Pregnancy is an amazing experience for most mothers, and taking care of them during the antenatal period is crucial to ensure the good health of the mother and baby. During pregnancy, mothers are cautioned against several teratogens and hazards that threaten the appropriate prenatal development of the baby. Teratogens are harmful agents that have the potential to cause congenital disabilities and negatively affect the cognitive and behavioral outcomes of the fetus after birth (Santrock, 2002). The potential of a teratogen to cause harmful effects depends on the dose, the genetic susceptibility of the embryo and mother, and the time of exposure to the teratogen. When a teratogen’s dose is high, the teratogen’s effects will be amplified.
Additionally, genetic susceptibility determines the severity of the teratogen’s effects on the mother’s body and the embryo’s development. On the other hand, exposure time is crucial as exposure to teratogens during the embryonic period is more dangerous than during the fetal period (Santrock, 2002). Therefore, the first trimester is particularly susceptible to teratogens, and understanding how these teratogens affect prenatal development is essential for all clinicians to advise pregnant women and aspiring mothers accordingly.
Considering the information provided in this case study, the patient is 43 years old, is nulliparous gravida one at four months gestation, and has consumed two glasses of wine every night for the entire first trimester. First, I will address the misconception that wine alleviates anxiety and maintains blood pressure during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption is dangerous even in a non-pregnant state; thus, its consumption during pregnancy is dangerous to the mother and the embryo considering the mother’s immunity is slightly lowered during pregnancy. The second issue I will address for this patient is the concerns of her family that they are super strict and overly protective for warning her against taking red wine during pregnancy. I will advise the patient that family care is important during pregnancy and essential for the stable mental state required during pregnancy. Considering it is her first time getting pregnant, the family worries about her health and chances of losing the pregnancy.
To address the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in the first trimester, I will educate the mother on the baby’s development milestones during this period and warn her of how alcohol consumption will negatively affect the fetus’s health. The most important organs developing during this period are the brain and spinal cord from the neural tube and the heart organs. Research indicates that consumption of alcohol during this period predisposes the baby to develop fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, including fetal alcohol syndrome, partial fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol –related neurodevelopmental and congenital disabilities (Santrock, 2002). Children born with these defects have learning problems, below-average intelligence, and may even be mentally retarded. Some congenital disabilities children may be born with include facial deformities, defective limbs, face, and the heart, predisposing them to cardiovascular complications (Wozniak et al., 2019).
Additionally, this patient pregnancy is risky, considering her age is above 35 years, meaning that she is at a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications that may prompt a C-section delivery and predispose the baby to a higher risk of chromosomal-related conditions such as down syndrome. Additionally, coupled with alcohol consumption, the risk of losing the pregnancy is higher; thus, care should be taken considering the patient is approaching menopause (Londero et al., 2019). Therefore on highlighting these dangers, I would advise the patient to quit consuming wine for the remaining part of her pregnancy and conduct an emergency ultrasound to check the baby’s development.
Londero, A. P., Rossetti, E., Pittini, C., Cagnacci, A., & Driul, L. (2019). Maternal age and the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes: a retrospective cohort study. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 19(1), 1-10.
Santrock, J. W. (2002). Life-span development.
Wozniak, J. R., Riley, E. P., & Charness, M. E. (2019). Clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The Lancet Neurology, 18(8), 760-770.