment and
assimilation of new occurrences of features during the course of pregnancy (p. 23).
Social-emotional Development
Berks (2013) say, Infants have only a limited capacity to regulate their emotional states
(p. 410). In this stage of development the infant should be according to Berk (2013):

Social smile emerges

Regulate emotion by approaching and retreating from stimulation

Detects emotions by matching the caregivers feeling tone in face-to-face communication

(p. 419).

Atypical Development

As the fetus continues to grow, there are a number of things that could go wrong. Berk
says, A wealth of research indicates that premature babies are at risk for many problems. Birth
weight, is the best available predictor of infant survival and healthy development (p. 113).
When the fetus does not grow as normal, this could be a sign that there is a problem with the
development of the child. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Signs that
could signal language development for atypical infant is if the infant do not babble by the ninth
month, play peek-a-boo. Sit alone without support by the ninth month (CDC, 2014).
Social Factor
One social factor that can influence an infant social development is caregivers initiating
face-to-face stimulation (Berk, 2013, p.410). Playing and interacting with children can help
their social development as they get older.
Cultural Factor
Cultural factors can influence a child in different ways. Berk say, Cultural differences in
newborn behavior and how child-rearing practices can maintain or change a babys reactions:

mothers in some cultures can calm their baby disposition through swaddling, close physical
contact, and nursing at the first signs of discomfort (p. 139).

Family Influence
During the prenatal and infancy period of development, families can provide a safe and
nurturing environment for their young baby. Talk with the baby to promote and stimulate
language development. Play and work with the baby to encourage cognitive and physical
development. Most important give the baby lots of love, so they can grow and develop in all the
developmental domains. Here is a great video on the impact of face-to-face interaction on
development in infancy:

Berk, L. E. (2013). Child development. (9th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Cell Press. (2009, November 5). Babies' Language Learning Starts From The Womb. Retrieved
from ScienceDaily. :
Kowalcek, I. &. (2008). Pregnant women's cognitive concept concerning their unborn prior to
prenatal diagnosis. Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy, 24(1), 22-8. Retrieved from
Learn the Signs. Act Early. (2014, March 27). Retrieved from Center for Disease Control and
Piper, T. (2012). Making meaning, making sense: Childrens early language learning. San
Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.
Shonkoff, J. P. (2009, October 1). The Science of Early Childhood Development. Retrieved from
Center on the Developing Child Harvard University: