In the beginning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The explosive rate of growth and development that occurs during the period before birth is unparalleled at any other point in the lifespan. In just 266 days, a single fertilized cell develops into a sentient human newborn infant. While information regarding the structure of the developing embryo and fetus has long been available, knowledge concerning prenatal development of function is more recent. The advent of real-time ultrasound and improvements in electronic fetal heart rate monitoring technology in the early 1980s were followed by a wave of research on fetal neuro-behavioral development. A renewed surge of interest in the prenatal period as the foundation for later life has recently been fostered by enormous attention devoted to fetal programming in relation to later health and well-being. The concept of fetal programming has been applied broadly to represent discoveries of prenatal influences on postnatal conditions, typically with adult onset [1-4]. This avenue of research considers the role of maternal and fetal factors on subsequent organ function, including the brain and nervous system, using an epidemiologic framework to study related morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaternal Influences on Fetal Neurodevelopment
Subtitle of host publicationClinical and Research Aspects
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781603279208
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Fetal heart rate
  • Fetal movement
  • Fetal neurobehavior
  • Fetal programming
  • Prenatal development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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