Factors and Hazards of Infant Development By Miranda Brueggeman EC100/EEC1700 Section 05 Foundations of Child Development – Winter 2013 There are many factors and hazards that influence the development of babies before they are even born. In this essay I will only be discussing three that I feel are essential for parents to understand. The three I will be talking about are as follows: Limiting exposure to any and all teratogens such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and environmental chemicals; Consuming a nutritious diet; and The importance of obtaining early prenatal care.
Women should avoid unnecessary contact with known teratogens when they are thinking about getting pregnant or already are pregnant. Several factors can influence a teratogen’s harmful effect on fetal development, including the amount of exposure, fetal age, and genetic makeup of the mother and fetus (Developmental Profiles, 2012, p. 80). Mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy have a greater risk of miscarriages, stillbirths, premature infants, and low birth weight infants (Developmental Profiles, 2012, p. 80). No amount of alcohol is considered safe to consume during pregnancy (Developmental Profiles, 2012, p. 1). Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to experience miscarriage, premature births, stillborn infants, and low birth weight infants (Developmental Profiles, 2012, p. 81). Substances known to have a negative effect on the developing fetus range from prescription and nonprescription medications to pesticides, fertilizers, and street drugs. It is very important that both parents are fully aware of these facts and that they do their best to avoid any and all teratogens before, during, and after pregnancy.
Depending what the mother eats before and during pregnancy has a significant effect on her health as well as the developing fetus. Consuming a healthy diet lessens the risk of having a low birth weight or premature infant (Developmental Profiles, 2012, p. 75). During the Live Lecture this week I heard that it is a good idea to take Folic Acid three months prior to getting pregnant because it can help prevent certain birth defects. Nutrition is definitely very important for the mother and baby. In China both mother and father will cleanse their bodies for an entire year before even trying to get pregnant!
Another thing to remember is that babies need a lot of the essential vitamins and minerals and the mother should take some sort of prenatal vitamins to have enough nutrients for her own body to stay healthy. Medically supervised prenatal care is critical for ensuring the development of a healthy infant (Developmental Profiles, 2012, p. 74). A lack of prenatal care is often associated with an increased rate of medical complications, preterm births, low birth weight infants, fetal death, and disabilities (Developmental Profiles, 2012, p. 74).
Parents who have pre-existing diseases or are on medications of any kind need to speak with their doctor before trying to get pregnant. Some medications are very bad for fetal development. I myself have rheumatoid arthritis along with anxiety and depression and I will need to seek a medical professional for advice before trying to get pregnant. Another reason why you should see a doctor before/during pregnancy is because they can give you a list of certain things you need to avoid or things you should and should not do for a safe and healthy pregnancy/baby.
In conclusion, even though there are other factors and hazards to consider before/during pregnancy these three are a great start to having a healthy baby. The best thing you can do for your future baby is seek out a medical professional right away because they can tell you all about the do’s and don’ts and help you along your journey into parenthood. Reference Page Marotz, Lynn R. , Allen, Eileen K. (2012) Developmental Profiles: pre-birth through adolescence 7th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Retrieved from http://www. coursesmart. com/bookshelf.