Discussion Response Unit2Lifespan

Discussion Response Unit 2 Lifespan

Response Guidelines

Your responses to other learners are expected to be substantive in nature and to reference the assigned readings, as well as other theoretical, empirical, or professional literature to support your views and writings. Use the following critique guidelines:

  • The clarity and completeness of your peer’s post.
  • The demonstrated ability to apply theory to practice.
  • The credibility of the references.
  • The structure and style of the written post.

Peer discussion 1

During pregnancy and throughout one’s lifespan eating a well-balanced diet is expected for good health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that food provides the body with the minerals, protein, vitamins, essential fats, and energy to be able to live, grow and function properly. According to Broderick & Blewitt (2014) “when food sources are short on protein or essential vitamins and minerals during prenatal and early postnatal development, an infant’s physical, socioemotional, and intellectual development can be compromised, and epigenetic alterations seem to be at the root of these developmental problems.” (p. 55). Many of the effects of prenatal malnutrition are permanent, though some degree of improvement may be produced by exposure to stimulating and enriched environments.

Therefore, studies has confirmed that poor nutrition has the potential to damage fetal organs particularly the brain that can cause developmental issues far after birth.  Morgane P, et al, (1993) “Prenatal protein malnutrition adversely affects the developing brain in numerous ways, depending largely on its timing in relation to various developmental events in the brain and, to a lesser extent, on the type and severity of the deprivation.” For example, being a mother of three I have read that during the third trimester of pregnancy the brain is developing rapidly and begins to function a full capacity after delivery. Also, the brain gradually matures in the first few years of life with the help of environmental influences.

The benefits of proper nutrition during pregnancy helps in insuring fetal cell growth, tissue and DNA development. Having said that, there is an increase of children being diagnose with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Although there is no known cause for ASD, but both genetics and environment are believed to play a role. What is known is that ASD is a complex developmental and neurological condition that typically appears during the first three years of life. It affects brain function, particularly in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. My colleagues and I have discussed on several occasions students in our classroom that have been misdiagnose and clearly show signs of ASD. Looking at the demographics of the area where I teach many of the parents of these students are can’t afford adequate health care because of minimum wage jobs. Therefore, in those instances expected mothers would rather feed their families and then receive the much needed prenatal care. So, as educators, we sum the conclusion up to lack of prenatal attention. On a positive note, today there’s evidence showing how nutrition can play a significant role in managing various symptoms that prevent ASD patients from living productively.


Broderick, P. C., Blewitt, P. (01/2014). Life Span, The: Human Development for Helping Professionals, 4th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com

Morgame PJ., Austin R., Bronzino J., Diaz-Cintra S., Cintra L., Kemper T., Galler JR. Parental malnutrition and development of the brain. Neuroscience Bio-Behavioral, Rev. 1993.Spring; 17(1): 91-128.

Peer Discussion 2

Teratogens are environmental factors that can affect the genes in the developing fetus.  According to Broderick and Blewitt (2014) “The first principale is that the kind o damage done is related to the stage of development  during which the mother is exposed to the teratogen.”  Substances such as smoking during the pregnancy can cause low birth weight, breathing problems, and prematurity (Broderick and Blewitt; 2014).  Cognitive functioning can be damaged is the mother consumes alcohol, uses cocaine or even smokes small amounts of marijuana during the time that the fetus is developing.   Along with the greater chance of lowering cognitive ability, deformities can occur, such as face and teeth structure, diminutive height, and deformities of the internal organs.

Nutrition during pregnancy as well as the first twelve months after birth are important in maintaining normal growth while in the womb and in the first year of life. Per Li et. al.  (2016) ” Malnutrition alters intelligence by interfering with the child’s energy level, rate of motor development, and overall health.”  Not eating correctly while pregnant can affect the cognition in the developing fetus by not transferring enough nutrients through the umbilical cord.  This can also interfere with neurological abilities.  When their is sufficient nutrition both prenatal and after birth the risk of malnutrition, cognitive function and deformaties is lessoned.  This does not guarantee that the fetus or newborn will be free of complications, which can be related to epigentics, but it does minimize the risk.

Per Broderick and Blewitt (2014) “The hippocampus, are critical for learning and memory formation.” During stressful situations while in utero as well as neglect, including little to no physical or linguistics contact with caregivers, can cause creation of new neurons to form or current neurons to shrink.  This can lead to weakened cognitive responses. The damage can be irriversable.


Broderick, P. C., Blewitt, P. (01/2014). Life Span, The: Human Development for Helping Professionals, 4th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781269907422/

Li, C., Zhu, N., Zeng, L., Dang, S., Zhou, J., & Yan, H. (2016). Effect of prenatal and postnatal malnutrition on intellectual functioning in early school-aged children in rural western China. Medicine, 95(31), e4161.


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