Worldwide, at least 7.9 million people are born with a birth defect every year. About 10% of birth defects are caused due to environmental factors. The risk identification for exposure to such factors is of paramount importance as this form of birth defects can be prevented to a large extent if appropriate caution is taken.
The environmental factors can be classified into 3 broad categories namely-
► Chemical sources- drugs and substances such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, commonly used medicines
► Biological sources- various microorganisms
► Physical sources- heat, radiation
Anything that circulates in the maternal blood can cross the placenta and reach the fetus. Substances that are capable of producing abnormalities during intrauterine development are called as teratogens.
Environmental causes of birth defects are related to the mother's health and exposure to chemicals or diseases. The developing baby is particularly vulnerable to environmental factors between 5-10th week of pregnancy.
Exposure to environmental factors can cause a wide range of birth defects like mental retardation, vision problems, deafness, cerebral palsy, heart defects, cleft palate, etc. Prior detection of abnormalities during the gestational period ensures better preparation at the time of birth. Parents can also opt between termination of pregnancy or non-intervention, if serious birth defects are detected.
Latest Publications and Research on Environmental Birth DefectsUnderstanding Neurological Disease Mechanisms in the Era of Epigenetics. - Published by PubMed
Skin Basement Membrane: The Foundation of Epidermal Integrity-BM Functions and Diverse Roles of Bridging Molecules Nidogen and Perlecan. - Published by PubMed
Estrogen-Related Receptor ? (ERR?) Regulates Oxygen-Dependent Expression of Voltage-gated Potassium (K+) Channels and Tissue Kallikrein during Human Trophoblast Differentiation. - Published by PubMed
Associations of anorectal malformations and related syndromes. - Published by PubMed
Understanding the physiology of schizophrenia. - Published by PubMed