Environmental Problems in Prenatal Development

Topics: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Uterus Pages: 9 (2893 words) Published: February 5, 2013
Running Head: Environmental Problems in Prenatal Development

Environmental Problems in Prenatal Development

For my research topic, I chose environmental problems in prenatal development. I chose this topic because I have a great interest in prenatal development and the care the mother provides that will negatively affect the fetus while it is still developing. Learning about the problems that occur will be an enormous advantage with my future career in nursing. Throughout my research, I hope to discover what the symptoms, of environmental influences, a fetus can contract during development.

During prenatal development there are so many problems that you cannot even count them. There are two types of problems in development, genetic and environmental. The environmental problems are caused by the care the mother provides for her unborn child. Whatever the mother puts her body through, she puts her child through. Teratogens are drugs or other substances that are capable of restricting the development of a fetus, causing birth defects. Although the embryo is sensitive during all stages, there are more critical time periods when the fetus is more susceptible to the defects. During these critical periods, there are three major environmental problems that affect the fetus, which can cause birth defects, by the mother’s use of drugs, diseases, and mental and physical health. There are three major teratogens that affect the fetus in development; one is by the mother’s use of drugs. There are many mothers throughout the world use and abuse prescription, legal and illegal drugs. The use of prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. Some mothers need to take prescribed drugs for their own health problems. Women who have seizures must take anticonvulsants to stop the seizures from occurring. The seizures the pregnant mother has can cause just as much damage than the drugs they are taking (Boyd and Bee, 2009, p. 72). Pregnant women taking Trimethadione for their seizures can cause the fetus to obtain many progressive defects such as eyebrows shaped like a V, cleft lip, cleft palate, and having delays in their development (Slater and Lewis, 2006, p. 9). Another drug pregnant mothers might be prescribed for would be blood thinners, because of possible blood clots, to prevent heart attacks or strokes (DirectGov, 2010). An expecting mother who has been taking Warfarin to slow down blood clots should assume that her child can be born with mental retardation and an unusually small head, known as microcephaly (Slater and Lewis, 2006, p. 9). Certain infants with microcephaly develop normally and have the intellect as an ordinary child. Typically, infants with microcephaly possibly can have facial distortions, mental retardation, deferred motor skills, hyperactivity, dwarfism, seizures, difficulty with balancing and coordination, and other neurological irregularities (DirectGov, 2010). Every mother experiences fatigue and nausea. Decades ago, doctors would prescribe Thalidomide, a sedative, to treat the fatigue and nausea. After these mothers gave birth, doctors have detected that the Thalidomide has many defects on the fetus. Infants were born with only half developed or absent arms or legs (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010 p. 1). Antibiotics are normally safe to take when consulted with a doctor. Pregnant women take antibiotics for certain types of infections. One often prescribed antibiotic to pregnant women is Tetracycline which can cause damage to the infant such as yellowing or graying of the teeth. It also can be passed through breast milk and if the child infant drinks the milk, there will be a chance they might affect the growth of bones and teeth (Cerner Multum, 2009).

Despite the abuse of prescription drugs, there is also the use of legal drugs. There are many women who are pregnant and smoking. The use of nicotine during pregnancy will cause a few deficiencies in the...

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