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Effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on a Child

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When young women become pregnant, they often don’t realize how detrimental drinking while pregnant can be for their unborn child. Some women are told by friends and family that they can drink a glass of red wine every once in a while, and not cause any damage to their child, but that’s not always the case.

There are many young women who don’t know when to draw the line when it comes to drinking and will continue to drink after a single glass of wine.

Drinking while pregnant can cause an unborn baby to develop Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Most women assume that their child is in the clear after they’re born because the symptoms of the syndrome often start months or even years down the road. Understanding the symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can help deter young mothers from drinking during pregnancy.

FAS Can Cause Body Issues

Many children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or FAS, have physical developmental issues as they age. Many children have small heads, don’t grow to be as tall as they would have, and are often very underweight for their height and age. Most of these issues cannot be treated medically and thus the child has to live with the repercussions for the rest of their life.

FAS Can Cause Mental Issues

Many children who are born with FAS suffer from hyperactivity and Attention Deficient Disorder. They have a hard time in school because they cannot focus on the task at hand and some have to take medication in order to be able to live as fulfilling of a life as they can.

FAS can also cause a child to have poor reasoning skills and cause them to make decisions that could be reckless or harmful to themselves or others. They aren’t able to make the same judgment calls as their peers and thus can be motivated to do things that they shouldn’t do.

FAS Can Cause Phycological Delays

Many children who suffer from FAS have learning disabilities that make it difficult for them to thrive in school. Some have speech delays while others have problems with their intellectual development. This can make it difficult for them to retain information and cause some serious difficulties in the classroom. Often times, children with FAS will need special accommodations and a supportive environment in order to improve success at school.

FAS Can Cause Internal Issues

Children who are exposed to alcohol in the womb often have internal health issues, as well. Many have heart and kidney problems throughout their lives and may even have weaker bones than children who were not exposed to alcohol while developing in the womb. Extensive testing will need to be done throughout a child’s life to ensure that their organs, nerves, and bones work as well as they possibly can at all times.

FAS Can Cause Long-Term Dependence

Because FAS causes someone to have poor decision-making skills and to act impulsively, it can be very risky for them to live on their own. Many people who suffer from FAS end up living with a loved one throughout their entire life or have to stay in a home that provides them with the specific care they need to stay happy and healthy throughout their life. It’s often difficult to tell if someone is going to be able to live an independent life until they reach teenage years because children can develop so quickly.

FAS Can Cause Susceptibility to Addiction

Someone who suffers from FAS will be more susceptible to addiction than someone who doesn’t. A mother who drinks while she has a baby in her womb is more than likely an alcoholic. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that can be hereditary.

This coupled with poor judgment means that children with FAS may be more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse. This can be dangerous as people with FAS sometimes aren’t fully able to be responsible for themselves, making it harder to recover from an addiction.

FAS Can Cause the Child to be Assaulted

Someone with FAS doesn’t have the same reasoning skills as someone who doesn’t have it. This can often cause children with FAS to think that someone is safe to be around or that they’re telling them the truth about something when they aren’t. Many children with FAS are susceptible to becoming victims of assault throughout their life because they’re easily manipulated, trusting toward caregivers and other adults, and don’t know what is being done to them is wrong.

Prevention is the Best Option

Since there is little to no treatment for FAS, prevention is the best option available to families. Nine months isn’t very long to have to go without alcohol. If someone knows they can’t go without it, there’s a good chance they may be an alcoholic. Getting professional help to battle alcoholism may be the only way for the person to provide a healthy life for themselves and their unborn child.

If a pregnant woman knows that she’s an alcoholic, she needs to get help for her addiction right away. There are treatment options available for women to get the help they need to avoid drinking while pregnant and doing serious damage to their unborn child.

If a pregnant woman you know is drinking, even any amount, try to warn her about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and coax her into getting the help that she needs. If she stops drinking early in her pregnancy, the chances of her baby being born in great health and free of FAS will be much higher than if she quit later.

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