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UCCS / Psychology / PSY 3620 / What are the environmental hazards?

What are the environmental hazards?

What are the environmental hazards?


School: University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Department: Psychology
Course: Developmental Psychology
Professor: Sandy wurtele
Term: Spring 2016
Cost: 25
Name: Week 2 Notes
Description: Here is what we discussed for chapter 2. A lot of what the guest speaker talked about is also in there!
Uploaded: 02/06/2017
4 Pages 23 Views 3 Unlocks

Prenatal Influences

What are the environmental hazards?

Introduction and Disclaimer

∙ Although the fetus is protected from most harmful influences by the placental barrier, it is not entirely safe.

∙ Poisons and drugs taken during pregnancy can affect the developing fetus.  ∙ Most of the child’s characteristics are the consequences of complex  interactions between genetically transmitted factors and environmental  influences (nature AND nurture)

∙ The majority of babies (95%) are born perfectly normal, with no significant  birth defects. Most pregnancies go well.  

∙ Low birth weight – baby weighing less than 5.5 lbs, LBW increases risk factors (more likely to die, have mental retardation, hyperactivity, etc.)  o Too big of a baby – C-sections are required  

What is maternal stress?


∙ One child – one sperm, one egg

∙ Monozygotic – identical twins, one sperm, one egg splits

∙ Dizygotic – fraternal twins, one sperm fertilizes two eggs  


∙ Age of Parent  

o Mother: 20-35 years old

 Risk of being teenage mom – reproductive organs have not  

matured completely, nor has the pelvic muscle expanded large  enough to get the baby out  

 Key to health of baby – mom’s prenatal care and a young mom  (14-15 years old) does not get that  

 Older mom – risk factors increase (Down’s Syndrome), eggs are  however old you are, baby is born with LBW  

o Father: Under 50-55 years old  

What kind of exercise is good for pregnant women?

 Evidence shows that fathers who are older than 50 when they  conceive, have increased risk for limb abnormality, autism,  If you want to learn more check out What we can see with the given light out in space?

bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia Don't forget about the age old question of Do onions have negative change?

∙ Diet

o Quantity – mom should consume 10-20% more calories, gain 20-35 lbs  if mom is of normal weight to begin with

 Obese mothers – babies with risk of cleft lip, spina bifida, etc. o Quality

 Increase in protein, calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid (helps protect  against neural tube defects)

 Folic acid comes from prenatal vitamins, vegetables, etc.  

 Father: deficiency of Vitamin C can damage sperm which can  cause birth defects  

∙ Drugs

o Terms

 Teratogen – substance or condition capable of producing fetal  abnormalities; birth-defect-producing

∙ Comes from Greek word “terat” which means monster  Critical and sensitive periods – any period when the developing  organism is especially susceptible to environmental influences. ∙ For the fetus, the embryonic period (4th-8th week after  implantation) is considered a critical period when serious  defects are most likely to occur

∙ 4th week – a time when a lot of women don’t even know  they’re pregnant and still this is one of the fetus’s critical  period  

o Interactions are important: Effects depend on the TYPE of drug,  AMOUNT of chemical, WHEN it’s consumed, the DURATION of the  consumption, and the WHAT OTHER DRUGS are used  We also discuss several other topics like How to describe the multiple functions of cell division?

∙ Interactions between teratogenic agents  

o Tobacco – teratogen  

 Effects on baby: lower birth weight, respiratory problems,  asthma, middle-ear infections, hyperactivity, short attention  span, lower academic performance, cancer

 Smoking lowers fertility, increases miscarriages/still-borns/pre mature babies, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

 Smoking results in lack of oxygen – detrimental to fetus as they  grow poorly without oxygen  

 Nicotine restricts blood vessels, so fetus gets less nutrients o Alcohol

 If there are high doses of alcohol/alcoholic mother, there is a risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) If you want to learn more check out What blame mean?

 Instead of trimesters, people use this to explain what neurons do when developing

∙ Proliferation (0-7 weeks) – grow exponentially

∙ Migration (8-15 weeks) – travel to certain places in brain ∙ Differentiation (16-25 weeks) – define what they do  We also discuss several other topics like What are the seven universal facial expressions?

∙ Continued Differentiation (26-39 weeks) - defining

∙ Radiation (made neurons stop short while migrating)

∙ Alcohol (made neurons keep going when they were  

migrating)  If you want to learn more check out How is the gordon growth model calculated?

 Severe mental retardation, microcephaly (smaller head size),  facial abnormalities, heart disorders, hyperactivity, LBW   First couple of months of pregnancy is the time where babies are most susceptible to these risks  

 Safe limit? – should avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy  and while breastfeeding  

o Other Drugs/Medication

 Thalidomide – tranquilizer that helped morning sickness ∙ Mat Fraser – American Horror Story actor

o His mom took this medication and it stopped nerve  

buds for limbs to form – resulted in Phocomelia

 Diethylstilbestrol (DES) – resulted in vaginal abnormalities,  

cervical cancer, birth problems in female children; sterility,  

testicular cancer in male children

∙ Synthetic hormone (estrogen) given to moms between  

1947-1971 to prevent miscarriages  

∙ Mothers themselves who took DES were two times more  

likely to have breast cancer  

 Acutance (drug for acne) – results in malformed faces, heart  defects, mental retardation

 Cocaine – results in low birth weight, smaller head size, later  learning problems, ADHD

 Antibiotics (tetracycline and streptomycin) – results in congenital abnormalities of skeleton and teeth  

 Caffeine

 Aspirin

 Cannabis THC crosses the placenta  


∙ Rubella (German measles) – if during the 1st trimester, it results in blind, deaf, heart defects, MR  

∙ STDs  

∙ AIDs – results in death (eventually)  

Environmental Hazards

∙ Atomic radiation

∙ Tests for fetal defects (X-rays, sonogram/ultrasound, amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling)

∙ Pollution, work place toxins, pesticides, chemicals in food/cosmetics ∙ Natural disasters  

Maternal Stress

∙ Stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline) cause capillary constriction, also cross  the placenta

∙ Correlation between high stress and LBW, pregnancy and birth complications ∙ Guest Speaker – Mary Coussons-Read

o Epigenetics – looking at prenatal events that set up entire life  o To keep pregnancy (and people in general) healthy, there is a balance  of the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems –  


 Stress tips this balance

o Inflammatory Response – adaptive response to noxious conditions  Attempt to restore homeostasis

 Infection, tissue injury  

o Stress to mom during pregnancy – increased Type 2 diabetes, early  death, etc.

 Major physiological changes occur during pregnancy to the  

immune system so that moms’ bodies don’t reject the baby

 Usually, pregnancy decreases stress/inflammatory responses,  but if moms do get these, there are poor outcomes (pre-mature  labor/delivery)

o Stress effects – premature birth, LBW babies, children have more  illnesses/behavioral and developmental delays  

o Prenatal stressors – abuse, job loss, food insecurity, poverty, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of social support, partner deployment, “negative feelings  about household roles”  

o Central hypothesis – prenatal stress alters pregnancy outcome by  increasing inflammatory and stress hormone activity  


∙ Good for pregnant women?  

∙ What kind of exercise? – moderate  

∙ Risk of exercising? – when mom’s body temperature is up, so is the baby’s  therefore a mom must be careful not to overheat her fetus

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