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Effects of Alcohol and Nicotine on Fetal Development and Child Psychological Development: According to the Teratogenic Effect

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Maternal smoking during pregnancy (SDP) is associated with numerous adverse outcomes in offspring, such as cognitive problems (Batty et al. 2006; Gilman et al. 2008a, b) and criminal behavior (D’Onofrio et al. 2010a, b; Brennan et al. 2002; Wakschlag et al. 2002). These associations are often attributed to the causal effects of teratogenic insults on the developing offspring (for reviews, see Wakschlag et al. 2002; Cornelius and Day 2009). Several lines of evidence support this causal inference, as animal models have suggested neural mechanisms (e.g., interference with cell proliferation and growth; Guerri 1998) by which neurodevelopmental effects may occur (Nordberg et al. 1991); dose-dependent effects have been found in which greater exposure is associated with more adverse outcomes (Huijbregts et al. 2008); and associations have been replicated across multiple samples (Cnattingius 2004; Wakschlag et al. 2006). Maternal SDP does not occur in isolation of other familial risk factors, however, and a causal relationship cannot be established until plausible alternative causes for these effects are ruled out (Rutter et al. 2001; Shadish et al. 2002).
Risk factors for offspring maladjustment that co-occur with maternal SDP include teenage motherhood (Ellingson et al. 2012), single-parent households (Ellingson et al. 2012), lower parental socioeconomic status (Monuteaux et al. 2006), lower levels of parental educational attainment (Gilman et al. 2008a, b), parental externalizing traits (e.g., criminal behavior; Maughan et al. 2004), limited prenatal care (Cornelius et al. 2001), poorer parenting (e.g., poor supervision; Wakschlag et al. 1997), and marital instability (Wakschlag et al. 1997), to name a few examples. Further, maternal s...


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Mattson, S. N., Schoenfeld, A. M., & Riley, E. P. (2001). Teratogenic effects of alcohol on brain and behavior. Alcohol Research & Health, 25(3), 185-191.
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Nwoke, M. B. (2008, 07). The effects of teratogens on the health of developing human beings. 8th biennial international conference on alcohol, drugs and society in africa, Chelsea Hotel, Central Area, Abuja.
Skogerbø, A., Kesmodel, U., Denny, C., Kjaersgaard, M., Wimberley, T., Landrø, N., & Mortensen, E. (2013). The effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption and binge drinking in early pregnancy on behaviour in 5-year-old children: a prospective cohort study on 1628 children. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology,120(9), 1042-1050. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12208






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