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Biosocial, Cultural, and Environmental Influence on Prenatal Development

When reflecting on a spectrum of developmental characteristics, the multicultural aspect is one that encompasses both intrinsic and extrinsic attributes (Berger, 2018). With focus applied to intrinsic characteristics of "values, behaviors, and attitudes" (Berger), the potential impact on prenatal development is of great magnitude. According to Saey (2008), factors including the age of both parents upon conception and substance abuse status can significantly increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, infant death, and numerous mental health challenges. Personal experiences with families affected by negativities listed above have led to the belief that culture plays a large role decisions that influence prenatal-to-birth outcomes. In accordance with previous text, specific cultural components such as economic status will also leave a footprint in the conception-to-birth developmental sand (Smidt, 2006). Nagahawatte and Goldenburg (2008), state that poverty-stricken families are less likely to utilize prenatal health care and nutrition resources. This also aligns with the consistent personal interactions of families in need.

A key component in prenatal-to-birth development is the parent relationship with those close to them. Family members, confidants, co-workers. supervisors and respected members of the community may alter parental decisions (Berger, 2018). Accompanied by contributions made by the environment, a focus on multi-contextual development is highlighted in Bronfenbrenner's ecological-systems approach (Berger, 2018).


Berger, K. S. (2018). The developing person through childhood. (8th edition). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Nagahawatte, N., Goldenburg, R. (2008). Poverty, Maternal Health and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1136(1), 80-85.doi:10.1196/annals.1425.016

Saey, T. H. (2008). Dad's hidden influence. Science News, 173(13), 200-201.

Smidt, S. (2006). The developing child in the 21st century: A global perspective on child development. New York, NY: Routledge.

An application of personal experience....

There was a boy in our 48-to-60month pod that exhibited what could have been interpreted as characteristics that were influenced by both systems mentioned in the previous post. The reason this case is highlighted in the brain must be due to his uncanny ability to imitate both models with such accuracy, it influenced our behavior modification strategies when completing multi-disciplinary team meetings. Our little learner "JR" is from a microsystem (Berger, (2018), that includes diagnosed mental illness in both parents and a sibling. He was born addicted and his mother very openly expressed her discontent with her children causing a lapse in her ability to medicate. Due to the mother's unique approach to communication with "JR", he would often repeat phrases from home involving medicine and his lack of ability to help his mother. "You stole my medicine. I make Mommy sick" and other self-deprecating phrases were common upon arrival.

To give a positive spin to his exostemic experience, we aligned story re-enactment with his emotional areas of need. Social/Emotional themed books such a When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry, by Molly Bang (1999), were infused with dramatic play. We encouraged him to engage in appropriate dialog with peers and encourage their attendance in dramatic play. Within this, he discovered an ability to become aware of anger, frustration and how to express them appropriately. His classroom success rate increased from around 12% to almost 30%. His parents reported less tantrums at home, as we guided them with home-to-school language.

Small gains are huge wins in this world.

Bang, M. (1999). When Sophie gets angry, really, really angry...

Berger, K. S. (2018). The developing person through childhood. (8th edition), New York, NY. Worth Publishing.

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