, Research Paper
Pregnant women that smoke cigarettes on a daily basis can greatly harm their fetus. The Tobacco smoke in cigarettes greatly reduces fetal growth through the presence of nicotine, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, cadmium and various other aromatic hydrocarbons, but the two most dangerous chemicals that are found in cigarettes are nicotine and carbon monoxide. Nicotine causes the babies heart rate to speed up, reduces placental vascularisation, constricts the placental arteries, and thickens the endothelium of placental blood vessels. This creates a reduction in the placental blood flow, and further reductions in oxygen delivery. As well nicotine interferes with the ability of the placenta to feed the baby the nutrients it requires. Therefore the babies growth is slowed down. Carbon monoxide causes growing cells to be starved of oxygen, and effects the brain. This can lead to a low birth weight and higher chance of the baby dying at birth. Smoking is the single largest modifiable( changeable) risk factor in fetal growth retardation. Maternal smoking during pregnancy is also associated with genetic defects as well as an increased incidence of congenital malformations such as cleft palates, microcephalus, and clubfoot. Mothers who smoke one pack a day during pregnancy have an 85% increased risk of having a child with mental retardation. Mothers that smoke during their pregnancy have double the chance of having a child with behavural problems.
Another one of the biggest factors that disrupts fetal growth and development is alcohol. This is a very common substance abuse of pregnant women. Everytime the pregnant mother is drinking, her fetus is also drinking. The alcohol crosses the placental barrier, and goes directly into the fetus s liver. The ethanol found in alcohol may impair the nutrient support of the fetus. Acetaldehyde, a major metabolite, crosses the placenta and is teratogenic. Since the alcohol stays in the fetus for a long time, the small liver is unable to metabolize the alcohol. The alcohol also travels through the blood stream going directly to the baby s brain, and this can damage the central nervous system. The common, severe, and hazardous side effect that happens to the fetus because of alcohol is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is a very serious side effect that has lasting and sometimes devastating effects on the child.
Women that take drugs during their pregnancy can severely harm and endanger the fetus within them. These harmful drugs include cannabis, cocaine, heroine, and speed. Drugs can cause a variety of adverse affects on the fetus. These effects include lower birth weights, inadequate fetal growth, depression of the central nervous system, and possible impairment of fetal brain development. Lots of these drugs increase the pregnant women s heart rate and blood pressure, which decreases the amount of blood the mother gives to her fetus. Therefore the baby doesn t get lots of blood, and more importantly the oxygen in the blood. Some drugs like heroin can even cause the fetus to be addicted to the drug, and when the baby is born it will needed to be treated for withdrawal.
Pregnant women should as well be aware of the medicines and medicinal drugs that they take during their pregnancy.
One type of medicine that pregnant woman should avoid is Benzodiazepines, which are anti anxiety medication. Benzodiazepines rapidly cross the placenta barrier and enter the fetal circulation. Blood levels in the fetus equal that of the mother s within one hour of taking the Benzodiazepine pill. Some Benzodiazepines may cause respiratory depression, hypotonia, lethargy, and poor feeding.
Pregnant women should not take aspirin while they are still pregnant. If you take lots of aspirin while your pregnant, it could cause a severe hemorrhage in the baby. Doctors recommend that pregnant women should take acetaminophen instead.
It is extremely important that pregnant women eat proper foods with essential nutrients and a well balanced diet. This is important because fetally malnourished babies are often unresponsive and apathetic and become quite irritable when aroused. Pregnant women should try to elude from eating any products with food additives or food dyes, such as, Red Dye Number 2, which slows down fetal growth. Pregnant women should also be careful to how much of one nutrient or vitamin they intake. For example, women that take large doses of Vitamin A can harm the fetus, and cause them to be born with cleft palates, or eye damage.
Pregnant women should also try to stay away from high concentrations of organic solvents, and cleansers. These substances can greatly harm the fetus. Some common examples of organic solvents, and cleansers that should be avoided are household cleaners and gasoline. Volatile organic solvents have been shown to have teratogenic effects on the growing fetus, such as physical malformations or functional impairment.. Inhaled solvents reduce oxygen levels in the body tissue thus reducing oxygen supply to the fetal brain. If the pregnant mother inhales at high doses, then she can cause the death of the fetus.
Pregnant women should distant themselves from heavy metals. such as, lead and methyl mercury which can harm the fetus.
All pregnant women should be aware and cautious about contacting a disease. Some of the diseases are fatal and very hazardous to the fetus, while some only have minor effects on the fetus. Many of the diseases contacted by pregnant mothers are sexually contacted diseases. Some examples of these diseases are Aids, and Gonorrhea. There are also other non-related diseases such as, Rubella, and Toxoplasmolisis and, which can affect the fetus.
Toxoplasmolisis is a bacterial infection. This is a parasitic disease that can effect the fetus, by causing growth retardation.
Another harmful disease that can affect the fetus is Rubella or otherwise called German Measles. Pregnant woman that have Rubella during the first trimester can effect the fetus and cause a syndrome of birth defects called congenital rubella syndrome. This can cause deafness, cataracts, congenital heart disease, and mental retardation.
In conclusion, pregnant women should try to avoid all substances that can be potentially harmful to the fetus within them.