Teratogen Psychological Effect on Fetal Development

Topics: Fetal alcohol syndrome, Pregnancy, Disability Pages: 10 (3454 words) Published: July 31, 2012
The course of pregnancy is both very rewarding and challenging. The end result is a beautiful creation and enjoinment of two people. The fragile aspect of newborn life is not the first time a mother faces protecting the child. The beginning of a successful foundation for life starts the second a women becomes pregnant. Prenatally, many different toxins can create issues surrounding the physical and mental development of a baby. Some of the toxins are very obvious, where many fly under the radar. The toxins a pregnant woman takes in may cause issues with the development of a child. Awareness about the possibility of teratogens causing development issues is needed to ensure a safe, normal, and sociable future for the children. When care is not taken, children and family face dealing with disability for life. Teratogens are any chemicals that are taken into the body during pregnancy. The toxins have an effect on mental and physical development in many ways. Understanding human development states that, “sometimes exposure of the mother to a specific teratogen inevitably causes damage to the embryo or fetus: accidentally ingested poisons often act this way. More frequently, however, the teratogen results in increased risk of damage, which may occur in varying degree or not at all, depending on a wide array of factors.” (Dunn, 2007) The point that damage may not happen is completely valid, but the risk of potential harm should be enough to bring awareness. When damage does occur the effects continue to arise. Developmentally, babies that are exposed to teratogens are face issues with learning. The psychological effects are very detrimental to the child’s emotional, social, and educational endeavors throughout life. Teratogens can come in many different forms. They can surface from prescription to recreation drugs, nutrition, and even environmental factors like radiation.

Drug Teratogens can be broken down into two main groups. The first group is prescription drugs. Prescribed drugs such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, acne medicines, and oral contraceptives have been proven to have an adverse affect on the health of a developing child. It is very important for women on medications to find out what medicine could possibly be damaging to the fetus during pregnancy. Just because the drug is prescribed does not mean it is safe while pregnant. The best prevention of development issues from prescription drugs is to research what is in the drugs and the effects that can go along with them and talk to a doctor about safe alternatives if any exists keeping the conversation about what is safe open. The second grouping is recreational drugs including alcohol. Consuming drugs such as cocaine have been proven to cause mental disabilities. Undeniably, using drugs that are harmful to the individual mother’s body have a harmful and addicting effect on the baby. Alcohol is one recreational drug that has severe repercussions. Heavily drinking is one of the most unfavorable teratogens because of its lasting and profound affects on the child.

The teratogens that surround pregnant women can indirectly affect the fetus without the mother being aware. Toxins in the air, water, and other surroundings like paint can be just as dangerous as taking drugs. Some toxins that very risky include mercury, lead, and radiation. Radiation can come from many things. One example would be x-ray machines. The x-ray technicians ask women if they are pregnant because the machines harmful toxins can be bad for the development of the child.

Nutritional teratogens are certain foods that a woman may consume that can be harmful to the prenatal development of the baby. Diet is especially important to be informed on because it does not hold a significant stigma like using drugs, but can be as harmful. Nutritionally, teratogens can also be something that the mother is deficient in. Studies have found 3...
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