Pregnancy is a very delicate moment for both mother and child. In particular, during the interesting state some external agents (known as teratogens) may interact with the genome of the embryo and the new mother, which is particularly fragile. These agents are the same agents that can cause genome abnormalities, stopping vital biochemical processes and reducing the number of cells needed for the development of organs and tissues.

An abnormal embryogenesis may later prove to be a delay in development, a structural and neurodevelopmental disorder and, in some cases, a more serious one in situations that are incompatible with life. Therefore, it is very important to carefully follow all the guidelines relating to exposure to the most dangerous factors for the health of both, i.e. mother and child.

What are the most dangerous agents?

Rubella - rubeotest can be used to assess the antibody titre and then vaccinate. In the event of failure, the child may suffer damage to vision and neurodevelopmental development.

Chicken pox - chicken pox infection can only be dangerous if the mother is infected between the 12th and 20th weeks.

Toxoplasmosis - is caused by contamination through cats or from the soil contaminated by faeces of the same, or by eating contaminated vegetables, raw meat or poorly cooked (especially pork, lamb and beef). The infection can be transmitted through the placenta. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines against Toxoplasmosis. Therefore, prevention remains the best solution. Toxoplasmosis can put the child's health at risk by preventing brain development or by showing visual disturbances, epileptic seizures and mental retardation.

Hepatitis B virus or jaundice - during the interesting state there is a control of HbsAg, which allows the detection of the hepatitis B virus, through a blood test. If contracted during pregnancy it is very dangerous for the fetus as it can cause fetal and neonatal hepatitis.

Hepatitis A,C,E viruses - greatly influence the development of the child's nervous system.

Cytomegalovirus - can cause very serious effects on the embryo, such as microcephaly, mental retardation and lack of vision. In some cases, the effects may even occur later, i.e. during the child's development.

Herpes Simplex - the virus is never completely eliminated from our body, but hides in the nucleus of the neurons of the skin nerve endings and returns to manifest cyclically when the body's immune defenses are low. The possibility of infection of the unborn child is very rare. The mother can transmit the virus to the foetus, but at the same time it also transmits the antibodies present in her body, which protect her from the risk of infection.

Heavy metals and various workplace contaminations - working with chemicals in paints and smoke-infected environments are all conditions that put the health of the future child at risk. In fact, most of these pollutants significantly compromise the neurological development of the unborn child.

Alcohol - alcohol intake during pregnancy can cause FAS, i.e. fetal alcohol syndrome, in its most severe form, involving structural defects, mental retardation and poor growth.

Lucia Franco

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