The teratogen is an umbrella term for substances that can have adverse effects on the physiological development of an embryo. The effects are usually caused by the toxic effects of the agents in question, and can result in abnormalities and birth defects, including malformation, growth and development retardation, functional disorders, and even pregnancy cessation and death. Usually, the mother is affected by a teratogen that can be found in her environment during her pregnancy.
There are a variety of actions that can lead to the embryo or the fetus being affected by a teratogen, including taking medication prescribed by a physician, consumption of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, maternal infections, radiation, and being exposed to toxic chemicals. The severity of the impact depends on the type of the teratogen involved, the amount of it in the organism and at which development stage the embryo was affected. In general, almost 5 percent of all birth defects are caused by such substances.Teratogenic Effects of Alcohol and Smoking Essay
In the situation provided, a girl continues drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes despite being pregnant. While she may believe that here actions will not affect her unborn child, in reality, she is putting him through a lot of risks. There is no precise information about the age of the subject, but it can be assumed that she is relatively young, which imposes additional strain on the pregnancy. Teratogens can cause harm to the fetus as early as 10 to 14 days after conception when a shared blood supply is established.
From that point onwards, if we assume that she is consuming the mentioned above substances throughout the pregnancy, they can cause the unborn child’s neural tube to develop incorrectly, resulting in congenital abnormalities. Other severe issues include damage to the central nervous system, which is sensitive to toxic influences during the entirety of pregnancy.Teratogenic Effects of Alcohol and Smoking Essay
Alcohol, in particular, is broken down slower in the fetus’ body, and can be retained by it longer, resulting in the fetal alcohol syndrome. The unborn child can gain neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is withdrawal, and the dependence remains after birth. Alcohol can also induce deformities and other symptoms, such as poor development of the optic nerve and cross-eyes, malformed ears and head, small jaw, caved-in chest, heart and brain defects, incomplete development of various organs, including genitalia.