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Drug-Exposed Infants - Research Paper Example

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Running Head: Sociology Drug-Exposed Infants Research Paper Name Name of Professor Introduction Drugs are one of the major environmental factors identified to contribute to biological or physiological deformities in infants…
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Drug-Exposed Infants

Download file to see previous pages... One of the major explanations for this uncertainty about the specific impacts of drugs on prenatal and perinatal growth is the fact that these impacts are variable (Lewis & Bendersky, 1995). The duration of exposure to drugs or the interaction among environmental factors and chemicals in drugs can affect the kind and seriousness of the effect. This essay discusses the biological risk factors that can influence prenatal and perinatal development of drug-exposed infants. Biological risk factors can have their beginnings prior to pregnancy, during the prenatal period, the perinatal stage, or the period after birth. Perinatal risks could occur from birth abnormalities or illnesses, or a mixture of prenatal difficulties and complications that take place during the final stage of pregnancy. It is currently believed that numerous extremely low-birth-weight infants have been exposed to pre- and postnatal problems, such as exposure to drugs and other substances (Chandler & Lane, 1996). Not unlike exposure to alcohol, drug use can have major impacts on the growing fetus. For instance, the use of marijuana or cocaine during pregnancy could lead to miscarriage, smaller head size, low birth weight, or premature birth. Prenatal drug exposure has been linked to dysfunctional brain processes. Although there are no marked effects in infant at birth, the effect of prenatal drug exposure normally can become manifest later in life (Kenner & Lott, 2007). These prenatally drug-exposed infants can experience behavioral difficulties and problems concentrating or focusing their attention. The outcomes of drug exposure are more manifest in the early phases of pregnancy when the fetus’s vital organs are growing. Gaining accurate knowledge of the important function of timing is crucial, in that the fetus is greatly at risk at a time when a lot of women are not aware that they are pregnant. As a consequence, even the use of ‘recreational’ drugs can substantially impact the development of the fetus (Chandler & Lane, 1996). Exposure to marijuana produces an unusually large amount of carboxyhemoglobin in the pregnant woman, which can cause a persistent mild fetal hypoxia—reduction of oxygen supply to the body (Green-Hernandez, Singleton, & Aronzon, 2001, 283). Less apparent impacts are delayed cognitive problems as an outcome of hypoxia in the growing central nervous system. Drug exposure could also lead to hypoxic disorder by bringing about vasospasm—contractions of blood vessels—with secondary reduction in blood flow to the damaged parts. These damages can take place in the brain. Placental damages can lead to premature birth, making the infant more vulnerable to the other dangers of prematurity (Green-Hernandez et al., 2001, 283-284). According to Nwoke (2008), opiate-exposed infants have more premature lung development, perhaps resultant to chronic fetal disorder. Prenatal stage is an extremely sensitive stage of the human life, and the risk of structural abnormalities brought about by drugs is more considerable in the embryonic phase. Research on the impacts of drugs on the fetus during the prenatal stages is abundant and varied and can be detrimental to the growing fetus; and the risk includes a range of environmental and biological factors (Nwoke, 2008). It is discovered that drugs can be inside the physiological system of a woman prior to conception and it can affect the fetus at birth or noticeable later in life. Addis and colleagues (2001) ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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