Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

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Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

A healthy prenatal environment is a key factor for a fetus in the womb. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and drugs are just some of the dangerous teratogens that can affect the soon to be born baby. However, alcohol can be one of the most hazardous teratogens to a fetus. Prenatal alcohol exposure may cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), childhood depressive symptoms, lowered IQ and much more. Prenatal alcohol exposure may cause irreversible damages to a child. Major depressive disorders and cognitive deficits have been diagnosed in children as young as preschool age. An article in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, entitled “The Relationship of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Postnatal Environment to Child Depressive Symptoms” by Mary J. O’Connor and Blair Paley, studied the correlations between prenatal alcohol exposure and childhood depressive symptoms.

Doctors Mary J. O’Conner and Blair Paley “hypothesized that children with higher levels of prenatal alcohol exposure would display more negative effect in interaction with their mothers…and that these children would endorse more depressive symptoms than children with less prenatal alcohol exposure.” (O’Conner & Paley, 52) An assumption was made that the prenatal alcohol exposure would be associated with the negative effect of the child. The research was conducted at a university medical center and the participants were patients seen at the center. The participants were 42 English speaking mothers who were between the ages of 21 and 44. The studies were done during two sessions with the child and the mother where information was drawn from the research laboratory and the child’s home. The mother was interviewed about her prenatal alcohol consumption in detail. The child was tested for depressive symptoms using the Pictorial Depression Scale (PDS) where the child was shown many pictures and was asked to respond to the pictures by pointing to them. The results of the research...
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