Once you and your partner decide on having a baby, there are many lifestyle changes you both will need to implement in your daily lives. One such major change is in the form of what you eat and drink.
Alcohol consumption is quite a common lifestyle norm these days. If you have been enjoying your drinks till now, it’s time to stop. If you feel a little bit of alcohol is still okay, you need to take note of why you need to stop its consumption entirely.
If you continue to consume alcohol while trying to conceive, or once you are pregnant, it can prove to be seriously harmful for your baby. This consumption will lead to increased chances of your baby being affected by fetal alcohol syndrome.
What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is caused when a pregnant mother consumes alcohol. It causes long lasting birth defect to the baby, ranging from physical defects to brain damage. The extent of damage to a baby shall highly vary on a case to case basis. But the sad part is that the damages caused by it are to a great extent irreversible.
What Causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Your unborn baby is affected with FAS when you consume alcohol during your pregnancy. Once you continue drinking:
- The alcohol that enters your bloodstream also reaches the fetus after crossing the placenta.
- As the fetus has fewer metabolisms towards alcohol, there is higher blood alcohol concentration in the bloodstream of your developing baby.
- This alcohol not only restricts the delivery of oxygen for your baby’s healthy development, but also obstructs the deliverance of essential nutrition.
Sometimes you may consume alcohol while being unaware of being pregnant. This tends to be more harmful because your baby’s heart, brain and bones develop in the initial weeks of pregnancy.
Therefore, it is advised that once you start trying to conceive, you should refrain from alcohol completely.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)?
The symptoms for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome differ from case to case. The intensity of its impact is also different for all those who are affected.
The types of symptoms which suggest Fetal Alcohol Syndrome consist of three main problems. It might be in the form of physical deformities, brain and nervous system defects and social and behavioral issues.
1. Physical Deformities:
These can be in the form of:
- Abnormally small head.
- Unusual facial features like upturned nose, very thin upper lip, wide eyes, etc.
- Malformations of limbs, fingers and joints.
- Delayed physical growth.
- Problems related to vision and hearing.
- Heart problems and kidney defects.
2. Brain and Nervous System Defects:
These can be in the form of:
- Dull memory.
- Problems with concentration and attention.
- Poor Coordination.
- Inadequate judgment skills.
- Excessive jitteriness or hyper activity.
- Frequent mood swings.
- Problems in analysis and reasoning.
3. Behavioral and Social Issues:
These can be in form of:
- Difficulty in interaction with others.
- Lack of focus and planning ability.
- Trouble in switching tasks.
- Less control on self-behavior.
- Problems in learning at school.
[ Read: Preterm Labour ]
Treatment For Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Unfortunately there is no cure for this syndrome and no medication can reverse its effects. Moreover, it is emphasized that if you diagnose any abnormal symptoms you should not delay in consulting a doctor. Immediate consultation can help in avoiding and preventing further hazards.
There are certain ways in which you can take care of your child suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
1. Special Schools And Education:
If your child is affected by this syndrome he or she may not be able to cope up with regular educational institutes. This is where special schools become important.
- Your child can get much needed personalized attention.
- Education is imparted as per your child’s needs and ability.
- The ideal and calculated surrounding can help your child reach the full potential development.
2. Love And Affection:
If your child is affected by the syndrome, he or she will be highly sensitive to any commotions and disturbances.
- It is imperative that you give your child a caring, loving and nurturing environment at home.
- As a family, you should be ready to provide ample support for his better development.
- You should provide a nurturing environment to your child so that he can thrive and it can stop the eruption of other secondary symptoms.
3. No Exposure To Violence:
Any encounter with violent activity can aggravate the problems or generate additional problems in your child.
- When your child is exposed to violence he may develop such abusive behavior when he grows up.
- You should make sure to keep your child in an environment which can reinforce positive behavior and no violence.
4. Consult With Specialist Doctors:
As the symptoms can vary from child to child, it is necessary to consult doctors pertaining to your child’s problems.
- If your child has problem in speaking, you should consult a speech therapist
- If your child is suffering from any behavior problems, you should consult a child psychologist.
- If your child is suffering from despair and gloominess, talk to the child’s doctor about the same.
5. Support Groups:
There are several support groups which work for helping children with FAS. These also train family members to help care for the children.
- There are organizations spread across the world, which provide behavioral training to your child to improve their social skills. You can search for them on Internet, and decide on a good one available in your city.
- Friendship training, self-control, training on developing reasoning ability is also available.
- Many groups will also focus on teaching family members on how to nurture the child.
6. Healing Techniques:
In some instances, healing methods outside the medical treatment are also prescribed.
- You can seek massage as well acupuncture for healing certain nervous system issues or physical issues in your child.
- Other alternative treatments like yoga, relaxation may also be prescribed for your child.
As FAS has no cure, the only way you can prevent your baby from this deadly syndrome is by not consuming alcohol.
- If you have a drinking problem and are unable to stop drinking even after knowing you are pregnant, it is best to take urgent help from professionals.
- Even if you are an occasional drinker, you should avoid consuming alcohol once you know you have conceived.
Always remember, a baby is a blessing who will bring unimaginable joy in your life. Give up this small habit today to ensure you make your baby’s life as happy and healthy as you can.
These are some of the main things you need to know about FAS, how you can prevent it, and how it affects your baby. If you have more ways on treating and preventing this syndrome, please do share with us.
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