Tuesday 11 October 2016

Here Is Why You Must Avoid Alcohol While Pregnant

The range of disorders that occur in the fetus due to maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy are referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. They can range in severity and include:
Alcohol Related Neuro developmental Disorder – Associated with intellectual and learning difficulties and behavioral problems.
Alcohol Related Birth Defects – Involve the physical defects caused in the fetus as a result of maternal alcohol drinking during pregnancy.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – Is the most severe form. It comprises both neurological as well as physical defects related to maternal alcohol consumption. The presence of only some signs and symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome is classified as partial fetal alcohol syndrome.

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the extreme form of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. It refers to the presence of both physical and neurological signs and symptoms in the fetus, related to alcohol consumption by the mother during pregnancy. The severity of symptoms is highly variable.

In the United States, fetal alcohol syndrome is believed to be the commonest cause of preventable mental retardation. Estimates suggest that between 800 and 8000 children are born with this condition annually in the United States.
How Does Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Develop?

When the pregnant woman consumes alcohol, it enters her bloodstream, and reaches the developing fetus by crossing the placenta
Since the fetus is unable to metabolize alcohol quickly, it stays in the fetus’s system and causes serious adverse effects.
Alcohol affects the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby’s tissues including the brain, causing their damage.
What Are the Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) may show a few or all the physical manifestations that include the following
Growth retardation
Characteristic appearance of the face with eyes set wide apart with narrow openings, thin upper lip, short and upturned nose with flattening of the crease (philtrum) between the nose and upper lip
Small head
Hearing and visual defects
Heart abnormalities
Deformities in bones, joints and limbs
Kidney problems
Neurological manifestations include
Lack of coordination and balance
Learning disabilities
Poor memory
Poor attention span
Low reasoning and problem-solving capacity
Lack of judgment

As a result, these children have difficulties at school, lack social skills and ability to get along with others, not to mention the challenges faced due to the physical disabilities. As adults, they are unable to live independently and hold a stable job. Many run into trouble with the law due to violent behavior, and indulging in illegal activities due to poor judgment and reasoning. Drug and alcohol abuse are other issues that may need treatment.
How Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnosed?

There are no specific tests to diagnose FAS. Correct diagnosis rests on a proper history given by the caregiver, and a thorough clinical assessment by a specialist. As a result, FAS is very often under diagnosed. The following points need to be noted while making a diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome:
History of drinking alcohol during the pregnancy
The characteristic facial and other features in the baby
Lack of physical development as the child grows
Impaired intellectual and brain development
Occurrence of social and behavioral problems
Learning and cognitive problems in school-going children
Early diagnosis is critical, since the special care and educational needs for such children can begin early to enable maximum achievement of their potential.a

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