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Literally, embryology means the study of embryos; however, the term generally refers to prenatal development of embryos and fetuses.
Body_ID: P001030
Developmental anatomy is the field of embryology concerned with the changes that cells, tissues, organs, and the body as a whole undergo from a germ cell of each parent to the resulting adult. Prenatal development is more rapid than postnatal development and results in more striking changes.
Body_ID: P001031
Teratology (Gr. teratos, monster) is the division of embryology and pathology that deals with abnormal development (birth defects). This branch of embryology is concerned with various genetic and/or environmental factors that disturb normal development and produce birth defects.

* Bridges the gap between prenatal development and obstetrics, perinatal medicine, pediatrics, and clinical anatomy.
* Develops knowledge concerning the beginnings of human life and the changes occurring during prenatal development.
* Is of practical value in helping to understand the causes of variations in human structure.
* Illuminates gross anatomy and explains how normal and abnormal relations develop.
Knowledge that physicians have of normal development and of the causes of anomalies is necessary for giving the embryo and fetus the greatest possible chance of developing normally. Much of the modern practice of obstetrics involves applied embryology. Embryologic topics of special interest to obstetricians are ovulation, oocyte and sperm transport, fertilization, implantation, fetal-maternal relations, fetal circulation, critical periods of development, and causes of birth defects. In addition to caring for the mother, physicians guard the health of the embryo and fetus. The significance of embryology is readily apparent to pediatricians because some of their patients have birth defects resulting from maldevelopment, e.g., diaphragmatic hernia, spina bifida, and congenital heart disease.
Body_ID: P001034
Developmental anomalies cause most deaths during infancy. Knowledge of the development of structure and function is essential for understanding the physiologic changes that occur during the newborn period and for helping fetuses and babies in distress. Progress in surgery, especially in the fetal, perinatal, and pediatric age groups, has made knowledge of human development even more clinically significant. Surgical treatment of the fetus is now possible. The understanding and correction of most congenital anomalies depend on knowledge of normal development and of the deviations that may occur. An understanding of common congenital anomalies and their causes also enables physicians, dentists, and other health care providers to explain the developmental basis of abnormalities, often dispelling parental guilt feelings.
Body_ID: P001035
Physicians and other health care professionals who are aware of common anomalies and their embryologic bases approach unusual situations with confidence rather than surprise. For example, when it is realized that the renal artery represents only one of several vessels originally supplying the embryonic kidney, the frequent variations in number and arrangement of renal vessels are understandable and not unexpected.

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