The Effects Of Teratogens On Development

989 Words 4 Pages
When a woman is carrying a child it is her responsibility to create the most health and nurturing in-utero environment possible for that child. However, this does not always happen and some children are exposed to toxins that severely affect their development. Examples of these toxins include chemicals, drugs, alcohol, and smoking. The baby is at high risk to be affected by both environmental and physical substances; these substances are called teratogens. There are three main concepts to keep in mind when discussing teratogens. The affect the substance will have on the embryo will depend on the dosage, timing, and also the baby’s heredity. Specifically, I am going to look at the effects of alcohol in early and late pregnancy. The characteristic …show more content…
As many 40% of woman do not know that they are pregnant until about the fourth week of gestation, in this time period most consume alcohol if they regularly used it prior to falling pregnant (Siegler). While four weeks may not sound like a long time, from the moment of conception teratogens are able to affect the course of pregnancy. The early weeks of pregnancy are some of the most crucial. When a mother drinks, the alcohol in her blood goes into the placenta and is consumed by the baby. The fetus has trouble metabolizing the alcohol, due to the under developed liver and remains in the system a lot longer than in it does in the mothers (Siegler). Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders can be broken down into four different sub categories. FAS, Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (PFAS), Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ARND), and Neurobehavioral Disorder associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE) (Fact). The variance of disorders and the severity of them indicated that FASD are contingent of when and how much alcohol is consumed. The effects of alcohol on the developing child can vary from mild to severe, and it is not certain what accounts for this variability. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the most preventable and leading cause of fetal brain injury with 40,000 children being born with this some form of the syndrome a year (Fact). With there being an unnecessarily high …show more content…
The immediate effects include a difference in activity levels and an unusual reactions to being startled (Siegler). The amount of alcohol and when it is consumed affects different portions of the brain due to the cephalocaudal and proximal distal patterns of development. One of the first areas to be affected is the central nervous system, specifically the region in the brain called the frontal lobe. The functions of the frontal lobe are numerous and crucial for development. Some of the effected functions include planning and learning from past consequences, working memory and retrieval issues, regulation of self and emotion, fine motor issues and motivation (Fact). Other abnormalities of the CNS are sleep disturbances, hyperactivity and attention disorders, low speech clarity, and overall developmental delays (Parrott). While all cells are subject to destruction from alcohol it appears that brain and spinal cells are highly sensitive to its affects. Central nervous system abnormalities are one of three criteria of Fetal Alcohol

Related Documents