In recent years, increasing evidence is indicating that very real dangers exist for the unborn baby under certain conditions.

Many of these situations are now well established. Many are completely avoidable.

However, some women are either completely unaware of the possible hazards, or are only slightly aware that these risks exist.

Seeing they are so important, as a follow-on from the previous chapter where general advice and precautions were outlined, these especially important warnings are being listed in this section.

Women who are pregnant, or who are contemplating pregnancy, are advised to study this chapter carefully, for the information given is up-to-date and very important. In fact, it could either make or mar an otherwise happy pregnancy. It can affect anybody at any time at any place. Nobody is immune. Every week, the world-wide medical journals - the chief method of informing doctors about new developments -publish fresh information tes­tifying to the importance of these factors.

Some of this information has been known for some years. But in many instances, more recent documentation has strengthened and widened views previously held.

Other information is fairly new. The passage of time, in the future, will no doubt give further weight to much of it. It may modify or alter some of it. But it is more likely to reinforce ideas currently held.

The points to be discussed mainly involve substantial risks that exist for the unborn infant.

It is well known that enormous activity occurs with the developing embryo during the first eventful weeks. During the first ten weeks, "organogenesis" is occurring. Cells divide, re-divide and gradually develop to form the vital organs of the mature infant. Indeed, it is incredible the speed with which this takes place.

After the first ten weeks, the process slows down. But cell division and re-division continues at a less rapid rate for many more weeks. Indeed, new cells are being formed right until the moment of birth.

It is during this time of rapid cell division and organ formation that the embryo is at a very special risk.

If it is exposed to certain abnormal influences during this period of time, severe disasters can commence.

In turn, by adversely affecting cell division, disorders that are collectively termed congenital abnormalities can readily occur.