Birth Defects because of Prescription Drug Use During Pregnancy

Many factors can give rise to a birth defect: genetic pre-disposition, environment and chromosomal abnormalities to name a few. Chemical birth defects are those caused by the ingestion of certain drugs during pregnancy that alter fetal growth and development resulting in harmful defects in babies. Prescription drugs are commonly blameworthy in cases of chemical birth defects and the FDA has issued warnings against the use of many prescription medications that pose a risk to developing embryos and fetuses.

Exposure to chemicals causing birth defects is extremely common in the workplace. For mothers who work in close proximity to harmful chemicals, such as teratogens, the risk of fetal issues rises significantly. One study estimates as many as 80,000 different chemicals are used in American workplaces ranging from the health care industry to manufacturing plants. Those that work in agricultural jobs or are exposed to harmful pesticides and fungicides are also at risk for significant birth defects.

Some birth defects manifest in the form of malformed or missing limbs or organ systems. Clubfoot, cleft palate and underdeveloped and missing organs are often attributed to chemical birth defects. Some physical abnormalities are treatable while others are not. Heart defects are common in babies born of mothers employed in agricultural or fishing jobs.

Neurological issues are also commonly attributed to chemical birth defects. Spina bifida is a birth defect affecting the spinal column of newborns causing abnormal openings in the spine that do not close in time for birth. Brain damage, anencephaly and hydrocephalus are all potentially deadly defects caused by exposure to chemicals in utero.

Children are also at risk for developing leukemia if their mother worked in a high-risk industry involving the use of Beryllium- a known carcinogen. Leukemia is a form of cancer affecting red blood cells and bone marrow.

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