Heavily pregnant and alcoholic? What may happen!

Emobileclinic Trending Topic:  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a term used for a number of conditions caused by fetal alcohol exposure. Each condition and its diagnosis are based on the presentation of the features which are unique to the individual and may be physical, developmental and neuro-behavioural. Alcohol has potential to cause damage to the unborn child at any time during pregnancy and the level of harm is dependent

on the amount and frequency of alcohol use which may be moderated by factors such as intergenerational alcohol use, parent age and health of the mother (nutrition, tobacco use) and environmental factors like stress.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a severe form of the condition. People with FAS may have problems with their vision, hearing, memory, attention span, and abilities to learn and communicate. While the defects vary from one person to another, the damage is often permanent.

Causes

A pregnant woman who drinks alcohol, some of that alcohol easily passes across the placenta to the fetus. It must be emphasized that the body of a developing fetus does not process alcohol the same way as an adult does. Hence, the alcohol gets concentrated in the fetus, and can prevent enough nutrition and oxygen from getting to the fetus’ vital organs.

Damage can be done in the first few weeks of pregnancy when a woman might not yet know that she is pregnant. The risk increases if the mother is a heavy drinker. In fact, there is no time in pregnancy that alcohol is less harmful to the fetus, the best prevention is to stay off alcohol during pregnancy.

Symptoms 

Small size of the head

Smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose, small and wide-set eyes

Thin upper lip

Several abnormal facial features

Below average height and weight

Hyperactivity

Lack of focus

Poor coordination

Stagnant development and problems in thinking, speech, movement, and social skills

Intellectual disability

Heart problems

Kidney defects and abnormalities

Deformed limbs or fingers

Mood swings

Diagnosis

It is mostly done through:

Physical examination of the baby may show a heart murmur or other heart problems. As the baby matures, there may be other signs that help confirm the diagnosis. These include:

Slow rate of growth

Abnormal facial features or bone growth

Hearing and vision problems

Slow language acquisition

Small head size

Poor coordination

In addition to the above, the doctor must ascertain that person has abnormal facial features, slower than normal growth, and central nervous system problems. The nervous system problems could be physical or behavioral. They might present as hyperactivity, lack of coordination or focus, or learning disabilities.

Treatments 

Although, it remains incurable; there are treatments for some symptoms. The earlier the diagnosis, the more progress can be made. Depending on the symptoms a child with FAS exhibits, they may need many doctor or specialist visits. Special education and social services can help very young children. For example, speech therapists can work with toddlers to help them learn to talk.

There are no medications that specifically treat FAS. However, several medications may address symptoms.These medications include:

Antidepressants to treat problems with sadness and negativity

Stimulants to treat lack of focus, hyperactivity, and other behavioral problems

Neuroleptics to treat anxiety and aggression

Antianxiety drugs to treat anxiety

Counseling

Prevention 

This can be avoided fetal by not drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Remember, the effects of alcohol can make a mark during the first few weeks of a pregnancy.

 



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