Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
D.W. Smith, K. L. Jones and their colleagues realized that a substantial number of children who were exposed to prenatal alcohol exhibited a characteristic set of growth deficiency, facial abnormalities and psychomotor disorders. They named the syndrome Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the result of prenatal exposure to alcohol. This syndrome has been identified as one of the leading causes of mental retardation and other birth defects in babies. If a woman consumes alcohol while she is pregnant that baby can be born with this syndrome and will have to live with it for the rest of its life.
Characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of the most extreme results of a mother drinking alcohol while pregnant. The most extreme outcome of this syndrome is the death of the baby. Some of the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome are:
- Smaller stature when compared to their peers
- Small eye openings
- Learning disabilities
- Poor judgement and reasoning skills
- Low IQ or mental retardation
- Hyperactive behavior
- Poor coordination
Further, children diagnosed with this condition are at the risk for secondary conditions like psychiatric problems, unemployment, criminal behavior and incomplete education. Hence, it is imperative that this syndrome is diagnosed in a child as early as possible so that the child can receive special education to lead a normal life and can also be given access to social services that can help the child and their family. It has been observed that children who have received special attention in terms of education, love and care are more likely to achieve their complete developmental and educational potential. Also, it is recommended that these children be brought up in a stable home to avoid any disruptions and harmful relationships.
Preventing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Preventing fetal alcohol syndrome is very simple. A pregnant woman or a woman who could get pregnant should not consume alcohol. Also, it is never too late to stop if a woman who is pregnant is drinking. If the woman has trouble in quitting alcohol while she is pregnant, she should contact her doctor, the local alcohol treatment center or the Alcoholics Anonymous group.
It is important to understand that the father has an equally important role in ensuring that he child does not end up with the fetal alcohol syndrome. The father must ensure and help the mother abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. He can further help the situation by avoiding social situations that could tempt the mother to take a sip and if possible abstain from alcohol himself. Family and friends should also chip in and support the mother in every possible situation.
Remember that there is no safe dose of alcohol that a woman can consume when she is pregnant. Further, there is no safe period during pregnancy when alcohol can be consumed. It has been recorded that women who drink excessively during early pregnancy have more children with full blown fetal alcohol syndrome while women who drink less during the late gestation period are at risk of delivering prematurely. I guess the point that I am trying to make here is that alcohol and pregnancy should not be combined even more a minute. Alcohol has a whole range of problems that it can create for the mother herself and fetus are at risk with a million syndromes and there is absolutely no need to add the possibility of deforming it with alcohol. Becoming pregnant and having a baby is a privilege that only a few of us are blessed one and we should take every care and precaution to ensure that the baby is safe and healthy.
Source: Jagran Cityplus Sep 17, 2010
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