A research on the relationship between teratogens and developmental psychology

Psychosexual development Sigmund Freud believed that we all had a conscious, preconscious, and unconscious level. In the conscious, we are aware of our mental process.

A research on the relationship between teratogens and developmental psychology

A research on the relationship between teratogens and developmental psychology

Many scientists believe that anything that affects the environment of the fetus can have an effect upon development beginning at conception and not at birth.

Environment does indeed begin to influence the individual as soon as he or she is conceived. As the zygote undergoes mitosis cell divisionthe new cells themselves become part of the mother's environment, and through their particular physical and chemical influence they guide and control the development of further new cells.

Different genes are activated or suppressed in each cell, so that while one group of cells is developing into brain tissue, another is giving rise to the heart, another to the lungs, and another to the skeletal system.

Meanwhile, the lump of cells is surrounded by the larger environment of the mother's uterus, and this environment is surrounded by the mother and the world in which she lives. The great majority of women have uncomplicated pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies, and for many years it was believed that the baby in the uterus was completely insulated from outside influences.

Scientists now know that this is not entirely true. Environmental influences ranging from radioactivity and stress in the outside world to drugs, chemicals, hormones, and viruses in the mother's bloodstream can affect prenatal development.

Such threats affect the health of the fetus in several ways.

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This is because the body organs and parts develop at different speeds and go through definite phases. First they go through a phase of rapid multiplication in the number of cells. Then there is an increase in both the number of cells and in cell size.

In the third and final phase of development, cell size continues to increase rapidly, but cell division slows down.

When a body part or organ system is growing most rapidly both in cell number and size, this is known as a critical period.

If an environmental factor, such as a chemical or virus, interferes with growth during the critical period, development of that organ system will be permanently affected.

The effect of environmental influences varies, therefore, in accordance with the stage of prenatal development in which the environmental factor is encountered, as well as the intensity of the threat, as shown in Table 1. During the first three months of pregnancy, tissues and important body systems develop in the embryo.

Adverse influences during this period will affect the basic structure and form of the body and may have particularly serious effects on the nervous system. Physical development can be arrested and irreparable malformation may occur. For example, many women who took the once-available drug Thalidomide during the first three months of pregnancy gave birth to children with serious defects.

When taken toward the end of pregnancy, however, the drug did not seem to have any negative effects. Teratogens The scientific study of congenital abnormalities caused by prenatal environmental influences is known as teratology from the Greek word teras, meaning "marvel" or "monster"and the environmental agents that produce abnormalities in the developing fetus are called teratogens.

Drugs Chemicals over-the-counter and prescribed pharmaceuticals as well as illegal substances can cause a wide range of congenital abnormalities that account for about 10 percent of birth defects. The severity of the abnormality depends on the amount of the chemical the mother is exposed to, the developmental stage of the fetus, and the period of time over which the mother's exposure to the chemical takes place.

In terms of narcotics, women who are addicted to heroin, morphine, or methadone give birth to addicted babies. Soon after birth, the babies show symptoms of withdrawal, including tremors, convulsions, difficulty breathing, and intestinal disturbances.

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Smoking and Nicotine Cigarette smoking has already been shown to have dire consequences for the smoker, and it can be hazardous for the fetus and the newborn child.Citing this material. Please include a link to this page if you have found this material useful for research or writing a related article.

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