Fetal development, also known as prenatal development, is the process by which a fertilized human egg grows into a fetus and is born as a viable human being. This process occurs in stages and can be delineated through each week of pregnancy. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on fetal development that follows your guidelines.
Following conception, embryogenesis begins, and lasts for the first ten weeks of fetal development. The fertilized embryo (zygote) spends several days traveling down the fallopian tube to the uterus, dividing and growing until it attaches itself to the uterine wall. Through the process of differentiation, the embryo rapidly grows and takes on its main external features.
At the tenth week of gestation, the developing organism is referred to as a fetus, and enters into fetal development. According to the American Pregnancy Organization, each of the major human organs has formed and continues to develop. A fetus' growth rate proceeds along a linear path between weeks 10 and 37, and fetuses are considered to be full-term by the end of the 39th week of gestational development.
What Can Affect Fetal Development
Fetal development can be affected by numerous outside factors, many of which have potentially negative side effects for human development. For example:
- prenatal drug exposure
- alcohol abuse
- Poor prenatal care, often the result of poverty, can lead to lower birth rates.