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The Endowment for Human Development
The Endowment for Human Development
Improving lifelong health one pregnancy at a time.
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Multilingual Illustrated DVD [Tutorial]

The Biology of Prenatal Development

Introducing the Multilingual Illustrated DVD
Explore the fascinating imagery and facts presented in The Biology of Prenatal Development at your own pace. Each clip from the program is accompanied by its corresponding written script. Select Play Movie to watch any clip. Select See Snapshots to view high resolution images. See the program script and subtitles in 88 languages by using the Choose Language drop-down menu and clicking Refresh. Subtitles are displayed in your chosen language and may be turned on and off by clicking the button found in the lower right corner of the movie player. A "full screen" option is also available by clicking the button.

National Geographic Society This program is distributed in the U.S. and Canada by National Geographic and EHD. [learn more]

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Chapter 1   Introduction

The dynamic process by which the single-cell human zygote becomes a 100-trillion-cell adult is perhaps the most remarkable phenomenon in all of nature.

Researchers now know that many of the routine functions performed by the adult body become established during pregnancy - often long before birth.

The developmental period before birth is increasingly understood as a time of preparation during which the developing human acquires the many structures, and practices the many skills, needed for survival after birth.

Chapter 2   Terminology

Pregnancy in humans normally lasts approximately 38 weeks as measured from the time of fertilization, or conception, until birth.

During the first 8 weeks following fertilization, the developing human is called an embryo, which means "growing within." This time, called the embryonic period, is characterized by the formation of most major body systems.

From the completion of 8 weeks until the end of pregnancy, "the developing human is called a fetus," which means "unborn offspring." During this time, called the fetal period, the body grows larger and its systems begin to function.

All embryonic and fetal ages in this program refer to the time since fertilization.

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