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: FEBRURARY 29,2016

The Possible Effects of Maternal Behaviour on Foetal Development

Nutrition is the major intrauterine environmental factor that alters expression of the fetal genome
and may have lifelong consequences. Namely, alterations in fetal nutrition and endocrine status
may result in developmental adaptations that permanently change the structure, physiology, and
metabolism of the offspring, thereby predisposing individuals to metabolic, endocrine, and
cardiovascular diseases in adult life. Animal studies show that both maternal under nutrition and
over nutrition reduce placental-fetal blood flows and stunt fetal growth. Impaired placental
syntheses of nitric oxide (a major vasodilator and angiogenesis factor) and polyamines (key
regulators of DNA and protein synthesis) may provide a unified explanation for intrauterine
growth retardation in response to the 2 extremes of nutritional problems with the same pregnancy
outcome. There is growing evidence that maternal nutritional status can alter the epigenetic state
of the fetal genome. Promoting optimal nutrition will not only ensure optimal fetal development,
but will also reduce the risk of chronic diseases in adults.
Maternal nutrition plays a critical role in fetal growth and development. Although considerable
effort has been directed towards defining nutrient requirements of animals over the past 30 years,
suboptimal nutrition during gestation remains a significant problem for many animal species.
Maternal under nutrition during gestation reduces placental and fetal growth of both domestic
animals and humans. Available evidence suggests that fetal growth is most vulnerable to
maternal dietary deficiencies of nutrients during the peri-implantation period and the period of
rapid placental development. Under nutrition in pregnant women may result from low intake of
dietary nutrients owing to either a limited supply of food or severe nausea and vomiting known

as hyperemesis gravidarum. Pregnant women may also be at increased risk of under nutrition
because of early or closely-spaced pregnancies. Since pregnant teenage mothers are themselves
growing, they compete with their own fetuses for nutrients, whereas short interpregnancy
intervals result in maternal nutritional depletion at the outset of pregnancy. Low birth weights
and preterm deliveries in adolescent pregnancies are more than twice as common as in adult
pregnancies, and neonatal mortality in adolescent pregnancies is almost three times higher than
for adult pregnancies. Further, placental insufficiency results in reduced transfer of nutrients
from mother to fetus, thereby leading to fetal under nutrition and IUGR. Finally, due to
competition for nutrients, multiple fetuses resulting from assisted reproductive technologies are
often at risk of under nutrition and therefore fetal growth restriction. Thus, various nutritional
and pathological conditions can result in IUGR.
Pregnant women are usually recommended to avoid soft cheeses, smoked fish, precooked meats
and foods made with unpasteurized milk. These foods may contain a bacterium called Listeria.
This bacterium does not usually cause people much harm, but even a mild infection in a pregnant
woman may cause miscarriage.

Alcohol abuse
Drinking alcohol when you're pregnant can be very harmful to your baby. It can cause your baby
to have a range of lifelong health conditions. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause
miscarriage, preterm birth and stillbirth.
When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, so does your baby. The same amount of alcohol that
is in your blood is also in your baby's blood. The alcohol in your blood quickly passes through
the placenta and to your baby through the umbilical cord.

Although your body is able to manage alcohol in your blood, your baby's little body isn't. Your
liver works hard to break down the alcohol in your blood. But your baby's liver is too small to do
the same and alcohol can hurt your baby's development. That's why alcohol is much more
harmful to your baby than to you during pregnancy.
Alcohol can lead your baby to have serious health conditions, called fetal alcohol spectrum
disorders (FASD). The most serious of these is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Fetal alcohol
syndrome can seriously harm your baby's development, both mentally and physically.
Alcohol can also cause your baby to:

Have birth defects (heart, brain and other organs)

Vision or hearing problems

Be born too soon (preterm)

