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Prenatal Development Milestones Factsheet

Pregnancy to Birth

1. In the embryonic stage of a childs physical development their circulatory, respiratory,

nervous, reproductive, and digestive system appear, as well as their extremities and facial

features (Berk, 2012). In the fetal stage, a child should be kicking, sucking their thumb,

and its sex should be distinguishable. Also, the heartbeat is

audible by the 4th month of pregnancy and the lungs are mature

by the end of the third trimester. Additionally, in the third

trimester, the fetus has stronger reflexes and responds to touch

and light. These milestones are critical for delivering a healthy

baby who is ready take its first breaths, suckle, digest mothers

milk, and continue its growth and development outside of the


Prenatal Development,
womb. WikiWand.com

2. Prenatal language developmental milestones include thumb sucking and yawning. This

behavior helps develop and control facial muscles used later for crying and babbling.

The fetus listens to noises and speech particularly that of moms voice which conditions

him or her to language patterns, tones, and sequences. Research to date examining the

neonate brain response to language versus non-language has shown that brain responses

to familiar language are both stronger and more specialized when compared to the

response to non-language (Dehaene-Lambertz et al., 2002, 2010; Pena et al., 2003, as

cited by May et al., 2011, p. 1). Once the child is born, he or she is already familiar with

sounds from the parents native language.


3. In the first trimester, cognitive development includes the beginning formation of a brain

and neurons (Berk, 2012). In the second trimester, the fetus reacts to sound, their

multitude of neurons is in place, and they respond to light (2012). Research shows that

the fetus listens through the womb and reacts more strongly to familiar language than to

unfamiliar language (May et al., 2011). By the third trimester, brain development is rapid

and the fetus spends less time sleeping. Additionally, there may be a distinguishable

personality or personalities if the mom is carrying more than one child.

4. An important sign of atypical development is lack of physical growth, movement, or

premature labor. Irregular growth may be due to drugs or chemical exposure, smoking,

environmental exposure to chemicals, orx nutritional deficiencies. Lack of self-initiated

movement or lack of response to outside stimulus may be indications of irregular muscle,

limb, or brain development. Finally, premature labor may be a sign of irregular

development, as it could indicate a deformity or disease, which could trigger premature

labor and delivery.

5. Ways to influence learning during this stage of development include getting proper

nutrition through the mother and reading, singing, and

talking to the developing child while it is in the womb

(Berk, 2012). Nutrition is especially key to a childs

brain and bone development. Particularly, dietary iron

is recommended for expectant mothers in order to


Baby in Womb, Prematurebaby.info
ensure proper brain development in the fetus (Berk,
2012). Additionally, mothers voice and other sounds outside of the womb, introduce

and condition the fetus to recognize what will soon be their native language and can help

the newborn child make important neural connections after birth.