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Critical Periods of Human Development

The table below identifies approximate windows of time, "critical periods", that following exposure to teratogens can lead to developmental abnormalities (anomalies, congenital).

In general, the effects for each system are more severe (major anomalies) in the embryonic period during organogenesis in the first trimester.

Later teratogen exposure are less severe (minor anomalies) in the fetal period during continued growth and differentiation in the second and third trimester.

This figure is also available as a formatted table.

Light Orange = minor abnormality

Links: Table version | Human Abnormal Development | Teratogens | Prenatal Diagnosis

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2021, December 4) Embryology Human-critical periods of development.jpg. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2021, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G

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