Prenatal influences refer to the various factors that affect the fetus inside the mother. There are a number of external factors that can harm an unborn child. Since many of these dangers can be averted, the prospective parents must be made aware of these influences. Some of the most important prenatal influences are as follows:

Maternal malnutrition:

For her own good health and to deliver a healthy baby, the mother should have an adequate diet. In a study conducted at the University of Toronto, the investigators found that “Good-diet” mothers were in better health condition throughout their pregnancy. Complications such as anemia, toxemia, abortions, premature and still births were much more present in “poor-diet” group. Compared to the infants born to “poor-diet” mothers, the babies of “good-diet” mothers had better health records during the first weeks of the post-natal life.


Drugs like alcohol, nicotine and caffeine when taken, mix with the blood stream of the mother and are passed to the fetus which accelerates the fetal heart rate. Common drugs like antibiotics, tranquilizers and anticonvulsants can also seriously affect the unborn child and cause abnormality. Toxins from these are passed on to the fetus and this affects the supply of oxygen to the fetus.


Human beings can be grouped into two kinds depending upon whether they have Rh-antigen in the blood or not. A large proportion of people have Rh- antigen in their blood. Out of those who have Rh- antigen in their blood, some are Rh-positive and some are Rh-negative. If an Rh-positive man marries a Rh-negative woman, the result will be a positive fetus. The Rh-positive fetus produces certain substances called antigens which enter into the mother’s circulation and some toxic substances are manufactured in her blood and passed back into the circulatory system of the fetus. This may bring about a miscarriage, still- birth or death; shortly after birth from the destruction of red blood corpuscles. Also the incompatibility between the maternal and paternal blood types have been found to cause miscarriages, spontaneous abortions, still births and low intelligence in the baby.

Infectious diseases of the mother:

Diseases like syphilis, gonorrhea, poliomyelitis and German measles in the early period of pregnancy may cause still births, miscarriage, blindness, deafness, mental deficiency, motor disorders or deafmutism in the new born baby.

Wasting diseases in the mother:

Diseases like tuberculosis and diabetes may cause still-births and neonatal deaths.

Age of the mother:

There is some evidence to prove that infant mortality rates are higher if the mothers are below twenty three or above twenty nine years of age.

Mother’s emotional state:

Mother’s unhappy emotional state causes endocrine imbalance in her body and this condition in the early months of pregnancy will cause more fetal immaturity and results in low birth weight babies. These children have post natal adjustment difficulties.

Uterine crowding:

Multiple pregnancies cause entire uterine crowding or congestion. Crowding is found to lead to premature births and neonatal deaths. The hip bones of these fetuses fail to ossify (calcify) and this leads to congenital dislocation of hip.

X-ray and radiation:

When used in the early period of pregnancy they may cause microcephaly with accompanying mental deficiency.

Maternal attitude:

Mothers who do not welcome their pregnancy are found to have more vomiting sensation and nausea. The mother’s unwelcome attitude may also lead to premature birth of the child. Abortions and still-births are also caused by the negative attitude of the mother towards pregnancy.

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