A case study of Teratogens and Prevention during pregnancy
Conception is an exhilarating moment which marks the commencing first term of pregnancy. To many, knowledge of conception is vital to ensure the safety of the newborn. At this stage, women begin to take prenatal vitamins, they change poor eating habits and some use exercise to make certain their body is ready to deliver a healthy baby. However, not all women take the precautions necessary. Ashley is our motivation for this case study. Ashley, pregnant for the very first time, believes that her alcohol consumption and cigarette addiction will not have an effect on her child.
Sadly, Ashley’s ignorance and disregard for her child’s health can lead to a host of irreversible side effects. Mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy often give birth to children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD has a plethora of cognitive and central nervous system defects but may go unnoticed until critical periods for the child are not met. Initially children born with FASD may have abnormalities linked to vision, hearing, renal failure and cardiac deficiencies (Carter 7). In addition to the preceding, some children born with a form of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome show dysmorphic facial features such as a smooth philtrum, thin upper lip and small eyes (Kyigne 296).
In addition to the physical shortcomings that alcohol during pregnancy can cause, cognitive defects are countless. Children who are born to mothers who drink while pregnant display inadequate intellectual abilities in areas such as attention, memory, learning, linguistics and number and visual processing (Greener 118). Frequently social skills are influenced and cause
poor executive functioning such as mental control and self-regulation. This often leads to disruptions in education and inappropriate sexual behavior (Greener 118). Due to the nature of FASD research is being done to correct the behavior of children with this condition. Studies that promote child friendship training (CFT), child safety, and parent- child interaction therapy have been shown to benefit the families affected (Kodituwakku 717-28). Parent-Child interaction therapy is one way to help the parents manage the behavior of a child with FASD while dealing with the stresses of parenting in a healthy manner (Kodituwakku 717-28).
A disheartening correlation is found between women who drink while pregnant and women who properly nurture their child. One may assume if the mother doesn’t care for the well-being of the child in the womb, who is to say things will change after birth? A study done by researchers investigated the way alcohol impacted the maternal responses after birth found that “ women who drank one or more glasses of alcohol a week during their mid-trimester of pregnancy were 19 % more likely to show non-responsive behavior towards their infant 12 months after birth (Pearson 433).”