Essay by Goethe March 2006

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Identify and describe some "teratogens" that can be harmful in the prenatal development of the embryo/fetus. Describe what the teratogen is, its harmful impact, and the long-term effects/prognosis for the person affected. Use a search engine on the WEB (i.e., Google) and summarize what you learned on your teratogens of interest. Provide the exact web sites.

What should society do to prevent these harmful teratogens from damaging babies prenatal?

During the prenatal development the placenta is supposed to provide nutrients and oxygen, and to provide protection from everything that could harm an unborn child. However sometimes teratogens, which are "agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm" (David G. Meyers, Exploring Psychology), can bypass the placenta.

A woman who drinks excessive alcohol during her pregnancy places her child at risk for physical and mental retardation known as FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).

When a woman drinks, the alcohol crosses through the placenta barrier. The babies premature body can not break down the alcohol from the blood as fast as an adult can, therefore the alcohol level can be higher, sustained longer and harm the baby.

For that reason, 1 in 750 infants are born each year with FAS.

Abnormal facial features like a flat face and small eyes mark Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The baby's organs and brain may not develop properly.

Children suffering from FAS may have lifelong physical disabilities and difficulties with cognitive abilities such as learning, memory and attention as well as behavioral problems.

FAS can be 100% prevented if a woman abstains from alcohol during pregnancy.

Studies have shown that even minor alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the time of breast-feeding relates to developmental difficulties and heavy drinking also relates to a higher risk...