Difference between prenatal and postnatal development

Difference between prenatal and postnatal development

Hello folks, I hope you have heard multiple times the words like prenatal and postnatal but here I will give the detail about this in layman terms.

The meaning of word natal means the things connected with one’s birth. The word natal is used for things related to birth. For injuries during the birth time it’s called natal injuries. Hence the word natal is used frequently to relate with birth.

There are four phases during birth phase:

  1. Prenatal: Size at birth
  2. Early infancy: From birth to four months
  3. Late infancy: From four months to 1 year
  4. Late postnatal: From 1 year to 9 year

Prenatal Development

As per developmental psychologists the complete development of human includes physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development. The development of lifespan can be organized into different stages on basis of age. Prenatal development is heavily influenced by genetics and it is the process that occurs during the forty weeks prior to child birth.

Prenatal development can be segregated into three stages: germinal, embryonic and fetal. Prenatal development can also be organized in trimesters. The first trimester ends at the end of embryonic stage; the second trimester ends at week 20 whereas the third trimester ends at birth.

The genetic details are contained into chromosomes which are used in composition of each cells of a person. The genetic details decide many characteristics about an individual such as eye and hair color, personality traits and biological sex.

Gene Expression in living beings is painstakingly managed to permit the life forms to adapt to varying conditions. Genes can either be dominant or recessive, which means they can either be expressed or hidden.

Gene regulation is process on basis of which the cells can be differentiated: Some cells can develop into brain cells some into liver cells, or cells of intestine or maybe into reproduction organs.

Zygote (fertilized egg) begins to divide rapidly from conception to 2 weeks of implantation. This phase is called the germinal stage.

The embryonic stage occurs during the duration from implantation (2 weeks) until the 8th week of pregnancy. During this stage, rapid growth takes place and organ systems develop.

The final stage is the fetal stage which lasts from week 9 until child birth which usually occurs between week 38 and week 40. During this stage brain continues to grow and develop at a rapid speed.

Postnatal Development

Similar to the prenatal development, post natal development can also be segregated in three phases: infancy, childhood and puberty.

Each phase is regulated with different endocrine factors. Insulin like growth factors dominates the infancy component, whereas towards the end of first year of life the growth hormone becomes dominant.

Growth after that is predominantly modulated with the increased influence of growth hormone. It represents final common pathway for numerous factors which influence growth process.

The last and final phase of human growth, puberty is mediated through the interaction of growth hormone along with sex steroids, particularly estrogen. Estrogens particularly increases the transcription of growth hormone which leads to increased secretion of growth hormone, but it also limits growth by direct action on growth plate.

The intention of this post was to make the difference between the prenatal and postnatal development very clear and understandable in layman terms. I hope I have succeeded to some extent.

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