Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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According to various facts about fetal alcohol syndrome, both medical and alcoholism research have shown that a woman who drinks alcohol while she is pregnant may harm her unborn baby.

How does this happen? When a mother drinks alcohol, the alcohol she has consumed can pass from her blood into the baby's blood.

When this occurs, the alcohol in the baby's blood can damage and affect the growth of his or her cells, particularly the cells in the brain and in the spinal cord.

Furthermore, the alcohol in the baby's blood can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, one of the leading causes of mental retardation in the United States.

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Characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

According to facts about fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome is a combination of physical and mental birth defects that affects about 6% of the babies born to women who are alcohol abusers or alcoholics.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year in the United States, between 1,300 and 8,000 babies are born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

What are some of the characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome?

Many babies with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) not only have underdeveloped brains that are small and abnormally formed but they also have underdeveloped organs, especially the heart, the kidneys, and the urinary tract.

Not only this, but babies with fetal alcohol syndrome exhibit poor muscle tone; a short attention span; poor coordination; various intellectual disabilities; behavioral problems; deformities of the fingers, limbs, and the joints; physical disabilities; and some degree of mental/emotional disability.

Unfortunately, even if they are not mentally retarded, adolescents and adults with FAS commonly exhibit different degrees of behavioral, learning, and emotional problems and frequently find it difficult to maintain employment and to live independently.

According to various facts about fetal alcohol syndrome, children with FAS may have distinct facial features such as a short or upturned nose, small flat cheeks, and/or small eyes.

Moreover, children with FAS are usually short and thin and frequently have unusually small heads.

Not only this, but children with FAS almost always grow slowly and usually have a poor appetite, a situation, it may be added, that compounds their atypical growth.

To further complicate things, it can be noted that the parents of children with FAS may experience frustration due to the rigorous demands made on them.

As a final issue, bear in mind that while fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the result of regular and excessive alcohol consumption throughout pregnancy, fetal alcohol effects (FAE), on the other hand, are a consequence of moderate drinking during pregnancy.

Statistics and Facts About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The following list represents some of the more relevant and meaningful statistics and facts about fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects:

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects are the leading causes of mental retardation in the United States.

  • At least 762,000 U.S. children are born each year exposed to alcohol during pregnancy.

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome affects about 6% of the babies born to U.S. women who are alcohol abusers or alcoholics.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1,300 and 8,000 babies are born with fetal alcohol syndrome each year in the United States.

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome in the United States in 2004 was reported to range from 0.2 to 1.5 cases per thousand live births.

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome affects 1 to 2 babies per 1,000 born worldwide.

  • Fetal alcohol effects has been observed in children of mothers who drank as little as two drinks per week during pregnancy.

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome occurs in 30% to 50% of pregnancies in which the mother drinks heavily throughout the pregnancy.

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Treatment of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

As demonstrated by the various facts about fetal alcohol syndrome, while fetal alcohol syndrome is a permanent condition and cannot be cured, the treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome is possible.

For example, people with specific characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome can be helped with hearing aids or with eyeglasses/contact lenses.

Organ abnormalities may necessitate corrective surgery. When people with fetal alcohol syndrome go to school, they may need special education and access to social service agencies.

Moreover, as children with fetal alcohol syndrome grow older, they may need special support and services to help them live on their own.

Fetal alcohol syndrome scientists and practitioners have identified a number of factors that tend to improve the outcome of someone with fetal alcohol syndrome. Some of these factors include:

  • Social services and special education

  • Early diagnosis

  • An absence of violence

  • A loving, nurturing, and stable household environment

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Early Diagnosis

As per some of the key facts about fetal about syndrome, the children who are diagnosed early have an improved fetal alcohol syndrome prognosis.

More precisely, a child who is diagnosed early in life can be given access to social services and placed in the appropriate special educational classes that can benefit the child and his or her family.

Furthermore, an early diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome commonly helps families and teachers better understand why the child might behave or act differently than other children in various circumstances.

Conclusion: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Facts About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The following represents one of the more important facts about fetal alcohol syndrome: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one of the most common known causes of infant mental retardation and is the only cause of this deformity that is totally preventable.

Although the risk for fetal alcohol syndrome and for alcohol-related cell damage in the baby is higher when the mother engages in excessive and abusive drinking, research has shown that any amount of alcohol may affect the unborn baby.

Some of the characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome include behavioral and emotional disabilities, central nervous system difficulties, abnormal facial features, and growth retardation.

While there is no current cure, the treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome is possible.

The individual, depending on the various characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome he or she is born with, may require the use of a hearing aid for hearing problems, may need glasses/contact lenses for sight disabilities, and may require surgery for any organ deformities.

Access to social service agencies and special education classes have also been shown to benefit an individual who has fetal alcohol syndrome.

Based on the facts about fetal alcohol syndrome, here the bottom line: if you want to absolutely avoid the possibility of alcohol-related damage or problems in your unborn child, then refrain from all drinking while you are pregnant.

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And by the way, according to medical research, this is the recommendation of numerous doctors.

If you are pregnant and cannot stop drinking, consider making it a priority to talk with an alcohol abuse and alcoholism professional about getting alcohol treatment as soon as possible.

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