Alcohol causes many different diseases when consumed in a high quantity. It may also be harmful when a person is suffering from a particular health condition. Women are also told to avoid it during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a health issue found in pregnant women.
Its risk is higher in women who consume a lot of alcohol during pregnancy. The consumed alcohol then reaches the fetus and inflicts damage on it and the mother both.
It is a disease which is transmitted from the mother to infant. The people infected with alcohol syndrome face various problems. They include a lack of motivation and attention.
The patients may feel disassociated and unable to perform simple tasks. This is because it affects the cognitive function of the brain. Little things like calculating and reading may become difficult.
Fetal alcohol syndrome only hits when you drink during pregnancy. It is one of the highest prevailing pregnancy linked diseases among women who don’t care about their alcohol consumption. The only way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome is by avoiding alcohol during pregnancy.
Which Syndromes Are Part of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
There are a bunch of disorders which fall under fetal alcohol diseases. Women who drink alcohol give birth to infected babies. These babies have some fetal alcohol spectrum disorders which are generally called FADs.
It is the term which is used for many disorders. They can be mild to severe, depending on which disorder is hitting the baby. Some major types of FASDs are as follows.
- Complete fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
- Partial fetal alcohol syndrome
- Alcohol-related birth defects
- Alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder
- A neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure
Fetal alcohol syndrome is only the severe form of the condition. Other problems are generally regarded as less severe than it.
What Causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome In Infants?
When a woman is pregnant, things change for her in an abrupt manner. Drinking alcohol may seem very normal from the overview. But pregnancy is a condition of the body which makes it susceptible to various problems.
When a pregnant lady consumes alcohol, some part of it can reach easily to the fetus through the placenta. It is the normal practice of the body to process food and make it reach to the growing fetus.
It’s how it gets all its nutrition well. The body doesn’t realize that alcohol is not the nutritional thing for the baby.
The fetus doesn’t process alcohol the same way as it works for the normal adult people. For them, even less is more. It is more concentrated and damaging in the fetus.
This concentrated fetus amount can prevent nutritional ingredients. It may also affect the oxygen intake. So this means that fetus will not have enough of it.
The damage can start even in the first few weeks of pregnancy. The risk is a lot higher if the pregnant mother is a heavy drinker.
Alcohol is one of the most harmful things during pregnancy. It damages the most in the first three months of pregnancy when the fetus is rapidly growing. It doesn’t mean that you can take alcohol after three months. Alcohol, at any stage of pregnancy, is very destructive for the growing baby inside the womb.
What Are the Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Fetal alcohol is not one disease but a group of many interrelated diseases. There won’t be the typical symptoms to tell that the baby is having fetal alcohol syndrome. The possibility is to have so many mixed symptoms at once. The severity of these symptoms ranges from low to high depending on the exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.
Some of the most common things to notice in fetal alcohol syndrome are as follows.
- Having a small head.
- A smooth ridge which is between the upper lip and nose.
- Small and wide eyes.
- Thin upper lip.
- An abnormal facial feature.
- A below average height.
- Below average weight.
- Feeling hyperactivity.
- Lack of focus and concentration.
- Difficulties in learning.
- Difficulties in communication.
- Irregular body coordination.
- Delayed development linked problems i.e. thinking, social skills, etc.
- Visual and hearing disabilities
- Heart and kidney problems.
- Deformity in limbs.
- Intense mood swings.
How To Diagnose Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
The earliest diagnosis is only observation based. Once you have a suspicion of any abnormality, talk to your doctor and discuss it. You need to tell your history of drinking habits to predict the chances of having fetal alcohol syndrome.
The first thing which a doctor will do is a complete physical examination. As the baby matures, other signs will become obvious but at an infant level, there won’t be enough things to judge the condition. The earliest things to judge are as follows.
- Growth rate
- Abnormality in facial features
- Deformity in bone growth
- Hearing problems
- Visionary problems
- A below average head size
How To Treat Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Fetal alcohol syndrome is incurable. There are some helpful treatments to control the expression of the symptoms. If you can make an early diagnosis, it will be better for your baby to get treatment.
In case, the diagnosis is delayed, the condition may be a lot more severe. Based on the obvious signs of FAS, the doctor will suggest the treatment options. In a growing age, these kids are given special education with speech therapies.
You can also contribute to the treatment options of your baby. The children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome are usually more sensitive. Thus they need a special routine than normal kids.
The abrupt changes may make them depress or violent. It is common to see the mood swings in FAS suffering children. If you are helping your child to learn and overcome the situation, it will show positive behavior.
Medicinal options for treatment
There are no such medicines for fetal alcohol syndrome. There are medicines which help to overcome the symptoms. They remove the discomfort that your child may be facing. Some of these medicinal options are,
- Stress relievers and antidepressant medicines
- Stimulatory supplements
- Medicines for anxiety
Fetal alcohol syndrome affected children need special treatments. These special treatments are not based on medicine or surgery. They are done by specialist counseling. Behavioral training is which works best in such conditions.
This training may include social skills, making friends, interaction and much more. Executive features may also include self-control, logical understanding, learning, cause and effect method.
These special treatments are not made by teachers. You need to attend a specialist for it. Sometimes support from family also contributes towards it. Parents also need special counseling sessions on raising a fetal alcohol syndrome affected the kid.
There are some treatment options which are not conventional but they work in some cases. They include healing practices such as massage and acupuncture techniques. They also include yoga, exercise, and other similar practices.
What Should You Keep In Mind?
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a disease which can leave your child impaired for the rest of his life. This disease only hits when you develop an excessive drinking habit during pregnancy. This alcohol reaches the growing baby in your womb and affects its development.
If you suspect that your child is also suffering from this condition, you need to arrange a meeting with your doctor as soon as possible. If you are a habitual drinker, you must retain a therapy first before getting pregnant.
Remember that the effects of alcohol have caused a permanent loss to the abilities of your newborn. To avoid this situation, leave the alcohol at least in the first few months of the pregnancy.