Topics: Pregnancy, Brain, Nervous system Pages: 2 (636 words) Published: July 17, 2013
Infant and Toddler Development
Lois Ingellis

Environmental Influence

Luce-Josie Nicolas

Dear Nancy,
Thanks for inviting me to your wedding and for informing me of your intention to be part of the parenthood experience as soon as you get married. However, by the same token allow me to take the opportunity, as a friend, to warn you against the danger of consuming alcohol, which is a powerful teratogen, during prenatal period. As you may have already known, “teratogen is any environmental agent that causes damage during pregnancy”. It may be alcohol, cigarette, cocaine, marijuana and so on. But of all the abused substances, alcohol produces by far the most serious neurobehavioral effects on the fetus according to the Institute of Medicine Report to Congress, 1996. p.35. As such it attacks the nervous system of the fetus at any stage of the pregnancy. I find it even necessary to remind you that, as a pregnant woman drinks, the fetus drinks too, via the bloodstream. Connected to the mother and nourished by the umbilical cord, alcohol can enter the placenta where the fetus is being developed and prevent the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. Due to the fact that its systems are not completely formed yet, the fetus is unable to breakdown alcohol. Consequently, the level of alcohol remains high in his blood, for a longer period of time than the mother. If the metabolism cannot be done properly, it may concentrate in his brain. So, alcohol, as a sedative and a depressant, acts on his central nervous system, and put the fetus at risk of having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Consequently Nancy, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) can be damaging for the fetus. It reduces the activity of the nervous system. It can even cause permanent brain damage: the brain can be reduced or parts of it can be damaged or missing. As a result, brain disorders can cause severe impairments. For example, the...

References: * Amy M. Schoenfeld. Edward P. Rileh. PH.D.,National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Pubs.niaaa,
* Berk, Laura E., Infant and Children , Prenatal Through Middle Chilhood, seventd Edition, p. 102
* Sarah N Mattsoon, PH.D.,Teratogenic Effects of Alcohol on Brain and Behavior
* Stratton,K,; Howe, C.; and Battaglia. F. 1996.Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Prevention and Treatment.Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press.
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