Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

August 4, 20130 Comments

Fetal alcohol syndrome is the effect of alcohol on the growing fetus when the pregnant woman consumes it. Side effects and problems caused to the fetus by the alcohol are known as fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcohol can have strong effect on the fetus like causing mental retardation, physical deformity and behavior problems on the child. The intensity of the effect caused by the alcohol on the child varies widely but the defects gained by birth are mostly irreversible. By drinking alcohol, (even in small quantity) you are placing enough risk on your baby.

Symptoms :

Fetal alcohol syndrome is commonly seen as cluster of birth defect caused by the prenatal exposure to alcohol. The range of disorders is classified as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. It is one of the major causes for mental retardation of the child. The baby prone to alcohol exposure inside the uterus will have low birth weight and has a smaller head than the normal child. He/she would have range of physical abnormalities like flat cheekbones, small eye openings, not fully grown philtrum (small groove that exists between the upper lip and the nose) and various organ dysfunctions.

The child can have developmental delay and may suffer from neurological problems like epilepsy and behavioral disorders. He may have poor social skills and difficulty in learning and memorizing. He may lack fine motor skills and may have problems in understanding concepts like time and money. He may be hyperactive and hypersensitive and stubborn or withdrawn from social activities. The baby might have congenital heart problems.

Causes :

Drinking alcohol by the pregnant woman is the main cause for fetal alcohol syndrome. When a pregnant lady drinks alcohol, it mixes with the blood and reaches the growing fetus through placenta. The child cannot metabolize alcohol like an adult and hence alcohol stays for long time in the baby’s blood. This can produce irreversible effect on the child before it is born.

Alcohol has the capacity to disrupt the normal flow of oxygen and nutrition that are essential for the growing baby. It will cause serious deformity on the organs, tissues of the baby including the brain. You are putting the life of your baby at risk by drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The effect of alcohol can occur anytime during the stages of pregnancy, but is profound during the first trimester (first 3 months) of pregnancy. It is the period when the organs develop on the zygote and many women will not be aware that they are pregnant.

Tests :

A pediatrician will examine the body of the baby as soon as it is born. For checking the symptoms of FAS, your doctor will check the facial features, condition of the heart, his vision, his growth rate and his motor skills. It cannot be assessed as soon as the baby is born and can only be diagnosed as the child grows. Your doctor will carefully watch his ability and growth for making any diagnoses.

Quantity of Alcohol Intake :

There are no fixed volumes of alcohol that would not cause any risk to the growing fetus. Drinking even little of alcohol can do the same damage as drinking daily. Various factors like age of the mother, time she takes alcohol and whether she has taken food before drinking determines the intensity of adverse effect on the child.

Drinking alcohol has to be stopped completely by woman who aims to become pregnant. You are putting the life of your child at risk by having alcohol at any stage of pregnancy. It can cause serious consequences on the brain and affect the nervous system of the child apart from producing birth defects.

Treatment :

No treatment is available for congenital defect inherited due to fetal alcohol syndrome. Some of the physical defects and abnormalities can be set right through surgery, therapy or treatment. But not all the birth defects can be treated. Counseling can be given to the child to manage behavioral problem and to develop learning skills.

Coping and Support :

It is difficult to raise a child with fetal alcohol syndrome and hence getting support from the professionals and family is very essential. Such children are to be taught living skills for managing day-to-day activities. Some sensitive behaviors are difficult to manage for the parent.

Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome :

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Prevention :

The ideal way to avoid fetal alcohol syndrome is to stay away from alcohol. In case you drink daily, meet your doctor before you plan to get pregnant.

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