It’s rather blasé of me to say that any substance abuse is wrong and especially when you are pregnant because you all know that. Rather than me spell out the reasons for not drinking while you are pregnant because that tends to be a list of rules with flimsy or generalised reasons I thought I’d let you know 7 consequences of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
1. Growth Retardation
FAS children are typically short and skinny having grown at a much slower rate than a normal, healthy child and they grow into short adults.
2. Post Natal Vulnerability
One of the first noticeable consequences of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is characterized as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. The newborn baby is basically suffering withdrawal symptoms because the supply of alcohol from mum has been cut off. At this time, baby is prone to infections, may have trouble sleeping and due to poor or floppy muscle tone may find sucking and swallowing difficult.
3. Facial Features
Although the pronounced features may fade as the child grows, facial features at birth and toddler stage help doctors diagnose Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Commonly, FES throws up shortened eye slits, a short turned-up nose, a flattened philtrum, thin upper lip and other general abnormalities in the eyes, ears, palate and teeth.
4. Brain Development
You all know what happens to you when you over-indulge. Your brain stops working efficiently, you lose coordination and maybe even suffer memory loss. Imagine if your brain wasn’t actually as big as it should be. One of the consequences of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is damage to the central nervous system which can result in a small brain or head circumference as well as brain malformation.
5. Permanent Brain Damage
If baby is born with brain damage it isn’t something that can be grown out of. Probably the worst consequence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is permanent brain damage. This doesn’t just cause developmental problems in the womb, after the birth and in the early years but throughout the affected person’s life.
6. Intellectual Impairment
The consequences of brain damage are very individual. It might manifest itself in learning disabilities or through attention deficiency or hyperactivity. In these cases, slow development during the informative years can lead to poor judgement and reasoning in later life.
Unfortunately, if you take this to the worst case scenario there’s a high probability that the final consequence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is FAS adults going off the rails. After suffering mental health problems, disrupted schooling, possibly substance abuse, employment difficulties and dependent living, FAS adults live on the edge of society. The mildest manifestation is anti-social behaviour but due to a poorly developed sense of right and wrong, or the inability to support themselves, many turn to crime.
I hope I haven’t depressed or frightened you with this bleak picture – well, actually, strike that because if I haven’t engendered one of those emotions my message has failed. If after learning of these consequences of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome anyone can justify why it is ok for pregnant women to drink I’d like to hear it.
Top Photo Credit: Kmale.