Creating a healthy environment is critical for any baby’s well-being and healthy transition into this world. Teratogens are a main concern when creating a healthy atmosphere. For example, when my mother was pregnant with my brother, she did not understand the adverse effects on her baby’s development that smoking would create. Smoking was just routine for her, and the labels on the cigarettes as a fair warning didn’t change her opinion on smoking during her pregnancy. My father smoked as well. Even worse, a lot of the smoking occurred in the household, so smoke was always in the house and my mom was always breathing it in.
Months went by during my mother’s pregnancy with her first child. ...view middle of the document...
Smoking is not the only teratogen to be aware of. There are many others, such as alcohol, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamine (meth), and marijuana. Alcohol is a major teratogen and one of the most common. It can create a disorder known as Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which creates abnormalities such as facial deformities, defective face, limbs, and heart, learning disorders, and low intelligence. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause early pregnancy loss.
Caffeine is also a teratogen that is easily accessible in sodas, coffee, teas, energy drinks, and even some chocolate. Doctors suggest being cautious when consuming small amounts of caffeine or even cutting it out of the prenatal diet completely. Caffeine seems to be the least harmful of the listed teratogens, as high amounts do not increase the risk of miscarriage and growth retardation.
Both Cocaine and Meth are extremely harmful stimulants to prenatal children. Cocaine use during pregnancy lowers birth weight, head circumference, and length of the baby. Babies can be born with lower arousal, higher excitability, and lower quality of reflexes as well. Growing up, the baby can experience weakened motor development as well as a slower growth rate. Learning disabilities are also common, as well as behavioral problems.
Marijuana also has negative consequences for children such as lower intelligence and an increased risk for the children using marijuana themselves by the age of 14. It is recommended that pregnant women do not use marijuana during their term or use any of the teratogens.
Synergistic effects – that is, using or being around multiple teratogens is extremely dangerous. Mothers should strive to put themselves in a healthy environment and stay away from others using teratogens as well. Safe amounts of teratogens would be small amounts of caffeine. Still, it is best that pregnant mothers stay away from caffeine as much as possible during the biological development of the child.
There are many critical periods that affect biological development. The central nervous system, which includes the spinal cord and brain, is particularly susceptible to teratogens, especially during the third through sixth week of development. After the sixth week, the fetus is less sensitive, but still able to get negative effects from teratogens. It is important the spinal cord and brain develop fully. Arm and leg developments are at their peak sensitivity from four and a half till seven and a half weeks. The less susceptible period is until the ninth week. The heart, another important organ that must develop fully and in a healthy manner, can be the most affected by teratogens from three and a half weeks until the sixth week. It isn’t until the eight and a half week mark that it is fully developed. The eyes are at their greatest sensitivity from four...