Be born at low birth weight

Have intellectual disabilities

Have learning and behavior problems

Have sleeping and sucking problems

Have speech and language delays

Have behavioral problems

Use of illegal and illicit drugs

It's possible that you may not have a serious or long-lasting problem after using drugs. But the
same is not always true for a fetus. Drug-using mothers often give birth to "drug babies." These
children have a host of developmental problems.
Studies show that using drugs -- legal or illegal -- during pregnancy has a direct impact on
the fetus. If you smoke, drink alcohol, or ingest caffeine, so does the fetus. If you use marijuana
or crystal meth, your fetus also feels the impact of these dangerous drugs. And if you are
addicted to cocaine -- also called coke, snow, or blow -- you're not only putting your own life on
the line, but you are risking the health of your unborn baby. The consequences of using cocaine
include heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, and seizures. And these life-threatening health
problems can also be passed to an unborn baby. Taking drugs during pregnancy also increases the
chance of birth defects, premature babies, underweight babies, and stillborn births. Exposure to
drugs such as marijuana -- also called weed, ganja, dope, or pot -- and alcohol before birth has
been proven to cause behavior problems in early childhood. These drugs can also affect the
child's memory and attentiveness. In addition, some findings show that babies born to women
who use cocaine, alcohol, or tobacco when they are pregnant may have brain structure changes
that persist into early adolescence.

While cocaine's effects are usually immediate, the effect it can have on a fetus may last a
lifetime. Babies born to mothers who smoke crack cocaine during pregnancy -- so-called ''crack
babies'' -- usually have their own set of physical and mental problems. According to the National
Institute on Drug Abuse, exposure to cocaine in the womb can lead to subtle, yet significant,
deficits later in children.

Cigarette Smoking
Smoking during pregnancy affects you and your babys before, during, and after your baby is
born. The nicotine (the addictive substance in cigarettes), carbon monoxide, and numerous other
poisons you inhale from a cigarette are carried through your bloodstream and go directly to your
baby. Smoking while pregnant will:

Lower the amount of oxygen available to you and your growing baby.

Increase your baby's heart rate.

Increase the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth.

Increase the risk that your baby is born prematurely and/or born with low birth weight.

Increase your baby's risk of developing respiratory (lung) problems.

Increases risks of birth defects.

Increases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The more cigarettes you smoke per day, the greater your baby's chances of developing these and
other health problems. There is no "safe" level of smoking while pregnant.
Carbon monoxide combines with haemoglobin (Hb) in the fetus red blood cells. If the Hb is
combined with carbon monoxide then it cannot combine with oxygen. So when a mother

smokes, she reduces the amount of oxygen being carried in her own bloods and also the babys
Nicotine reduces the diameter of the foetus blood vessels. This reduces the volume of blood that
can flow through them. This, too, reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the foetus developing
tissues. Nicotine also appears to affect the development of the nervous system.

Birth Control
Birth control methods include hormonal contraceptives, such as pills, shots and patches. Each
method and brand has a unique mixture of estrogen and progestin and delivery molecules that
can potentially affect a fetus. In most cases, taking birth control during the first four to eight
weeks of a pregnancy will have no ill side-effects on a fetus. Regardless of any potential risk
factors or lack thereof, stop taking birth control and consult a physician if pregnancy is likely.
The possibility of birth defects concerns many women who become pregnant while taking birth
control pills. However, there is no scientific evidence that taking birth control pills during early
pregnancy affects the rate of birth defects. The risk of miscarriage due to birth control is
possible; however, no statistical data in humans has been compiled Birth control affects the
amount of estrogen and progestin in the body in order to regulate the menstrual cycle... For
instance, reports that Yasmin has been placed in category X due to the fact that
animal studies have shown that some of the chemicals in Yasmin have produced miscarriages.
None of the statistics have been verified in humans.

