How Lithium Effects Baby? Essay

981 words - 4 pages

IntroductionThe first three to six months of a woman’s pregnancy is considered to be a critical period because during this period external stimuli can have a devastating affect on the development of the fetus. Since mother and child are interconnected and have a mutual relationship for the next nine months the fetus is very sensitive and at risk to whatever dangers the mother faces. The placenta not only provides nutrients and oxygen but it also provides protection from everything that could harm an unborn child. Teratogens are especially damaging in the embryonic stage because it is a critical period in prenatal development because this is when the “foundations for all body parts are being laid down” (Berk, 2008, p.106). Teratogens can be easily classified into different categories which include prescription and non-prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, infectious disease and environmental factors such as radiation and pollution that could potentially cause harm to an unborn child. There are times when teratogens such as chemicals and viruses can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm or interfere with the development sometimes causing birth defects or even a miscarriage but they are most “vulnerable to damage when they are developing most rapidly” (Papalia, Olds, & Feldman, 2006, p.91) which generally occurs within the first trimester of pregnancy.Article OverviewThe article I chose discussed the outcome of pregnancies after the fetus was exposed to lithium during the first trimester of pregnancy. According to Jacobson, Jones, etc., there are .1% of pregnant women that are estimated to use lithium, which is used in the “treatment or prophylaxis of bipolar disorder or mania” (Dictionary.com). The article discussed how in-utero exposure to lithium may be associated with “an increased risk of cardiac malformations, especially the rare Ebstein’s anomaly” (Jacobson, Jones, & et al., 1992) which causes the “tricuspid valve of the heart to be abnormally formed” (American Heart Association, 2009) and increases the risk of heart failure. The study consisted of 148 women who had requested information from teratogen information services regarding the “potential risks of therapeutic drugs during pregnancy” (Jacobson, Jones, & et al., 1992).The women were interviewed by a doctor where they disclosed information about the drugs or other chemicals that were taken during pregnancy along with the “indication, dose, toxicity of the drug and its toxic effects, and monitoring” (Jacobson, Jones, & et al., 1992). The women also disclosed their medical, obstetric, and family history along with any occupational exposures which could cause complications to the fetus as well. Through the information that was obtained the pregnant women were offered advice on what to do as well as being referred to the appropriate person who could...

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