Fetal Alcohol Effects


To wrap up April’s Alcohol Awareness Month this final article about the negative impacts alcohol can have on not only to the community, the individual, loved ones, as well as to a fetal growing inside a woman’s body.  One of the most critical time for any human’s life is when they are developing inside their mother’s womb!  However, when the mother drinks alcohol, she is putting her developing fetal in risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) or Fetal Alcohol (FAE).

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder/Fetal Alcohol

These terms are used to describe the range of effects that a fetal inside the womb is exposed to if the mother consumes alcohol.  The effects that can occur could effect the child physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities and can have a life-long impact.  The fetal is at risk of developing disabilities that could range from mild to severe.

The child could be at risk of developing abnormal facial characteristics and growth deficits.  The brain can be damaged causing possible intellectual disability, poor coordination and motor skill delays, difficultly with judgement and reasoning, and learning disabilities.  Heart, lung, and kidney defects can be at risk.

Fetal Alcohol

What Happens when a Pregnant Woman Drinks

No matter the type or amount of alcohol that a pregnant woman consumes, the developing baby inside her is consuming the alcohol too. Anytime a pregnant woman consumes alcohol she is putting her growing baby at risk of developing FASD.

The developing child does not have full formed and functioning organs, so it cannot process the alcohol the same as the mother.  Especially during the fetal’s first trimester, the heart, kidneys, liver, other organs, bones, and the central nervous system can develop incorrectly.  The alcohol can stop the baby from getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs for proper brain development.

If the fetal is between the weeks of 6-9 weeks and the mother consume alcohol, she is putting the baby at higher risks of developing the facial abnormalities associated with FASD.

Binge drinking is extremely dangerous and harmful.  Even a just binge drinking once during the pregnancy puts the newborn at an increased risk to develop FASD.  Even if the mother is not a heavy drinker, any amount of alcohol consumed, will pass directly into the baby through the mother’s bloodstream into the placenta where the baby is growing.

Researchers have found that the odds more than tripled if a child experiencing gross motor skill impairments when diagnosed with FASD, or were exposed to alcohol while still in the womb.  Alcohol has the ability to cause more neurobehavioral effects on the baby than of all the substance abuse; including cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

Fetal Alcohol

How to Avoid FASD

As easy as it sounds, the only and best way to avoid causing FASD in an infant is not to drink ANY alcohol.  There is NO proven “safe amount” of alcohol consumption during the pregnancy.  If a pregnant woman has a problem with alcohol addiction, it is probably best for not only her, but her developing baby, to seek out professional help.  The sooner the pregnant mother stops drinking at any time during her pregnancy, will help the infant and its development.  If the mother never drinks alcohol during the pregnancy, her baby will not have any problems associated with fetal alcohol effects.

Here is a great tip: If you become pregnant, do not drink any alcohol and if you do drink alcohol, do not get pregnant!

Fetal Alcohol

If you are pregnant or know someone who is and have an addiction to alcohol please immediately seek help!  The sooner you quit drinking alcohol, the greater the chance of your infant not having any issues associated with alcohol!  Please contact Bridgeway Behavioral Health at 866-758-1152 or visit our site http://www.bridgewaybh.com/.

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