Ψ Teratology is the study of birth defects; it is a science of risk management.
Ψ Teratogens are the agents & conditions that can impair prenatal development.
Teratogen effect is influenced by
1. the timing of exposure. The time of greatest
susceptibility to teratogens is called the critical period. There may also be an interaction effect whereby the risk of a teratogen causing harm increases when it occurs at the same time as other teratogen or risk.
2. the amount of exposure. Some teratogens have a threshold effect; that is they are virtually harmless until exposure reaches a certain level.
3. genetic vulnerability.
Specific Teratogens include:
• retinoic acid
• most hormones
Nonprescription drugs: such as aspirin, antacids, & diet pills
Ψ The FDA has established guidelines for drug companies to follow in regards to labeling medications about their affects on reproduction & pregnancy. The FDA Drug Category Ratings can be found on the internet.
Ψ Watch These:
Ψ Thalidomide (tha-lid-o-mide) - first marketed in Europe in the late 1950's. It was used as a sleeping pill & to treat morning sickness during pregnancy. At that time no one knew thalidomide caused birth defects. In 1998, the FDA gave approval for it to be marketed in the U.S. specifically for the treatment of a variation of leprosy. Now that the drug is approved it can be prescribed by doctors for other conditions. Because it may become more available to woman capable of child bearing, be warned!
Ψ Accutane is a prescription medication used to treat severe modular acne. Accutane can cause severe, life-threatening birth defects if the mother takes the medication during pregnancy. Even one dose of Accutane can cause major birth defects of the baby's ears, eyes, face, skull, heart, & brain. Never use Accutane if you are pregnant.
Pregnant women should avoid any medication unless it is recommended by a doctor.
• Alcohol can = FAE & FAS
Things You Should do When Planning a Pregnancy
• Take a multivitamin supplement that has 400 micrograms of folic acid & no more
than 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of other nutrients.
• Quit smoking.
• Discontinue alcohol use.
• Discontinue all street drug use & obtain addiction counseling if needed.
• Review all medical problems (including STDs) with your doctor.
• Review all prescription medication use with your doctor.
• Stop using any unnecessary over-the-counter medications.
• Gain or loss weight as appropriate, exercise.
• Avoid Toxoplasmosis. This germ is commonly found in raw meat, sheep, lambs &
cat feces. To avoid it:
• Wash your hands after handling raw meat.
• Do not eat raw or undercooked (rare) meat.
• Wash salads & vegetables as any dirt may have been contaminated by cat faeces.
• Wash your hands after handling cats & kittens.
• Get someone else to clean out any cat litter trays when you are pregnant.
• Always wear gloves when gardening.
• Avoid sheep, especially during the lambing season.