Before birth


Welcome to the section on prenatal development - development before birth.

The scientific study of development before birth is called embryology.

We shall begin by looking at the stages and timing of normal prenatal development - descriptive embryology.

Next will be a discussion of our current understanding of the processes by which embryos develop, for example the genetic and other cellular activities guiding development - contemporary embryology.

This will be followed by a review of the development of the main body systems, with an introduction to some of the defects that can arise.

Finally, the genetic and environmental factors that predispose towards the development of birth defects will be considered.

1 descriptive embryology

2 contemporary embryology

3 developing body systems

4 birth defects

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