Teratogens are substances, agents, or agents that can cause harm to the developing fetus. These teratogens can be physical, biological or chemical in nature and have the potential to cause developmental defects and birth defects during pregnancy. The most common and well-known examples of teratogens include drugs, alcohol and cigarettes (Stover & Hockenberry, 2018).
The use of some types of drugs has been linked to an increased risk of abnormalities in newborns. Drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines have been shown to increase the risk of miscarriages, preterm labor and stillbirths (Stover & Hockenberry, 2018). In addition, regular exposure to these drugs has also been associated with low birth weight babies as well as withdrawal symptoms after delivery. Other neurologically active drugs such as marijuana may affect fetal brain development by disrupting normal cell division processes which can lead to microcephaly (Borja et al., 2016).
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