What is teratogen?

A teratogen refers to any number of diseases and medical problems that can alter the normal growth of the fetus. They can cause birth defects as well as mental problems and occur during pregnancy. baby. Shortly after a woman becomes pregnant, the fetus becomes susceptible to whatever medical problems the mother may be experiencing. For example, when there is a bacterial infection, it can travel through the bloodstream and to the fetus. The severity of a teratogen depends on when it occurs during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is usually divided into trimesters, during which the fetus undergoes changes as it grows. Organs are developing and bodily functions are starting to happen as well. During this time, if a specific teratogen is introduced, it can affect growth patterns or cause deformities. For example, when the spinal cord is growing, a teratogen can cause an abnormality that results in the inability to walk. If a teratogen attacks a mother while her brain is forming, learning disabilities and retardation can also occur.

There are several things that can be considered a teratogen. An illness or infection can seriously affect the growth of the fetus, and some can also cause permanent damage. The herpes simplex virus can be passed to the fetus and can cause rashes and possible blindness. If the infection spreads to the brain, it can also cause learning problems. Chickenpox and shingles are other diseases that can be passed to the fetus, where they can cause limbs to develop to different lengths, an unusually small head, or even miscarriage.

Alcohol is a teratogen that is unfortunately self-induced. When an expectant mother consumes too much alcohol, a number of health problems can occur. Organ growth may be impaired and moderate to severe learning disabilities may also occur. The worst case scenario for consuming too much alcohol during pregnancy is fetal alcohol syndrome. With this syndrome, facial features also change and it is very likely that learning and behavioral problems will also be seen.

Certain prescription medications, as well as illegal drugs, are good examples of teratogens, which may be responsible for causing developmental problems. Sometimes the expectant mother may have taken these types of drugs even before she knew she was pregnant. Medications that help with epilepsy, tranquilizers, and blood pressure medications can cause birth defects or abnormalities. Illegal drugs like amphetamines or cocaine can damage the developing central nervous system.

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