What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Can It Be Reversed?

If you just found out that you’re pregnant, you’re most likely asking yourself many questions like, “Have I made any lifestyle decisions that impacted my baby?” or “What can I do to make sure my prenatal care serves me and my baby?”

So many unsuspecting mothers ask themselves these questions. They are necessary and good questions to ask that either result in positive outcomes or concerning ones.

Let’s talk about one major concerning outcome for women who make certain lifestyle decisions while they are pregnant that could negatively impact their baby.

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) happens when a baby’s brain is damaged due to alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Furthermore, it’s the most common cause of intellectual disabilities. The damage that occurs in the baby’s brain is pervasive enough to cause defects that can be permanent.

Here are some of the disabilities a baby can inherit as a result of experiencing FASD:

  • Abnormal facial features
  • An inability to socialize properly
  • Deformed limbs
  • Nursing and eating issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney issues
  • Low body weight
  • Low IQ
  • Poor vision and hearing
  • Poor performance at school
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Seizures
  • Speech disabilities

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Causes

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is caused when alcohol reaches the fetus as it is developing in the mother’s womb. When a fetus is in utero, their organs are not fully developed yet as they lack the ability to process alcoholic beverages which causes immense damage. The more alcohol a mother consumes, the more she hurts her baby. Alcohol affects a fetus in two ways:

  • 1. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: FAS occurs after binge drinking during pregnancy or consuming alcoholic drinks regularly throughout pregnancy
  • 2. Fetal Alcohol Negative Effects: Small doses of alcohol during pregnancy can still cause some disabilities even if they form to a lesser degree. Consuming any level of alcohol will hurt your baby. Damage to a baby due to alcohol can happen before the woman finds out that she’s pregnant. If you’re trying to get pregnant or you think you might be pregnant, stop drinking alcohol immediately.

FAS Diagnosis

Diagnosis happens after the baby is born where a doctor can measure the extent of the damage. If a pregnant woman has a history of drinking while she’s pregnant, the doctor can examine the baby’s health while she’s still carrying. If the doctor knows that the mother continued to drink alcohol during her pregnancy, they can look for FAS signs by discovering the following:

  • Low body weight
  • Very small head
  • Unusual flat cheeks
  • Thin upper lip
  • Slow growth rate

When the above characteristics are found, the doctor will do brain scans and tests to further diagnose the issue.

FAS Treatment

Unfortunately, FAS doesn’t have a cure and no one can reverse the damage once it’s occured. Alcohol is pure posion to an unborn baby. A pediatrician can prescribe medication to assist some symptons in the baby. But once a baby is diagnosed with FAS, they will need special attention for the rest of their life.

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