A pregnant woman is in a state of vulnerable condition. During this time, she is greatly defenseless from different types of toxins and harmful substances. Some of the different substances that might negatively affect the fetus inside the mother’s womb are alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. 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 teratogen that could greatly affect the woman’s pregnancy. There will be a very problematic outcomes when a woman who is into alcohol addiction gets pregnant. People may not be conscious of its risk and still permits a woman to drink alcoholic drinks during her pregnancy, but the effect of this would be carried by the baby for the rest of his or her life. Alcohol is one of the known causes of mental and physical birth defects specifically in the United States. Though, this is only a probability, the rate is high.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a disorder that can occur to the embryo when a pregnant woman ingests alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can inhibit fetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial stigmata, harm neurons and brain structures, and cause other physical, mental, or behavioral problems. The main effect of FAS is permanent central nervous system damage, especially to the brain. Developing brain cells and structures are underdeveloped 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 fetal alcohol syndrome are very small birth weight, small head circumference, developmental interruption, organ dysfunction, facial abnormalities, including decreased eye openings, flattened cheekbones, and indistinct philtrum (an underdeveloped groove between the nose and the upper lip), epilepsy, poor coordination, poor socialization abilities, 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 factors such as structural, neurological, and functional impairments. Structural impairments may include microcephaly (small head size) of two or more standard deviations below the average, or other abnormalities in brain structure. On the first trimester of pregnancy, alcohol obstructs with the migration and organization of brain cells, which can make structural deficits 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 owing 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.
Although there are no evidences that will tell us the amount of alcohol that will produce birth defects, ingesting alcohol no matter the amount is still very dangerous. Letting go and recovering from alcohol addiction is the important step to take once a woman wants to bear a child.
Alcohol addiction should be helped whenever a woman is pregnant because the danger of fetal alcohol syndrome is potent.