The human lifespan has been many different stages. These stages are identified as; conception, pregnancy (gestation), birth and infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, older adulthood and final stages of life. The age range of some of these life stages are defined by social criteria. The age range for the life stages are:
A human life begins with conception. Conception is the time that the child was being conceived. A fertile woman usually produces one egg cell each month, roughly two weeks after the last menstrual cycle. If sexual intercourse takes place while the egg is in the fallopian tube, there is a possibility of conception as the egg is getting ready to become a baby, but if there is no sperm then after the respiration has happened the egg will leave the body. Conception is when the sperm reaches and fertilise the egg which is what helps you discover how long you have been pregnant. It is difficult for someone to find out the exact day that the egg was fertilised as the sperm can stay in the body for days before it actually reaches the egg and fertilise it. Pregnancy
Pregnancy begins when a sperm penetrates an egg. One to one and a half days later, the single fertilised egg cell begins to divide. After two or three days there are enough new cells to make the fertilised egg the same size as a pin head. The collection of cells travels to the lining of the uterus where it becomes anchored. The developing collection of cells is now called an embryo which is attached the wall of the uterus by the placenta. Once the embryo is attached to the uterus wall a chemical signal stops the woman from having another menstrual period. After a period of eight weeks the embryo may have grown to between 3 and 4cm and have a recognisable heartbeat and the beginning of eyes, ears, a mouth, legs and arms. At this stage the growing organism is called a foetus. During the remaining seven months before birth, all the organs continue to develop. By 20 weeks, the foetus will have reached about half the length of the baby at birth. By 32 weeks, the foetus will be about half its birth weight. Birth and Infancy
After 9 months after conception the baby will be born in some cases a child can be born before 9 months or even 2 weeks after before getting their pregnancy started off by a doctor. The newborn baby has to take easily digestible food such as mother’s milk in the first weeks in order to grow. A newborn baby does not have a fully developed brain but can usually hear sound, tell differences in the way things taste and identify the smell of their own mother or carer. Infants are born with various temporary and primitive reflexes. The primitive reflexes that infants are born with include the following: A newborn baby will turn their head towards any touch on the cheek. The reflex is called the rooting reflex and helps the baby to get the nipple into their mouth to feed.
If you place your finger in the palm of a baby’s hand, they will grasp your finger tightly. This reflex is called the grasp reflex. If a baby is startled – perhaps by a loud noise they will throw their hands and arms outwards, arching the back and straightening the legs. This is called the startle reflex. If a newborn baby is held upright with their feet touching the ground, they will make movements as if they are trying to walk. This is called the walking reflex. Infants have the physical ability to recognise and interact with people. Babies prefer the sound of human voices to other sounds and soon learn to recognise their mothers/carers voice. Babies are helpless when it comes to muscle co-ordination and control. Babies cannot hold up their head, roll over, sit up or use their hands to move objects deliberately. Physical
The physical need of infancy is the development in which the baby is growing and changing. The development that will be changing in this stage is that they may gain more control of their movement and will learn to control their muscles for an example they can get a grasp of things and begin to pick things up, they will also be moving their legs and arms. This control will be gained by the end of the year as they will begin to walk. Intellectual
During the infancy a baby becomes more wise and begins to learn new abilities. Whilst a baby is growing the brain is constantly adapting to the different sounds and sights. Babies also have different cries so that both you and them know that they are getting hungry or when they are generally upset. This is when the intellectual needs are being used. Emotional and Social Development
Emotional and social developments are both linked to the growing relationship that is between you and your child. Your child will soon begin to recognise your voice. The emotion that is shown in an infant is when they are happy or sad. This is shown when they smile or when they begin to laugh or cry. They will also start to show when they are tired and hungry. Babies social development is when they begin to take in information and will sooner or later begin to realise that different people are around them. Childhood
