Fetal alcohol syndrome is a disorder which affects a child due to alcohol exposure during the pregnancy. It is responsible for damage to the brain, heart and kidneys as well as growth problems; the defects caused are irreparable.
There is no amount of alcohol that is known to be safe during pregnancy.
Symptoms Of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
The symptoms tend to vary; with some children having them in a greater degree than others. Clinical manifestations of fetal alcohol syndrome include:
- Characteristic facial features – wide-set eyes, a short, upturned nose, a thin upper lip and smooth skin between the upper lip and nose.
- Deformity of the joints.
- Poor physical growth.
- Audio and / or vision difficulties.
- Small head and brain size.
- Impairment of the kidney and heart.
Brain and central nervous system problems
- Poor coordination or balance
- Poor memory
- Mood swings
- Attention deficit
- Poor judgment skills
- Difficulty with problem-solving.
- Intellectual disability, learning disorders and delayed development.
Social and behavioral problems
- Difficulty in studying
- Poor social skills
- Cannot get along with other people.
- Cannot adapt and adjust to change.
- Problems with behavior and impulse control.
- Cannot grasp the concept of time.
- Difficulty in planning things as well as working towards a goal.
How Does Alcohol Affect Fetal Development?
When you are pregnant and consume alcohol, then –
- Alcohol gains entry in to the bloodstream and reaches the developing baby by crossing the placenta.
- Alcohol causes a greater alcohol concentration in the blood of the developing baby than in the mother’s given that a fetus breaks down alcohol slower than an adult.
- Alcohol obstructs the delivery of oxygen as well as hampers the availability of nutrition to the baby.
The baby’s brain, heart and blood vessels start to develop in the early weeks of pregnancy, before you may know that you have conceived.
Impairment of the heart, brain and other organs may occur as a consequence to consuming alcohol during the first trimester. These organs are in key stages of development during the first trimester. On the other hand, the risk is present at any time during the period of pregnancy.
Treatment For Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
There is no specific treatment for fetal alcohol syndrome. The physical defects and mental defects will persist for life.
Nevertheless, early intervention does decrease some of the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome and avert some of the secondary disabilities. Intervention services are:
- A team comprising of a special education teacher, physiotherapist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and a psychologist to help the child handle day to day activities.
- To help with talking, walking and social skills.
- Special services in school to deal with learning and behavioral issues.
- Psychotherapy to help the family tackle the child’s behavior problems successfully.
- Medical care for health problems, such as heart anomalies.
- Medicines to allay some of the symptoms.
- Management of the mother’s alcoholism to help in better parenting and to avoid future pregnancies from getting affected.