There has been a somewhat general tendency to consider birth as the introduction of the period in which environment may be assumed to be a factor influencing the growth and development of the human organism. Thus most of the vast amount of study on the physical and mental development of children has begun with birth, more or less completely neglecting the possible influence of environment during the period of intra-uterine development.
While there are many excellent anatomic studies of the development of the human fetus, little consideration has been given to its behavior or to environmental factors which might conceivably influence it. Many investigators have considered birth as the beginning of mental development and of consciousness. Yet we are all familiar with the fact that in cases of prematurity in which birth occurs at a fetal age of about 7 months learning and response to stimuli develop rapidly and are
SONTAG LW, WALLACE RF. PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE FELS FUND: STUDY OF FETAL ACTIVITY. Am J Dis Child. 1934;48(5):1050–1057. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1934.01960180104006
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