The teratogens I choose are alcohol and cigarette smoking due to the ease of accessibility. The effects of alcohol can be devastating to an unborn fetus. Teratogens are most harmful to what part of the embryo is forming at the time of exposure (K.L. Moore & Persaud, 2003). The effects of alcohol can be devastating to an unborn fetus. Alcohol that is consumed by the mother is passed on to her unborn child and the results of prenatal alcohol exposure are Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). I have seen the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) when I worked in a pediatrics unit. The patient “Lily” was a four year old female when I first met her. Lily had all the devastating effect of (FAS), mental retardation, facial abnormalities, blindness, deafness, heart defects, low birth weight and failure to thrive. She was literally a prisoner in her own body. Lily’s mother had abandoned her at birth and she was a forever foster child. She passed away at 5 years old due to her heart defects, and inability to eat, and thrive. She weighed a mere 21.5 lbs. The consumption of alcohol during pregnancy will lead to lifelong issues for the child and the family as there is no cure or resolution for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Cigarette smoking or exposure to second hand smoke can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, premature birth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), developmental delays, cleft palate (unformed roof of the mouth and upper lip, as well as nasal septum), asthma/respiratory problems, and failure to thrive. Avoiding exposure to teratogens during pregnancy is the safest way to avoid the lifelong issues that can be devastating to your children and your family. References
Moore, Keith L., & Persud, Trivedi. V.N. (2003).The developing human: Clinically oriented embryology (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier. http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/article/Homeowner/Teratogens. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
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