Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Don't Risk Your Unborn Child
When the pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it enters the bloodstream and reduces the ability of the blood in the placenta to provide adequate oxygen to the growing fetus. The infant is born suffering from the same problems as an alcoholic and is therefore subject to withdrawal symptoms from the moment he or she is born.
Around twenty percent of infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome will die shortly after birth. Those that live will have a lifetime of intellectual disability to a varying degree as well as physical disabilities.
The consequences of fetal alcohol syndrome include deformities and impeded development, though there are doubtless other consequences to this condition as well. It is actually a series of defects, the most serious characteristic being a group of deformities of the head. Children born with fetal alcohol syndrome are also likely to suffer from delayed growth and development.
The main problem with growth in an affected child is that of deficiency which results in the child being small and underweight.
There are also facial abnormalities such as small eyes, sagging eyelids, small jaw, defects in ear formation, and sometimes a hole in the roof of the mouth.
Skeletal underdevelopment results in deformities in the ribs and chest bone, dislocated hips, curvature of the spine, and a small head. Sometimes, these children are born with missing fingers or toes.
Another problem is the effect this syndrome has on the organs. Children born with fetal alcohol syndrome are prone to heart defects, kidney problems, and can even suffer from genital malformation.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is relatively rare and takes place only in the children of mothers who are alcoholic or at least drink regularly and heavily during pregnancy.
Approximately one third of children born to mothers who are alcoholic or who drink heavily during pregnancy are likely to suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome. It is even possible for a child to be born with this syndrome when the mother has drunk only a small amount of alcohol but has done so on a regular basis.
Sometimes a child may not suffer from the entire range of problems associated with fetal alcohol syndrome but the alcohol can still cause a child to be born with development problems which have taken place whilst in the uterus. There is some debate about how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy but it is believed that even small amounts, in the first trimester, can be harmful.
Obviously, the best way to avoid this problem is to avoid all alcohol during pregnancy. It is still possible to enjoy social occasions without consuming alcohol and putting your unborn baby at risk. There are many non-alcoholic wines and so forth available these days and this is a much safer option.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Wolski has worked in the health and welfare industry for more than 30 years. She is a co-director of http://www.magnetic-health-online.com an information portal with many interesting medical articles and also of http://www.pharmacybyweb.com which has online physicians who can help you with any questions you may have.