Children grow steadily at this time but less rapidly than during infancy. By the age of 6 a child’s head will be 90 per cent of adult size, even though the body still has a lot of growing to do. Reproductive organs remain small until the onset of puberty. Children’s practical abilities continue to develop; at the age of 2, children may be able to run and to climb stairs one step at a time. By age 4, children may be able to kick and throw a large ball. By age 6 or 7, a child may be able to skip and ride a bicycle. Physical
The physical needs for children at this stage are things such as shelter, clothing, food and water. Although these needs seem simple it is how they are used. For example, a parent can feed their children anything that they want but it is important that you make sure that the food is health and giving your child all the proteins that they need and that their diet is balanced. This is so that they are able to grow strong and develop. The stronger they become the more they will learn to do things. Intellectual
At this stage of life the intellectual needs are seen as the most important as it is the time where the child will be starting their first kind of education, such as playgroup. This is preparing the child for in the later stages of his life and to ensure that they are going to reach their most potential. At this stage they are able to walk around, talk and interact with other children. Emotional and Social Development
The emotional needs that a child needs is things such as being made to feel safe and secure in the environment that they are in, they need love and affection and need to start taking appropriate responsibilities. At this stage in life they will also be developing on their self-esteem. The more self-esteem they have the more likely they will interact with other people that are around them, enabling them to develop more. These emotional needs can be met by all the people that are surrounding the child, such as teachers, parent and other members of the child’s family. Adolescence
Puberty in girls often starts between the ages of 11 and 13, although it may begin earlier in some girls. Girls generally start puberty before 13 but boys generally starts puberty later often between 13 and 15 years of age. Puberty is a development stage which prepares the body for sexual reproduction. It is started off by the action of hormones that control sexual development. Both boys and girls may experience a ‘growth spurt’, where they grow taller at a faster rate than before. Girls’ sexual development during puberty includes the enlargement of the breasts, the development of pubic hair, increased layers of fat under the skin and the start of the menstrual periods. Boys will experience the enlargement of their testes and penis, the development of pubic and facial hair and increased muscle strength. Boys’ voices also ‘break’ and become deeper in tone. These major changes mean that adolescents look and behave in a different way than children do. Physical
Physical changes that take place in the life stages of adolescence is puberty. At this time they will be growing and developing in areas that were not in the earlier stages. When this is happening they will feel physical older and will become more of an adult. They also needs a lot of physical and mental exercise during these developing stages as most people when they hit puberty can have growth sprouts and weight gain. Exercise will help keep them healthy. Intellectual
There are many different intellectual developments that are needed in adolescence. In this life stage they will become more independent and responsible for their own actions. During this time they need a lot of guidance and help. They will also be developing intellectually as they will be learning more about themselves and developing mentally in school. Making decisions about their future. Emotional and Social Development
During adolescence you will notice that your child will have changed in the way that they interact and communicate with people. Every adolescence social and emotional development will be different. At this point there will be different education year groups and will begin to expand on their knowledge and their understanding of everything, during this stage they will need a lot of emotional help and support during their educational days to help them achieve the best to their abilities. Their body is also changing and their behaviour will begin to change effecting their emotions. For example, independence and moody due to these changes. Adulthood
Young adults are often at the peak of their physical performance between the ages of 18 and 28. Most champions of highly active sport are aged between 16 and 30. Older adults generally tend to lose some strength and speed with age, although these changes are often unnoticed outside competitive sports. Exercise is known to help develop physical fitness and athletic skills. Older adults could easily achieve a personal peak of fitness at 40 or 50 if they take up exercise late in life.
