A teratogen is any medication, chemical, infectious disease, or environmental agent that could interfere with the development of the fetus during pregnancy. The result may be loss of the pregnancy, a birth defect, or pregnancy complications.
Common teratogens may include:
- prescribed or over-the-counter medications or vaccinations
- diseases or infections
- exposure in the workplace, at home, or in the community to chemical agents such as paints, varnishes, and pesticides
- exposure to physical agents such as excessive heat or radiation
- excessive consumption of agents known or suspected of being harmful to the developing baby such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, vitamins or illicit drugs