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Importance of Prenatal Care

Updated on March 10, 2020

Healthy development

Development as Influenced by lack of Prenatal Care

Developmental History Case Study

M’s mother was a drug user who lived on the streets. She had little access to medical care throughout her pregnancy. Upon delivery, M was placedinto state custody. His genetic makeup, environmental influences, and prenatal development will be analyzed in the form of a developmental case study. Throughout developmental history risks and complications present according to the section of developmental history. As a result, deficits evolve into medical diseases and specific disorders as development progresses. Developmentally associated disorders and diseases according to developmental level will be discussedto include the relationship between discoveries and the case study. Potential issues, resulting from prior development and environmental factors will be analyzed.

Developmental History

The greatest harm occurred to M before birth. His mother used drugs before the pregnancy and during the pregnancy. The drug use caused her to lose parental rights to the child, resulting in an excess of 10foster homes by the age of three. Frequent changes in rules, home environment, and families shaped M’s personality. M developed motor skills with rapid succession, walking at nine months and engaging in self-care to include preparing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by three. Despite the frequent home changes, he maintained good health and minimal illness, no major illnesses, orhospital stays recorded. Language patterns developed at a normal pace although he rarely used words to express his feelings. His feelings were expressedthrough anger, usually in the form of violence. M diagnosed before three with Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bipolar disorder, ADHD, and anxiety disorders to include but not obsessive compulsive disorder.

M’s main developmental risks include prenatal exposure to drugs, including opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, and lackof prenatal care. The changing environment posed additional risks to his development. Studies revealed opioids cause neurobehavioral deficits and infant neonatal abstinence syndrome, and prenatal exposure to cocaine affects functioning of language and cognition (Bandstra, Mansoor, & Accornero, 2010).

Evolution of Deficits

Several environmental and genetic issues exist in M’s early childhood, may develop into disorders or illnesses. M’s social development will be effectedbecause of the continuity of care in early childhood. Lack of bonding may later present as anxiety disorders, pediatric bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, antisocial personality disorder, reactive attachment disorder, depression, or a combination. His predisposition to drugs and alcohol may lead to chemical addiction. The independence developed as a result of inadequate supervision and neglect may appear as rebellion and lack of empathy toward others, particularly those of authority. The disrespect toward authority has the possibly of criminal behavior as he matures.

Consequences of Disorders

Bipolar and reactive attachment disorder leads children and youth to hospitals, substance abuse, psychosis, legal difficulties, suicidal behaviors, andless than average psychosocial functioning. The disorder prevents opportunity for normal psychosocial development. The early detection and diagnosis may prevent severe outcomes for M if he is providedadequate care and opportunity to learn techniques to react to occurrences as he matures (Axelson, 2006). Bipolar in children severity is worse than adult, six-year-oldchildren have attempted suicide.

Potential Issues

Reactive attachment disorder and pediatric bipolar disorder do not have a positive prognosis. Many disorders develop along with the previously mentioned disorders to include Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, conduct disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and Tourette ’s syndrome and seizure disorders. Although withintensive early intervention improvement may exist. Potentially if M does not receive adequate care from mental health professionals and his adoptive parents may result in prisons, institutions, or death at an early age. The combined diagnosis leads to suicide, homicide, and other criminal activity. If the child receives the assistance required for normal development and intensive therapy, he could overcome some of the potential issues. If he does not overcome or learn to deal with his disorders through medication, therapy, and interventions his life will not be as productive as a normally developing child with a traditional family. Commonly diagnosed children and youth refuse school, are suspended, act impulsively aggressive, injure themselves, attempt suicide with some success, and abuse substances (Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation, 2010).

Children with RAD display attempts at formation of early social attachment. They additionally demonstrate the disorder by impaired intimate and social relationships. Early intervention through therapeutic and systemicintervention may migate the effects of the experiences causing the onset of the disorder (Corbin, 2007).

Related Findings

As early as age three, M’s environment and lack of prenatal care displayed in the form of mental diagnosis resulting from both environmental and genetics. He was not allowed the opportunity to bond with a caregiver or parent during the early months of his life and may have witnessed violence. As a result, reactive attachment disorder andpediatric bipolar disorder developed. Although early in the diagnostic and treatment phase of the disorders, M began to show growth and progress. He will need to continue treatment and needed care as he matures.


Pregnancy resulting from useof chemicals does not produce the healthiest children. In M’s case, more than prenatal care affected his development. The rapidly changing foster homes and lack of ability to bond with a parental figure or caregiver presented as reactive attachment disorder. The child was neglectedboth physically and emotionally. The disorders present at a young age will develop and possibly worsen if he is not properly given treatment in the form of therapy and family bonding techniques. If he does not receive the two interventions the adolescent years will prove to be turbulent. Characterized by frequent school absences, suspensions, suicide attempts, and possible chemical dependence, the child’s self-esteem will suffer and he may drop out of school. Beyond school, without treatment, he could face a life behind bars.


Axelson, B. (2006, Fall). Course and outcome of bipolar spectrum disorder in children and adolescents: a review of the existing literature. Dev Psychopathol.

Bandstra, E., Mansoor, E., & Accornero, V. (2010). Prenatal drug exposure: Infant and toddler outcomes. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 29(2), 245-258. doi:10.1080/10550881003684871

Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. (2010). About Childhood Bipolar. Retrieved from

Corbin, J. (2007). Reactive Attachment Disorder: A Biopsychosocial. Child Adolescent Social Work Journal, 539-552, DOI 10.1007/s10560-007-0105-x.

Xin, F., Shaw, D., & Silk, J. (2008). Developmental Trajectories of Anxiety Symptoms Among

Boys Across Early and Middle Childhood. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117(1), 32-47. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.117.1.32.


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