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Teratology and Hazards to Prenatal Development

            Teratology and Hazards to Prenatal Development.
             Teratology and Hazards to Prenatal Development.
             In order for an expectant mother to give birth to a healthy baby, she must familiarize herself with the substances and circumstances that could be potentially harmful to the offspring. Although 97-98 percent of infants are born with no major birth defects, prenatal development is a time of extreme vulnerability to outside influences (Petrikovsky, Jacob, & Aiken, 2001). Problems are more likely to develop in three types of women: those who have medical problems; those who use prescription drugs, alcohol, or illicit drugs; and women who are exposed to harmful substances while pregnant.
             Environmental hazards pose an enormous threat to the development of the fetus. Each year, thousands of babies are born retarded or deformed as a result of teratogens the mother has been exposed to, including one or two months prior to conception. A teratogen is considered any agent that produces a birth defect. Some of the countless examples include prescription and nonprescription pills, illegal drugs, cigarettes, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, infectious diseases, maternal stress, and even incompatible blood types (Santrock, 2004). The severity of the harm depends upon the genetic susceptibility, dose, and time of exposure. Teratogens are most likely to produce anatomical flaws early in the embryonic stage before organogenesis has ended. .
             Both prescription and non prescription pills can act as teratogens and sometimes have devastating effects. Prescriptions to be avoided include antibiotics, certain hormones, some depressants, and Accutane (which prevents acne). Over the counter medications that can cause damage are diet pills, aspirin, sleeping pills, and caffeine. While doctors say most drugs are safe during pregnancy, optimal results will stem from little to no use of medications.
             Studies show that psychoactive drugs have an adverse impact on development.

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