A mother who smokes two packs a day could take over a pound and a half off the baby’s weight at birth. The baby could also have problems such as underdeveloped lungs and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Women who smoke while pregnant can cause a number of health issues for their baby. Not only will smoking harm the baby, but it also harms the person who is smoking in the first place. There are over 4,000 harmful chemicals in cigarettes.
Each substance can cause severe and permanent damage to children before and even after birth. Researchers have found that these substances can cause low birth weight, premature delivery, fetal alcohol syndrome, mental retardation, learning disabilities, stillbirth, miscarriages, and under developed limbs. Many babies born to mothers that have abused alcohol and drugs while pregnant are born addicted to the substance and go through withdrawal symptoms after being born. Some women are able to quit using these substances when becoming pregnant but many women are not and need professional help to quit. Pregnant women face many barriers when trying to get help for their substance abuse problems.
In this essay I will examine how smoking, alcohol and the mother’s diet influence prenatal development. Cigarette smoking is proven to have a negative effect on the smoker so how could it be any different for a fetus exposed to nicotine. Researchers have found that smoking and drinking are associated with disturbances in the placental functioning and with changes in maternal physiology that lead to oxygen deprivation and may produce structural and functional changes in the brain of a fetus ( Mavis Hetherington & Ross Parke). Mothers that smoke have a higher increase of infants being born with growth deficiencies rather than non-smokers. Also common with maternal smoking is Sudden Infant Death Syndrom (SIDS).
Cocaine at that time affected 300 000 to 400 000 newborns in the united states alone in the 1990s (Schoenwolf et al, 2009). The problem still persists however. In some major cities in the united states, as many as 20% of babies are born to mothers who abuse cocaine (Preece and Edward, 2011). There are many ways in which abuse of cocaine can negatively impact an embryo and fetus during its development. One difficulty with researching this specific population is the ability to isolate cocaine as the sole teratogen.
Drug abuse is a major social and medical problem in the United States. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, or NIDA nine million women in the United States are substance abusers. Three million use prescription drugs illicitly. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology, or ACOG, reports that 1 in 10 babies are born to mothers who abuse drugs during pregnancy. Substance abuse can have devastating effects on both the mother and her unborn child (Effects of drug abuse on pregnant women).
According to WHO research, about fifty percent of road accidents are associated with the consumption of alcoholic drinks. Unfortunately, alcohol-related problems not only affect drinkers, but they also affect all the people around the drinker, especially the drinker’s family. Family members that drink alcohol excessively spend little time at home and do not spend as much time with their family as they used to. Alcohol is also strongly associated with intentional injuries caused by aggressive behavior, leading to violent crime in the family. On the other hand, many economic problems in the family are caused as well because of the addiction to alcohol from a member.
General Substance Abuse and Its Effects on Society Substance abuse is one of the most prevalent issues that the current generation is forced to face. It has been around for centuries and has afflicted millions of people around the world. It is mainly a health concern but over the past decades, it has escalated into one of the worst social ills. Drug and alcohol addiction does not only affect the individual himself but everyone around him. Ultimately, the society is largely affected by his predisposition for substance use even when he's just one person.
Background & Childhood Domestic violence has been occurring for over a hundred years. According to Pamela Prah, violence against women has been reported since ancient Roman times and has been commonplace in America since Colonial times. Women in other countries are still facing very brutal acts of domestic violence such as wife-burning in India and forced prostitution in Asia. Domestic violence can be triggered by many things such as substance abuse, alcohol, and even stress. In most cases, children who are brutally abused by a loved one will end up becoming a violent partner and also an abusive parent and the cycle will most likely continue.
Overmedication of today’s youth The overmedication of youth in today’s society is an overwhelming issue. Over sixty percent of children are on some type of long term prescription medication, Forty-one percent of which are under the age of 11. Some of these medications have severe and sometimes even fatal long term and short term side effects. Overmedicating today’s adolescents is a terrible epidemic that is sweeping the nation. A lot of parents today tend to consider their children “too energetic”, “Moody” or “Hyper” and therefore believe they are ADD, ADHD, or Bipolar even when they might not be.
Prenatal exposure to substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs result in numerous castes of irreversible birth defects. Birth defects related to drinking, smoking, and the intake of illegal drugs are entirely preventable. Research has shown that approximately twenty percent of all women consume alcohol or smoke a cigarette during their pregnancy; four percent of those women consume some manner of an illegal drug such as marijuana or cocaine. Susceptibility to these substances ensue in birth defects such as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), low body weight, sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS), and mental retardation just to name a few. Abstinence of such substances is the best way to ensure the birth of a healthy baby.