Human Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology- Contraceptives

Effective public health programs, research, and policy relating to human sexuality, pregnancy,
contraception, and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) depends
upon knowledge of the structure(anatomy) and function (physiology) of the male and female
reproductive systems. Human beings are sexual throughout life. Sexuality encompasses more
than sexual behavior - it is not only the physical, but the mental and spiritual as well. Sexuality
is a core component of personality and a fundamental part of human life. While the problems
usually associated with sexual behavior are real and need to be addressed, human sexuality also
has significant meaning and value in each individual's life.
Sixty-one percent of all women worldwide who are within the reproductive age (15-44 years
old), are using methods of contraception (methods used to deliberately prevent pregnancy). No
method of contraception is 100% effective other than complete abstinence from sexual
intercourse. However, many methods exist that are close to 100% effective if used consistently
and correctly. People frequently fail to use their method every time or to use it perfectly. Thus,
even people using a method may face an unintended pregnancy. Factors contributing to
unintended pregnancy are complex, and may involve the interplay of emotional, psychosocial,

political, religious, cultural, and economic forces. Contraceptive effectiveness rates are estimates
of the probability that a pregnancy will occur during the first year of method use. Perfect use
refers to the effectiveness of a method when it is used consistently and correctly. Typical use
refers to the effectiveness of a method for the average person who does not always use the
method correctly and consistently. Birth control is a regimen of one or more actions, devices, or
medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of a woman
becoming pregnant. Methods and intentions typically termed birth control may be considered a
pivotal ingredient to family planning. Mechanisms which are intended to reduce the likelihood of
the fertilization of an ovum by a sperm may more specifically be referred to as contraception.
Contraception differs from abortion in that the former prevents fertilization, while the latter
terminates an already established pregnancy. Methods of birth control (e.g. the pill, IUDs,
implants, patches, injections, vaginal ring and some others) which may prevent the implantation
of an embryo if fertilization occurs are medically considered to be contraception.

Refrain from sexual




No sperm in vagina








Intercourse is

fertilization is only


avoided for about an

possible during 8-day

8-day span every

span in middle of

month in middle of

menstrual cycle

her cycle, from about

five days before
ovulation to three
days after ovulation.

The man withdraws

sperm are unable to

his penis from the

enter vagina if male

vagina at just the

penis is removed at

right moment before

the right time

Tubal Ligation

Oviducts are cut and



Hormonal IUD

Flexible, plastic coil

Releases small


inserted by physician

amounts of estrogen.


In most cases, stops


egg from developing



No eggs in oviduct

Almost 99%

About 75%

About 99%

May cause

and being released,

but can also operate
by killing a fertilized
egg by preventing its

Hormone medication

Stops release of FSH

More than

Blood clots,


taken daily

and LH, but can also


especially in

operate by killing a


fertilized egg by
preventing its

Tubes of

Stops release of FSH

More than



and LH, but can also


implanted under the

operate by killing a


fertilized egg by

None known

preventing its

Injections of

Stops release of FSH



and LH, but can also

About 99%


operate by killing a
fertilized egg by
preventing its

Latex cup inserted

Blocks entrance of


Latex or

into vagina to cover

sperm into uterus



cervix before

about 90%


Almost 85%

UTI, latex or

Cervical Cap

Latex cup held by

Delivers spermicide

suction over cervix

near cervix



Polyurethane liner

Blocks entrance of


fitted inside vagina

sperm into uterus and

Almost 85%




About 75%

UTI, allergy to

prevents STDs
Male Condom

soft sheath, made of

Blocks entrance of

latex or animal

sperm into vagina

membrane, encloses

and prevents STD's

penis, trapping
ejaculated sperm
Jellies, Cream,

Spermicidal products

Kills large number of


inserted before



Natural Family

Keep record of

Avoid sexual


ovulation using

intercourse near

various methods


Vagina cleansed


About 70%

None known

Washes out sperm

Less than 70%

None known

Pill taken after

Prevents release of

About 89%

Same as oral


egg, fertilization of

after intercourse
Plan B Pill

egg, but can also

operate by killing a
fertilized egg by
preventing its


Different types of