By this time in your life your body has fully developed meaning your height that you are at now is where you will stay. This happens in your mid 20’s. late on in adulthood some of the changes you will see in your body is things such as your skin becomes more thinner and loose, this is also known as wrinkles. There is also a major change in women at the end of adulthood as they will have something called menopause where they will stop having periods and can no longer get pregnant after this has happened, which most people will already have a family by the time they are in their mid-adulthood. Intellectual
In adulthood although your body has fully developed there are still intellectual developments as the person begins to get older they need more help as at the end of this stage they will be getting ready to retire. But those who are in the early stage of adulthood will be finishing their education and will be going into the world of work. Promoting in a job and keeping up with the changes. Emotional and Social Development
During this life stage the majority of people will have become parents which they will need emotional help with as there life style has changed as they will be juggling work and their family life. Having a family also help with social development as you will be interacting with your children’s friends and their friends and also teacher who will help you with your child’s development and education. In the early stages of adulthood they will need a lot of emotional support as they will be experiencing there first real job and at this stage they will need a lot of encouragement. Older Adulthood
There are a various amount of age-related changes that slowly become apparent as we grow older. During their forties many people find that they need to wear reading glasses. Some people cannot hear high-pitched sounds so well during late adulthood. Many adults show a thinning of hair, with hair loss being common in men. The Menopause
Women are most fertile in their late teens and early twenties. The risk of miscarriages and pregnancy complication rises with age. Between 45 and 55, fertility reduces and then comes to an end in a process called the menopause. The menopause takes several years to complete. The menopause involves:
The gradual ending of menstruation (or having period) and a large reduction in the number of viable eggs in the ovary. An increase in the production of hormones called gonadotrophins to try and stimulate egg production which can cause irritability, hot flushes and night sweats. A reduction in sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) produced woman’s ovaries, resulting in some shrinkage of sexual organs and sometimes a reduction in sexual interests. Associated problems, such as osteoporosis, which can be caused by a reduction in the production of sex hormones. Older adults in Britain often put on weight. ‘Middle-aged spread’ may happen because adults will still eat the same amount of food as they did when they were younger although they have become much less active. Older adults are more at risk of disease and disability. Physical
In this stage in life instead of developing more you begin to lose some of the skills that you have gained in life such as your strength will reduce, your eye sight will weaken and you can lose your hearing. This can make you become less active. They can also make you become less active. They also can become less capable to do things which may lead them to living in a care home where they are looked after every day. Intellectual
When entering older adulthood you may still need some of the intellectual needs that you needed at a younger age but when moving into the older life stages you begin to lose intellectual skills as you will have retired and will be spending most of your days inside as your body has begun to slow down and even the smallest of movements can tire you out. Your thinking will also slow down enabling you to do certain things. Emotional and Social Development
When in the life stage of older adulthood you will need a lot of emotional support as there will be a lot of people around you who will be passing away and also because you lose control of your body and cannot look after yourself as well as what you could have done in your earlier life stages. Many people at this stage also begin to feel isolated as they are alone a lot at this time. You will still be social as most people at this age may be in care homes for the elderly and you will be interacting with other people who are in the care home and also the carers that will be looking after you on a daily basis. Final Stages of Life
The longest a human has known to live is just over 122 years. 120 years is often accepted as the maximum lifespan for a human being. A range of processes may limit our lifespan. It seems that our body cells have a limited ability to renew themselves. If cells cannot renew themselves then we cannot repair ourselves and stay health. There are many theories about why we have a limit to our life span. Theories
Doctor Hayflick proposed that most body cells can only renew themselves fifty times or so. When cells can no longer renew themselves, body processes break down, body tissue becomes wasted and eventually we die. This limit to cell life is called the Hayflick limit. A theory that links with the Hayflick limit is one which suggests that cell DNA contains a region at each end called a telomere. Each time a cell renews itself, the DNA inside it is copied and part of the telomere is lost. By old age, all of the telomere can be used up and DNA can no longer be replicated. This results in cell death. Hormone production decreases with age and this reduction results in an inevitable breakdown of biological systems. It is also possible that cell DNA simply becomes damaged with age. The longer we live the more risk of cell mutation we may experience. Accumulations of damaging chemical reactions involving protein structure may result in a range of degenerative conditions such as hardened arteries and loss of nerve function.
Another theory is that our cells become changed by the build-up of molecules known as ‘free radicals’. Free radicals are toxic substances that we breathe or eat and are capable of damaging DNA and disrupting the way the body cells work. Scientific research has not yet provided a single simple definitive explanation of why there is a maximum lifespan. It may be that there is some truth in all of the different theories. To increase your potential lifespan you should avoid exposure to toxic substances such as tobacco smoke. Nicotine from tobacco smoke may directly damage cell DNA. Eating a healthy diet with a good balance of fruit and vegetables and fibre may help limit the impact of free radicals that may damage body cells. You should also take regular exercise. Research suggests that individuals who exercise regularly have a lower risk of degenerative diseases such as heart disease.