Pregnancy is a joyous and exciting time for women. But it is also a time when great caution and care needs to be exercised to ensure the well being of yourself and your unborn baby. During this period, the normal rules of maintaining good health don’t apply. Every bad habit that you have will affect your baby ten times more than you. This is the main reason why doctors advise women who are planning to conceive or are already pregnant, to quit all vices like smoking, drinking, drug abuse etc.
Pregnancy And Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Result Of Alcohol Consumption
One of the most dangerous substances for your pregnant body and the fetus is alcohol. It makes no difference whether it is mild or strong. Alcohol can have a debilitating effect on the baby.
Consumption of alcohol during the gestation period can lead to a variety of problems collectively known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Here is description of the many factors that are involved in this serious problem.
Effects Of FAS
FAS is caused by a regular consumption of alcohol at any time during the pregnancy. The fetus derives nutrition from the mother’s body through a sac called the placenta. Anything the mother eats is passed on to it. Alcohol can very easily pass through the sac and affect the fetus. This can cause serious developmental damage.
The brain cells and the central nervous system are the main parts of the body to get affected by alcohol. This is in turn results in problems like compromised cognitive and biological functioning of the baby after birth. Many such babies also have abnormal facial features like small eye openings and a flat and thin upper lip.
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FAS also causes problems like Attention Deficit Syndrome and poor memory functions. Experts claim that children whose mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy are at a greater risk of having drug and alcohol abuse problems of their own. They are also more prone to develop behavioral problems during the teenage years and early adulthood.
Alcohol consumption can also cause serious congenital defects at the time of birth.
Signs Of FAS
There are many symptoms that may indicate that a baby is suffering from some form of FAS or the other. There is a severe impact on the growth patterns of the baby. Such signs include low birth weight and height. This persists through the growing years and the child is much lighter and shorter than his/her peers.
The most common and prominent facial abnormality is the absence of the dent between the nose and the upper lip. This gives the face a very peculiar appearance. Also the upper lip tends to get thinner according to the increasing degree of severity of the damage. Such babies tend to have a small head circumference at birth and in the later years.
They are slower in achieving normal developmental milestones and in some cases, they do not achieve them at all. Fine motor skills, hearing, hand-eye-brain coordination, walking and talking are just some of the problem areas for kids suffering from FAS. They are also poor at maintaining social contact and relationships. Reading and writing may also be very difficult to learn for such children.
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