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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo. Initally designed to evaluate the internet as a teaching tool for first year medical students, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than one million visitors each month.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts | News Archive June 3, 2013

 
Given that low birth weight occurs in 15 per cent of live births worldwide, the study has implications for maternal health and clinical screening processes.





WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

Kidney growth in the womb affects health decades later

Accumulated evidence links low birth weight and prematurity—risk factors for high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease later in life— with low numbers of nephrons—the kidney's filtration units.

In a paper published in The Lancet an international team including Monash University's Professor John Bertram and the University of Queensland's Professor Wendy Hoy, reviewed existing, peer-reviewed research on kidney health and developmental programming—the effects of the in utero environment on adult health.

In Australia, around 30 per cent of the adult population has high blood pressure and one in nine have at least one clinical symptom of chronic kidney disease. The incidence of both diseases is significantly higher in Indigenous populations.

Professor Bertram, Head of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, has been researching nephrons for two decades."The kidney is particularly sensitive to life before birth because we stop making nephrons at 36 weeks gestation. So, for a baby born at term, the process of nephron formation is finished and it cannot be restarted," says Professor Bertram.


Humans are born with an average of one million nephrons and lose up to 6000 each year. However, Professor Bertram's research has shown there is a huge variance in nephron number - from just over 200,000 to around two million. Further, nephron number is positively related to birth weight - a low birth weight equates to low nephron number and larger babies have a higher nephron number.

Given that low birth weight occurs in 15 per cent of live births worldwide, the study has implications for maternal health and clinical screening processes.


Professor Bertram: "In terms of maternal health during pregnancy, things like a high fat diet, alcohol consumption, various antibiotics and stress hormones have been shown to have a negative impact on foetal kidney development, although more research needs to be done."

"Further, given the strong associations between birth weight, nephron number and disease later in life, and the fact that a baby's weight is routinely recorded in many countries, we suggest that birth weight should be a parameter that clinicians use to determine how often a patients screened for kidney function or given a blood pressure test.

"Although a newborn may appear perfect, if their birth weight is low, there may be consequences 40 years down the line. We could be proactive about detecting these diseases in the early stages."

Original article: http://monash.edu.au/news/releases/show/good-kidney-health-begins-before-birth