Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

By | October 6, 2013

Fetal alcohol syndrome is group of symptoms that affect the child, if the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. The symptoms can range from physical to mental problems and can also affect the child’s behavior and learning to large extent. It can cause physical abnormalities, mental retardation, problems in vision and behavioral problems. The signs and symptoms vary from child to another and the defects are irreversible and cannot be treated.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Causes :

Fetal alcohol syndrome, as the name suggests is caused by consuming alcohol by the mother when the fetus is present in her womb. One cannot say for sure what volume of alcohol will harm the fetus and which is the safe period for drinking alcohol during the stages of pregnancy since consuming alcohol at any stage is harmful.

Alcohol will enter the bloodstream and reaches the fetus through placenta. Hence the fetus will have to consume alcohol and it takes more time for metabolizing alcohol for the fetus. This will eventually make high concentrations of alcohol to remain in the body of fetus for long time. This can cause serious problems for the developing tissues and organs.

It can cause serious impairment of facial features, heart, kidneys, and brain and bone development if the pregnant women drink alcohol during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is the crucial time for development of key organs for the child. In America and in many other Western countries women are not aware that they are pregnant and they continue to drink alcohol.

Symptoms :

The symptoms are not the same for all children with FAS. It depends on the quantity of alcohol consumed and the period on which the fetus was metabolizing alcohol. The child will have abnormal facial features, ridge on the area between the nose and upper lip is present. His head size will be smaller than normal children. He will have small eyes, low body weight, deformities in fingers and joints, poor coordination, mental retardation, behavior problems, hyperactivity, poor memory, developmental delay and heart defects.

He may have poor judgment skills and poor reasoning ability, delay in learning language, sleeping problems, poor vision and hearing problems and various other behavioral problems.

Types :

Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most severe type of disorder classified in the FASD spectrum. ARND is alcohol related neuro-developmental disorder in which the children will have behavioral problems, intellectual disability and learning problems. Most of their physical features will be normal. But they may have problems with attention, memory, judgment and learning math. Alcohol related birth defects ARBD is one in which the child will have congenital problems in heart, kidneys and bones.

Diagnoses :

It is difficult to distinguish abnormal children with other problems with that of children affected with fetal alcohol syndrome. The doctor will collect medical history of the mother her drinking habit etc. before making diagnosis. He will look for abnormality in facial features, short structure, problems in central nervous system like poor coordination and hyperactivity, and health of vital organs like heart and kidneys. He will check the vision and hearing capacity of the child and determine his cognitive ability and motor skills. In some cases, the doctor may refer the child to genetic specialist for ruling out other disorders.

Treatment :

No treatment is available for fetal alcohol syndrome. Very often, the physical and mental abnormalities will continue for lifetime. Behavior therapy and medications can help to reduce certain symptoms. Early intervention can reduce the intensity of symptoms in some children. Surgery can be done for repairing heart/kidney problems. Similarly vision/hearing problems can be corrected. Such children will be put on special schools to overcome the learning problems.

Coping and Support :

It is difficult to manage the psychological and emotional outcome of a child with fetal alcohol syndrome. If you have such a child you should seek help from professional counselors, psychologists and keep in touch with other families who have similar children.

Pictures, Images, Photos, Pics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome :

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Lifestyle Changes :

You should make daily routines in fixed style so that the child can accustom for the next task. Enforce simple rules and give rewards for the child if he shows acceptable behavior. Art of managing daily life should be taught to the child with the help of behavior therapy.

Prevention :

There is no such thing as “safe level” of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Don’t drink alcohol once you are planning to become pregnant. There is every chance for the fetus brain and kidneys to get affected since they form during the early stages of pregnancy. Avoid taking alcohol once you know that you are pregnant and continue to stay without alcohol throughout pregnancy. Get help from professionals if you have problem in stopping alcohol.

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