Growth and Development: Drugs: Drinking and Smoking, Environmental Pollution (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

Get unlimited access to the best preparation resource for ICSE/Class-10 : get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of ICSE/Class-10.


Many drugs are suspected of producing birth defects if they are taken during pregnancy. These include some antibiotics, hormones and steroids. Many a time one finds pregnant women taking medicine without realizing its impact on the fetus. It can be harmful or even prove fatal to the unborn child.

Drinking and Smoking

  • Drinking by pregnant women can produce fetal alcohol syndrome. The symptoms of this condition include retarded prenatal and postnatal growth, premature birth, mental retardation, physical malformations, sleep disturbances and congenital heart disease.
  • Smoking by a pregnant woman retards the growth of the fetus and lowers the newborn՚s birth weight and resistance to illness. It also increases the chances of spontaneous abortion and premature birth and may affect long-term physical and cognitive development. Caffeine is also likely to cause abortion, still birth and premature birth of the child.

Environmental Pollution

Environmental Pollution
  • Exposure of pregnant women to environmental pollution can seriously affect the developing foetus. For instance, pregnant women can absorb lead from car exhaust, paint flaking off the walls in old houses and other materials used in industrial establishments.
  • The high levels of lead exposures are consistently linked to prematurity, low birth weight, brain damage and slightly poor mental development during the first two years. It may also lead to a variety of physical defects.

Other Contextual Factors

Certain contextual factors such as socio-economic status of a child՚s family, their living conditions, family structure, child rearing practices and the society at large also impact growth and development of children.

Socio-Economic Background

Children from different socio-economic backgrounds may vary in terms of their growth and development. This is on account of factors like nutrition, number of illnesses and overall standards of health. Lack of opportunities and exposure, especially in early years, lead to a lag in certain aspects of development.

Living Conditions, Illness and Accidents

  • If living conditions are poor, children may suffer from a variety of diseases leaving them with stunted growth and development. Some homes lack proper sunlight and ventilation. Unhygienic living conditions within homes and outside make children susceptible to water-borne diseases like Diarrhoea, typhoid and many other ailments of the stomach.
  • Respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases are frequent among many children brought up in an unhygienic environment which may even prove fatal. Children who grow up in unhygienic conditions are also likely to catch common illnesses like measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, Diarrhoea and diphtheria.

Family Structure

Shrinking family size clubbed with the busy schedules of the parents due to their work commitments often leave the children being socialized by different forms of media and technology. Children՚s engagement with modern day gadgets such as phones, laptops, tablets and televisions may impact their overall growth and development.

Child-Rearing Practices

  • Some parents are authoritarian and make strict rules and regulations that the children must follow. This creates fear and insecurity in the children. On the other hand, some parents take children՚s choices and opinions into consideration while deciding anything for children.
  • Thus, child rearing practices may have positive or negative impact on the children՚s development. A balanced attitude of parents towards children creates pleasant experiences and favorable environment that helps children to become confident, have high self-esteem and find people around them trustworthy.

Enabling and Stimulating Environment

  • An enabling and stimulating environment both at home and at school is essential for children՚s healthy growth and development. The development of children will be positive in a home where they are encouraged to play and interact freely with parents and caregivers.
  • This promotes all the domains of development. Similarly, it is also necessary that children are allowed to ask questions and given an opportunity to explore and experiment at school. If their enthusiasm is curbed and they are discouraged for participating, then their cognitive and socio-emotional development is likely to get affected.

Developed by: