Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the leading preventable cause of birth defects in the United States. According to 2011-2013 statistics from the CDC, 1 in 10 pregnant women reported drinking alcohol in the past thirty days.
What is FASD, and where can pregnant Colorado women get help if they are struggling to stop drinking?
What Does FASD Look Like?
FASD is referred to as a spectrum disorder because it has such a broad range of symptoms and consequences. Many are not detectable at birth, and will only reveal themselves as the child grows older.
Common symptoms generally fall into 1 or more of 3 categories:
- Deformities of the face or extremities
- Vision and hearing issues
- Heart or other organ defects
- Slow growth after birth
Brain & Nervous System Issues
- Poor memory
- Learning disorders
- Poor judgment skills
- Poor social skills
- Difficulty planning
- Issues with impulse control
- Mood swings
This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms. Diagnosing FASD requires expertise and, sometimes, the passage of time before symptoms become clear.
Cause of FASD
Exposure to alcohol in the womb is the cause of all Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Consuming alcohol while pregnant disrupts oxygen and vital nutrients to the baby, slowing growth and posing a risk to development.
In addition, the baby’s liver is unable to process alcohol the same way an adult does. Alcohol moves from the mother’s bloodstream to the baby through the placenta and umbilical cord, where it can easily damage the fetus.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) strongly recommends that you consume zero alcohol if:
- You are pregnant.
- You think you might be pregnant.
- You are trying to get pregnant.
No amount of alcohol is safe during any part of pregnancy. However, if you discover you are pregnant and are concerned about your drinking habits, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. There are resources for you in Colorado.
Addiction and Pregnancy
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction while pregnant, it is best to seek help from qualified professionals rather than attempt recovery alone. Battling an addiction while pregnant requires special methods of treatment, not only to help the mother but also to ensure the safety and health of the unborn baby.
A medical detox is recommended to start, minimizing risk and allowing for professional monitoring during the entire process. After that, treatment becomes highly individualized, since every case is different. Factors include the stage of pregnancy, the health of the mother and baby, as well as possible co-occurring disorders like depression or anxiety.
Women are much more vulnerable to developing a co-occurring disorder during pregnancy, as their bodies rapidly undergo massive changes, both physically and chemically. These can complicate an addiction that already exists, which is why professional help is strongly recommended.
If you are pregnant and struggling with alcohol use disorder in Colorado, Recovery Village at Palmer Lake is here to help. Located an hour from Denver in a peaceful setting, we approach treatment from a multi-disciplinary perspective, combining medication, therapy, and holistic methods to develop the treatment that works for you. Contact us today to start your journey toward wellness.