If you’re pregnant, there may be many times where you really want to reach for that glass of red wine in the evening. But, we’re sure that you’ve been strictly warned to stay away. Here’s why. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a serious chronic condition caused when a pregnant mother consumes alcohol at any point during her term. There is no safe limit so pregnant mothers are advised to strictly avoid alcohol throughout their pregnancy. There is no one medical test for FAS but there are several symptoms that can signal the condition.1
1. Unique Physical Appearance
Children born with FAS often have narrow and small eyes. They may have a small head and upper jaw. They can also have a smooth groove in the upper lip, and a smooth and thin upper lip. They will be below the average weight and height. Most FAS babies are born small and underweight.
2. Problems With Internal Organs
The earliest potential sign of FAS that can be detected via ultrasound is a heart murmur. Most often, kids with FAS will have an irregular heartbeat. A common defect is a hole in the wall that separates the right and left chambers of the heart. They may have deformities in the liver, kidney, and bones as well.
3. Poor Coordination
They will have poor motor coordination. This means that they will have issues with things like balance, picking up, throwing, and catching things, holding a pencil, and other simple tasks. A baby with FAS may take a lot longer to reach milestones like sitting up or crawling.
4. Behavioral Problems
Babies with FAS are often irritable and moody. This is because of alcohol withdrawal. As they grow older, this may develop into antisocial behavior such as drug or alcohol abuse.
5. Cognitive Problems
These children will have low IQ and may have learning disabilities as well as attention problems. They may have issues with memory as well.
If you are pregnant refrain from any amount of any kind of alcohol.This is applicable if you are looking to get pregnant as well. It may take some time before you can confirm that you are pregnant. In this time, your fetus would have started the first few weeks of development and drinking alcohol during this crucial stage can have serious consequences. If you fear that you may have had alcohol during the early weeks of your pregnancy, let your doctor know so he or she can access the situation and provide appropriate treatment and attention.
When a pregnant mother drinks during her term, the alcohol gets metabolized in her body and eventually reaches the fetus. The baby does not have a fully developed functioning liver yet to process the alcohol. Hence it causes serious damage to other developing organs. This is the main cause of this condition. Alcohol interferes with the healthy development of several important organs including the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys.
Without treatment, the symptoms may worsen as the child develops into adulthood. The syndrome itself is incurable but it can be managed. The best way to treat the condition is to diagnose it early. This allows the child to get the proper support he/she needs and the parents can receive appropriate counseling as well.
- Children with FAS who grow up in loving supportive homes show much more improvement at dealing with their symptoms.
- Children can receive physical therapy to help improve motor coordination.
- They can be given special attention to help them overcome learning disabilities and other cognitive problems
- They may also need sufficient psychological support to deal with mood problems and other behavioral issues
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a real risk that comes from alcohol use in pregnancy. If you are pregnant, or looking to get pregnant but also have an alcohol dependency, approach your health care provider who will provide access to mental health care and support.
|↑1||Fetal alcohol syndrome. MedlinePlus.|