Teratogens and their Effect on Fetus


Alcohol is one of the most common forms of teratogens associated with women in the childbearing age. It consumption at this significant development stage commonly leads to the emancipation of the alcohol related neuro-developmental disorders and the more common fetal alcohol syndrome. Statistically estimates have established that approximately 10% of women in their childbearing age have chronic drinking problems at a frequency of 6 – 7 drinks on a daily basis (Boyle, n.d).

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Short-term Effects of Alcohol

The assessment of short-term effects on the development of the fetus has been correlated with the consumption amounts and patterns. Previous studies establish that infants who have been born to mothers exhibiting chronic alcohol abuse symptoms may potentially present withdrawal symptoms, wakefulness, tremors, restlessness, hypertonia, excessive crying, opisthotonos, and excessive startling (Boyle, n.d). These symptoms may continue relapsing for as long as 72 hours.

Long-term effects of Alcohol

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The development of fetal alcohol syndrome progressively develops in infants as a long-term term effect in most circumstances. Some of the effects include cognitive ability declination, physical abnormalities, and behavioral problems, for instance social related issues.

Risk factors associated with Alcohol

The development of alcohol related effects in infants depends upon several variables. For instance, the amounts of alcohol have a profound effect. Previous studies have established a risk increment to 40% for mothers exposed to 0.5 oz of absolute alcohol (Boyle, n.d). Prenatal factors play a significant role. The risk may reach 85% for women having high per day drinking rates, African-American and Native American race, and high parity (Boyle, n.d).

Symptoms the infant/child might exhibit at birth or later in life

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The criteria used for diagnosis includes prenatal/postnatal growth restriction, cranial-facial dysformic features, and central nervous system impairment. This will therefore lead to respective symptoms depending on diagnosis results.

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