In the womb – fetal programming

Fetal programming entails the effect of certain external factors that can greatly affect the growth and development of the fetus. There are various chemicals and other factors that can have a lifetime impact on the fetus. One of these is alcohol. If the mother consumes alcohol during her pregnancy, it can harm the fetus’ brain development. 

Smoking is another such factor that can seriously affect the growth of the fetus. The physical deformity is often caused in the fetus due to the intake of a drug called thalidomide during pregnancy. 

So, what exactly is fetal programming? It refers to the environment created within the womb that determines the development of the fetus. The mother’s diet and maternal stress are two crucial factors that lead to dangerous fetal programming, the effects of which often are seen later on in the child’s life. 

The limbs and hands of the fetus develop in the first few weeks of pregnancy, during which the mother must refrain from consuming any kind of drugs that might affect this growth. The brain, on the other hand, is constantly developing and the effect of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol can have negative effects on fetal development.

The rate of growth of the fetus within the womb matters as well,and it determines its health throughout its life. For example, fetuses that grow very slowly due to various reasons, tend to suffer immensely in their old age because their kidneys and pancreas are not strong enough. 

English physician and epidemiologist David Barker found out that babies born extremely small and light, tend to face many health problems like heart diseases and diabetes. While this is not true for all lightweight babies, it is still a risk. This issue can be taken care of with a proper diet for the fetus after its birth and you can always use the best baby food makers for this purpose. 


Other than what the mother eats and drinks, her stress levels also have a lasting impact on the fetus, especially its brain. The brain development of the fetus begins as early as the 10th week, and it is an ongoing process that can get affected at any stage.

It is, however, in the last few stages of pregnancy that the brain development is maximum and within the 20th week, the fetus develops almost 17 times. At this point, neurons begin to connect, and the brain becomes almost functional and ready to face the outside world. 

The secretion of high amounts of the stress hormone by the mother has proved to impact the fetus’ brain. This is, once again, not the case every time. However, a perfectly healthy baby can also fall sick in the outside world, and to deal with your baby’s suffering, you must keep baby thermometers home at all times.