Fetal alcohol syndrome

You have been partying and having fun. You enjoy drinking though you never get drunk. Now you want to have a baby. You are not sure if you should give up on drinking. You have known many women who have been drinking in pregnancy, and yet had no problems. You are not sure what the risks are and what type of alcohol can cause harm to the baby. You are not sure if you can have an occasional drink. It seems very difficult to give up drinking for the entire period of your pregnancy. You are confused what you should do.

Alcohol during pregnancy

Alcohol consumption in pregnancy is dangerous as it can have deleterious effects on the developing baby. No amount of alcohol in pregnancy is safe. Abstain. Alcohol can affect the baby even before you know you are pregnant. Give up on drinking even if you are not planning to conceive. The earlier you stop the better.

There isn’t any safe amount or type of alcohol. Even wines and beer are harmful. Different women tolerate alcohol differently. So the effects on the mother and baby may vary from one woman to another. Even occasional drinking is harmful to the baby. The best safeguard is to resolve to abstain from alcohol.

To give up on alcohol may not be easy. But it isn’t difficult as well. How tough it is for you to give up alcohol is determined by how addicted are you to drinking. If you can’t stop drinking, you need help. Consult your healthcare provider. Seek help from friends and family. Join a support group to help you in this process. Remember! You alone will need to decide the fate of your baby.

Causes

Alcohol in early pregnancy can cause physical deformities. The baby’s brain develops throughout pregnancy and consumption of alcohol by the mother at any stage of pregnancy can adversely affect the baby’s mental capabilities. The growth of the baby can be affected at any stage.

Consumption of alcohol is not good for the health of the baby as it readily diffuses in the blood and reaches the baby in the womb. The developing baby is not capable of eliminating alcohol. So, even a minor amount may actually persist long in a baby. This may be harmful to the developing organs of the baby.

About fetal alcohol syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a constellation of signs and symptoms caused in a developing baby as a result of consumption of alcohol by the pregnant mother. It is a spectrum of physical, mental, and behavioral disorders.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a common problem. Every year around 40,000 babies in the US are born with some type of alcohol-related damage. The prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome has been reported to be around 0.5 to 2 cases per 1,000 births or even more in the US.

Once fetal alcohol syndrome has occurred, it cannot be treated or reversed. There isn’t any cure. The best is to prevent it by totally giving up on drinking.

Remember these things

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome is 100% preventable
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome has no cure
  • If you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, totally abstain from alcohol.
  • No type or amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy.
  • Seek help of family, friends and your doctor and give up alcohol to ensure that you have a healthy baby.

There is no particular medication or treatment for fetal alcohol syndrome. The only things to follow are:

  • Regular exercise
  • Yoga
  • Enrolling in healing activities
  • Counseling
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Opting a healthy lifestyle
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol
  • Alcohol intoxication

Fetal alcohol syndrome can be prevented and you have to do it. You can prevent your baby being born with a handicap and developing a mental incapability later in life. If you have been drinking, you need to give it up if you are planning a pregnancy.

If you are not using any measures of birth control, it is ideal to refrain from alcohol for the period that you are sexually active. Many conceptions are unplanned. An accidental and brief exposure of your developing baby to alcohol can be harmful as the organs of the baby develop in the early weeks of pregnancy. Irreparable harm may occur even before you realize that you are pregnant.

It is never too late to give up. Anytime you feel or confirm that you are pregnant, give up on alcohol. Do not drink at any stage in pregnancy. If you are dependent on alcohol, you need to seek medical help and social support to give it up so that you can plan and start a family for yourself.

A list of fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms have been mentioned below:

  • Baby may be low in weight when born
  • Small head and shorter than average weight
  • Flat philtrum
  • Ridge between the nose and upper lip
  • Sleep and sucking problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, bones
  • Poor vision and hearing
  • Learning disabilities
  • Poor memory
  • Lack of concentration
  • Low IQ, speech
  • Delay in language
  • Weak coordination
  • Hyperactive
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor reasoning

The worst part is that these disorders and disabilities are not reversible.