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Teratogens and their Effects on Prenatal Development

Teratogens and their Effects on Prenatal Development



Teratogens are ubiquitous toxins that affect prenatal development. Cleaning supplies, drugs, and alcohol are among the teratogens that we may encounter in our daily lives.

Use the Capella University Library and the Internet to research scholarly literature and medically reviewed websites, such as the Mayo Clinic and The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for information about teratogens and their effects on prenatal development.

Literature Search Resources

Use the following resources to locate articles, books, and other items related to your assignment topic in the Capella University Library:

Assessing Internet Sources

The websites listed in the resources for each assignment in this course are examples of reputable sources. When identifying reputable Internet sources, consider the following questions:

  • Who is the author? Is the individual or organization well-known in their field?
  • Who publishes the information? Is the publisher the same as the author?
  • Is the source reliable?
  • Does the source show a bias or intent?


Alcohol and tobacco products are widely known and well-publicized teratogens. For this assignment, select a teratogen other than alcohol or tobacco. Assume the role in the following scenario:

You are teaching at a local college and want to provide your students with an example of how a specific teratogen affects a critical trimester of fetal development, considering timing, dosage, duration, and genetics. Prepare a lecture, using relevant and recent references to illustrate and explain the implications of a selected teratogen on prenatal development and consider the impact of this teratogen on the individual, family, and society as well as ways to minimize the exposure. Be sure to consider any individual and cultural factors that may come into play when considering the impact of your teratogen and to write in a way that is appropriate for your target audience of undergraduate students.


A 2–3 page paper, suitable for a lecture to undergraduate students, explaining the implications of a selected teratogen on prenatal development that considers timing, dosage, duration, genetics, and the associated consequences and costs to families and society while also considering individual and cultural differences. The writing style should be direct and understandable, and include scholarly references.

Organize your lecture using the following headings:

  • Overview: Provide a summary of the teratogen.
    • Identify a specific teratogen and the type or amount of exposure that can harm fetal development.
      • Identify a common product or environmental pollutant that would be a concern for expectant parents (for example, lead-contaminated water).
        • Where is the teratogen commonly (or uncommonly) found?
        • What type, frequency, or amount of exposure is a concern?
        • Where is the teratogen commonly (or uncommonly) found?
  • Developmental Risks: Identify the specific risks to prenatal development. Identify the most critical trimester in prenatal development that the toxin affects (such as heart and lungs).
    • Summarize research that explains how a specific teratogen affects a trimester of prenatal development.
      • Illustrate (explain) how a specific teratogen harms fetal development in a critical trimester.
        • Explain why it is dangerous (for example, drugs cross the blood barrier).
          • For example, if the toxin affects lung development, what are the consequences?
        • Consider the role of health disparities as they relate to developmental risk.
  • Implications of Exposure:
    • Evaluate the potential impact or outcomes to family and society as a result of prenatal teratogen exposure while considering the role of health disparities.
      • What are the short-term and long-term outcomes from the exposure?
        • Other related costs or consequences as the result of exposure?
        • Special education costs?
        • Increased health care costs?
  • Minimize Exposure
    • Analyze recommendations from reputable sources for minimizing prenatal or postnatal exposure to a specific teratogen.
      • Analyze the quality of the research and the conclusions to prevent a specific teratogen exposure.
        • Identify prevention and intervention options.
        • Consider medical, social, and economic prevention strategies.

Additional Requirements

  • Length: 2–3 pages.
  • Written communication: Provide key health information using language and format that is comprehensible to a layperson. Write clearly and logically, with correct use of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.
  • Number of references: A minimum of five scholarly references is required (such as, academic journals); additional references from medically reviewed or professional, reputable websites, such as government sources, the Mayo Clinic, or WebMD, may be included.
  • APA formatting: References and citations should be formatted according to current APA style and format. See Evidence and APA.

Teratogens and their Effects on Prenatal Development