Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Danger of Alcohol Addiction

A state of a very vulnerable condition is where a pregnant woman sits. At this moment, she is hugely defenseless from different types of toxins and harmful substances. Alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs are some of the substances that may cause negative effects towards the fetus inside the mother’s womb. Teratogens is the term given to these kind of harmful substances. An abnormal baby can even be a result of taking in these substances.

Alcohol is one of the so called teratogens that can greatly affect pregnancies. There will be a very problematic outcomes when a woman who is into alcohol addiction gets pregnant. People may not be aware of its risk and still permits a woman to take in alcoholic drinks during her pregnancy, but the effect of this would be carried by the baby for the rest of his or her life. In the United States alone, alcohol is known to be one of the primary cause of mental and physical birth defects. Though, this is only a probability, the rate is high.

Whenever a woman ingests alcohol during pregnancy, a disorder called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can occur on her embryo. Alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can stunt fetal growth or weight, make distinctive facial stigmata, harm neurons and brain structures, and cause other physical, mental, or behavioral problems. The central nervous system specifically the brain is one of the parts damaged by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Developing brain cells and structures are not fully developed or malformed by prenatal alcohol exposure, often creating a collection of primary cognitive and functional disabilities including poor memory, attention deficits, impulsive behavior, and poor cause-effect reasoning, as well as secondary disabilities for example, mental health problems, and drug addiction.

The signs and symptoms of having fetal alcohol syndrome are low birth weight, small head circumference, developmental delay, organ dysfunction, facial abnormalities, including smaller eye openings, flattened cheekbones, and indistinct philtrum (an underdeveloped groove between the nose and the upper lip), epilepsy, poor coordination, poor socialization skills, such as difficulty building and maintaining friendships and relating to groups, lack of imagination or curiosity, learning difficulties, including poor memory, inability to understand concepts such as time and money, poor language comprehension, poor problem-solving skills, behavioral problems including hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, social withdrawal, stubbornness, impulsiveness, and anxiety.

The main feature of fetal alcohol syndrome is its damage on the central nervous system. Central nervous system damage can be assessed in three areas such as structural, neurological, and functional impairments. Structural impairments may include microcephaly (small head size) of two or more typical deviations below the average, or other abnormalities in brain structure. During the first trimester of pregnancy, alcohol interferes with the migration and organization of brain cells, which can make structural deformities within the brain. During the third trimester, damage can be caused to the hippocampus, which plays a role in memory, learning, emotion, and encoding visual and auditory information, all of which can create neurological and functional CNS impairments as well.

Neurological impairments are assessed whenever structural impairments are not observable or does not exist. Neurological problems are showed as either hard signs, or diagnosable disorders, such as epilepsy or other seizure disorders, or soft signs. Soft signs are broader, nonspecific neurological impairments, or symptoms, such as impaired fine motor skills, neurosensory hearing loss, poor gait, clumsiness, poor eye-hand coordination.

When structural or neurological impairments are not shown, all four diagnostic systems allow CNS damage due to prenatal alcohol exposure to be assessed in terms of functional impairments. Functional impairments are deficits, problems, delays, or abnormalities due to prenatal alcohol exposure (rather than hereditary causes or postnatal insults) in visible and quantifiable domains related to daily functioning, often referred to as developmental disabilities.

There has been no proof on the amount of alcohol that can produce birth defects. Despite that fact, it still dangerous to take any amounts of alcohol. Letting go and recovering from alcohol addiction is the important step to take once a woman wants to bear a child.

Alcohol addiction is very dangerous specially on women who are pregnant; the danger of fetal alcohol syndrome to occur is present.

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