Zoom The Nine Months That Made You: Pregnancy and Human Development

The Nine Months That Made You: Pregnancy and Human Development

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Who and what we become depends on many factors, from the food we eat to the way our parents discipline us. Increasingly, however, it seems that our most important developmental influences begin before birth, in the mysterious world of the womb. This program follows research suggesting that a child’s disease risks, behavioral traits, and other characteristics derive from gestational causes. Featuring pioneering researcher Dr. David Barker, who decades ago identified a link between low birth weight and heart disease, the film also draws on the expertise of developmental psychologist Dr. Janet DiPietro, autism researcher Dr. Michael Lombardo, and several other authorities. Specific topics include hormonal factors, early brain development, a mother’s diet during pregnancy, and that most crucial of all prenatal resources, the placenta. A BBC Production. (52 minutes)

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To Unravel Destiny (01:51)
Science has embarked on a new journey--a journey through the 9 months before birth. That time might hold secrets about what makes people healthy and happy.

Birth Rate and Future Health (03:50)

Professor David Barker theorizes that from the moment a child is born it is possible to make predictions about that person's life. He uses the birth records of the county of Hertfordshire as the foundation of his study.

Barker Theory (02:55)

In the Western world, type 2 diabetes is seen as a lifestyle disease. In an Indian village, people eat fresh vegetables and fruit, walk miles per day, and stay at healthy weights. Why do these people suffer from type 2 diabetes?

Link: Low Birth Wright and Adult Diabetes (04:09)

An Indian medical team tests the Barker's theory of low birth weight and type 2 diabetes to find an early indicator of adult diabetes. They gather data from 200 children from birth to adulthood. A low birth weight seems to be linked to low insulin resistance.

Personality Predictors (04:17)

Dr. Janet DiPietro tests the reactions of unborn babies. At age 5 these children undergo experiements that test their reactions to unfamiliar situations.

Core Personality Traits (02:36)

The core of personality is reactivity and recovery regulation. When do core personality traits begin to develop? Studies with fetuses indicate a wide range of responses to the same stimuli. One month before birth, babies show distinctive responses to stimuli.

Famine Effects on the Unborn (04:00)

In 1944, Holland was at its breaking point from a country-wide famine and Nazi torment. A biologist studies whether the experiences in the womb are as influential as genetics. She tracks down people born during the famine and links adult diseases with that trauma.

Early Womb Experiences: Critical to Development (01:51)

Research shows that famine's effects in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy were an increased susceptibility to disease. Nutrition plays a critical role during this time.

Thin, Fat Babies (02:38)

Adults who had low birth weights show symptoms of disease normally associated with obesity and over-weight. Research shows that low birth-weight babies in India carry the same amount of fat as much heavier babies.

Nutrition: Quality vs. Quantity (01:57)

Research shows that the quantity of food transferred to a fetus is not the determining factor of a baby's constitution; it is getting the proper amount of minerals and vitamins that is most influential.

Hormones in the Unborn (02:53)

Many studies show that levels of testosterone in a fetus influence the growth of the brain. The more testosterone in the fetus, the more male-typical behavior shows up in a child.

Testosterone and Skills (02:31)

Testosterone is linked to other skills in children including reading a map and reading emotions. Physical differences in the brain have been directly linked with testosterone levels in the womb.

Rewriting Destiny (01:32)

Dr. David Barker looks for places where human experience creates a natural experiment. Barker works with Saudi scientists to find the people who match the records he has found.

Human Placenta (02:39)

Most scientists agree that life began in the seas. The human placenta develops in the same 9 months as the baby. It is the link between mother and baby. The placenta and the baby have the same DNA.

Saudi Arabia: Small Placentas (03:39)

Birth records in Saudi Arabia reveal that placentas are smaller than those in the West. Babies born in Saudi Arabia, however, are the same size as Western babies.

To Honor the Placenta (02:08)

Saudis respect and honor the placenta. They know that the placenta must die in order to bring a new life to Earth. The placenta is buried in the graveyard. Science seeks to understand why some placentas seem to work better than others.

Diabetes Epidemic in India (02:08)

Epidemiologist Caroline Fall leads a study with the potential to fix the diabetes epidemic in Mumbai.

Longitudinal Study of Nutrition and Human Development (02:05)

Ideal food required for a fetus's development is distributed to women in the slums before they become pregnant. Data is gathered from the beginning of pregnancy to birth and into children's childhoods.

Proper Nutrition in the Womb (01:37)

Dr. David Barker's ideas have transformed the way we think about our time in the womb. Barker notes that proper nutrition in the womb will prevent a host of adult diseases and prolong life.

Credits: The Nine Months That Made You: Pregnancy and Human Development (00:42)

Credits: The Nine Months That Made You: Pregnancy and Human Development

Length: 53 minutes

Copyright Date: 2011

The Nine Months That Made You: Pregnancy and Human Development



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