The most valuable investment any society makes is in its children, the next generation. The more we learn about the fetus the better we are able to understand the problems and abnormalities that can occur during development. Dr. Peter Nathanielsz, the first to demonstrate that the fetal brain delivers the signals that start the process of birth, reviews the recent explosion of information on fetal development during the second half of pregnancy. How genes store the blueprint for fetal development is explained, as well as the intricacies of the development and function of the major organ systems, the placenta, lungs, heart, and brain. Listeners will be fascinated by the answers to such questions as: How does the fetus start the birth process? Why does the fetus make breathing movements? What are the functions of the placenta, the only truly throw-away organ? Can the fetus tell the time? How does the maternal lifestyle affect the fetus? Do prenatal events predispose to sudden infant death syndrome? For thiry years, Dr. Peter Nathanielsz has researched the mysteries of fetal development.Life before Birthasks how we can improve the quality of fetal life and prepare the next generation for the challenges that lie ahead. It is a fascinating insight into a period of development through which we ourselves have passed. This book is for all those who marvel at the remarkable compettence of the new baby whose cry signifies "I am here."