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lifestyle drugs and pregnancy

            Should the use of lifestyle drugs be banned during pregnancy?.
             Many of us have our own opinions when it comes to answering the question, which asks if the use of lifestyle drugs should be made illegal during pregnancy. There are more facts pointing to the harm alcohol, nicotine and marijuana have to a baby, than those saying that it is okay.
             The capillaries in the fully developed placenta are separated from the maternal blood by a thin membrane (thickness varies from 2-6um). The membrane consists of three layers: Wall of the Villus, a thin layer of connective tissue, and the endothelial lining of the foetal capillary. The surface area of the villus is increased due to the cells releasing micro-villi which contain mitochondria that supply energy for transport. The materials which pass from mother to foetus through the placental membrane consist of: oxygen, water, mineral salt, glucose, amino acids, proteins, lipids, vitamins, hormones and antibodies. Anti-biotics such as penicillin can luckily pass through the placental membrane, to fight the bacteria and viruses which can also get through. The feotus passes through to the mother carbon dioxide, water and urea, along with other waste products. These exchanges all take place by a mixture of diffusion, active transport and micropinocytosis.
             Alcohol is the biggest cause of birth defects. Drinking alcohol while pregnant means there is a high chance of your baby contracting a syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The effected child can result in defects in appearance, and severe learning difficulties. The children with a milder case of FAS can still have learning difficulties, but won't have appearance changes. The characteristics of FAS syndrome are quite extensive, and none of them would be pleasing for a mother to give birth to. They range from delayed development or intellectual loss, decrease in growth before and after birth, small head and eyes, thin upper lip, flat cheekbones (maxillary hypoplasia), small eye openings (palpebral fissures), small jaw (micrognathia), holes between the two sides of the heart (septal defects) and decreased joint movement.

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