Teratogens are any type of agents in the body that interrupt or halt the normal embryonic and fetus development. Generally, these are agents that cause mostly non- reversible malformations, which destroy children’s lives.
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Sensitive periods are times of a child’s development that are of great significance. During these periods, children or fetuses are able to acquire certain abilities, which will determine how they will generally grow. In most cases, the sensitive time when a fetus can be attacked by teratogens is between ten days to two weeks after conception, but this may vary slightly.
Effects of Teratogens
Prescription and Non-prescription Drugs
Some medicines such as tetracycline have harmful effects such as inhibiting the growth and development of bones, because it normally crosses the placental membrane, after which it dumped on bones. Other therapeutic products for instance anticonvulsants can result in fetal hydantoin disorder mental problems.
Harmful drugs such as cocaine can cause premature birth, miscarriage, delivering stillborn babies and excessive bleeding, more so when a pregnant mother consumes them at any stage of pregnancy.
Alcohol ingested during pregnancy can lead to growth anomalies, heart problems mental retardation, and other malformations.
Generally, mothers who take alcohol during pregnancy are likely to give birth to young ones who are susceptible to heart ailments, as this is one clear indication of fetal alcohol syndrome. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a group of cerebral, growth and bodily anomalies that may occur in a child when a mother used to drink alcohol before birth.
Exposure to ionizing radiation can gravely harm the growing embryo, because this may cause death of cells and mutation of others. In most cases, the severity of its effects will depend on the extent of exposure. Radiations can also cause brain damage.
Although there is no direct connection between congenital malformation and nicotine, accumulation of nicotine can greatly affect the flow of blood to the developing fetus, as such accumulation constricts or blocks the uterine blood flow.
Although there is no direct connection between environmental pollution and child development, because most environmental polluters are chemical agents that are harmful to human beings, exposing a mother to dirty air and other polluters can lead to giving birth of underweight babies and babies with serious growth problems.
Viruses can greatly affect a fetus’s development. The rubella virus is known to cause congenital heart defects, blindness, glaucoma, growth retardation, blindness, microcephaly and cerebral calcification. The HIV virus, which is the cause of AIDS, can cause immune deficiency, which in turn can impair the normal development of a healthy fetus. When it is transmitted from mother to fetus during birth, it can greatly affect a child’s growth and wellbeing.
This kind of bacterial infection causes malformations, mental retardation and cerebral calcification. Other bacteria, more so those that cause dangerous infections can also impair the development of a fetus, and in extreme cases they can even cause premature and still births.
Physical exercises are highly recommended for pregnant mothers as they help the general health of both the mother and the fetus. Exercises can help to determine the kind and amount of nutrients that a baby receives, which they in turn help to determine whether one will give birth to an underweight, obese or a healthy baby. Good exercise can also help to improve breathing movements.
The emotional instability of a mother can be very detrimental to the developing child, more so when the mother feels very anxious, depressed or stressed. Extreme stress levels may cause a brain and development problems, because some stress related hormones can affect a mother immune system.
Eating of healthy foods promote the heath development of a child, because fetuses depend on their mothers for nutrition. Poor nutrition may impair growth and brain development and cause other numerous before birth and after birth defects.