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When Does Life Begin?

crying babyThe anticipated joy of a couple becomes complete at the sound of the cry of their new born after about 9 months of pregnancy and several hours of labor. The birth cry has been known to signify life and is looked out for by the medical professionals at the point of delivery. However, it should interest you that life does not begin at birth but at the moment the man’s sperm fuses with the woman’s ovum (This is called fertilization in biological terms or conception). A child’s life begins at this time. According to a renowned developmental psychologist, Professor Agiobu-Kemmer, the womb is the primary environment where an unborn child develops. It cannot be seen with unaided eyes but advancement in technology has made it possible to know what happens in there.

What evidence exists regarding life at conception? What makes one know that a child starts developing from the womb? Why must environmental factors both in the womb and outside be considered for optimal development?

sucking babyThe developing “child” or “fetus” in the womb hears, feels, sees, and moves even before birth. At approximately two weeks after conception, a lot of development occurs in the womb of a mother. At this stage, nutrition and environmental factors as well as genetics play a role. The body organs and parts begin to develop and take shape. At 12 weeks (3months), the fetus can smile, frown, suck and swallow. This same period coincides with when the fetus can urinate, move arms, legs, fingers and toes. Sucking the thumb usually is not learnt after birth, rather at about 20 weeks after conception, fetuses have been reported to have begun this behavior. At 25 weeks, they begin to hear and at 32 weeks they begin to respond to sounds particularly their mothers’ voices. A very recent study by Lahav (2015), an assistant professor of pediatrics, indicated that neural connection grew at sound centers of the brain of premature babies in incubators who heard recordings of their mother’s voice rather than the regular noise of intensive care units. This research shows how important it is for a mother to speak to her child while in the womb.  Another recent story was published in the news by Mail Online; A newborn baby who refused to be pacified kept on crying until he heard his father’s voice and was held by him. This provides evidence that bonding begins in the womb and both parents play a role.

It is really amazing the delicacy of the life that exist in the womb. How all the organs develop is still a continuous source of inquiry for scientists and researchers. Nutrition, emotional attachment, genetics and the  physical environment during pregnancy play a role in determining a child’s life outside the womb.  Thus, it is important to note that all these factors determine a child’s physical, intellectual and socio-emotional development

“Everything a mother does and is, is shared with her unborn child”.

Development

Every child deserves the best and remember that what a mother does or does not do during pregnancy will affect the child’s development in later years.

For more interesting updates on #child development, kindly follow @DrMorayoJimoh.

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Keep your child mentally active!

In this brain awareness week, it is important to realize that there is a dire need to encourage the appropriate development of children mentally. Keeping your child mentally active is one of the best things you could do for that child. This is vital as the brain of a child is more ‘plastic’ than that of adults and hence more prone to change. The learning of new helpful habits and exercises would boost your childs mental abilities and ultimately benefit your child in the future. Below are different ways to keep your child mentally active!

1. Encourage them learn to play instruments:   Playing an instrument as a child, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association (APA), keeps the mind sharper as the child grows. As enjoyable as it may be, it is a challenging cognitive exercise which would keep your child mentally active!

2. Encourage them to read wide: kid reading bookBesides doing their homework or reading books their school requires them too, encourage them also to read other books they’d enjoy. Pick different but interesting knowledgeable topics such as animals, planets and even fantasy so they have broad knowledge. This way reading does not become a chore but a hobby. Find time to read with your children in order to bond with them and make reading a fun experience that would keep your child mentally active!

3. Encourage them to solve picture puzzles: pat1-624x395Picture puzzles are a great way of tasking a child mind. Picture puzzles have been found to exercise both parts of the brain. The logic and sequence of the left-brain and the creativeness and intuity of the right brain are utilized when solving picture puzzles. Use colourful picture puzzles and different ones as well so your child does not get bored by solving the same puzzle again and again. New picture puzzles would bring new challenges that would keep your child mentally active!

4. Encourage brain training games:OfferButton1-sm Brain training games are different from other video games as they are developed to target and develop specific areas of your child’s brain. The aim is to improve the overall mental ability of your child step by step using fun games. Brain training games such as Brainware Safari use proven clinical approaches to cognitive skills development into an engaging video game format that children enjoy. This is a very good way to keep your child mentally active!

5. Encourage outdoor games and physical activities: Kids-Playing-OutsideFresh air and enough space to run around and play are also vital for your childs mental development. Physical activities with other children helps your child develop social skills such as co-operation and empathy towards others. Good social skills and a good social life would help keep your child mentally active!

6. Encourage reduced television time:Kid-watching-TV Too much television is unhealthy for a child mentally. This is the stage were their imaginations are to go wild and free, but television restricts that. Encourage other enjoyable activities and allow your child watch television on a few occasions in order to keep your child mentally active!

Start today! Encourage and challenge your child daily. This will boost confidence, increase resilience and KEEP YOUR CHILD MENTALLY ACTIVE!wavebreak-media_smart-kid-blackboard-300x300