Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a prevalent issue, and one that develops when a woman drinks throughout her pregnancy. Doing so can inhibit their baby’s growth and can lead to severe birth defects that will last for their lifetime.
This isn’t an isolated issue.
- Over 8% of pregnant women have reported binge drinking.
- Over 9% admitted drinking alcohol over the last month.
- Over 2% reported binge drinking in the last month. (Considered at least four drinks per occasion.)
What Is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
FASD inhibits a baby’s development, and can affect their brain, organ, and physiological development. The National Institute of Health states that prenatal alcohol exposure is one of the leading preventable causes of birth defects. It can be a challenge to make lifestyle adjustments, but the life of a child is at risk, and with careful treatment and monitoring, it’s possible to manage and prevent.
Causes of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
While it’s well-known that heavy drinking should be avoided while pregnant, studies are showing that there’s no safe number of drinks while pregnant. Because alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, and the mother and child are sharing a bloodstream, both will be affected.
The specific psychological or physiological changes depends on when the alcohol is consumed during the pregnancy. If a woman is binge drinking while the internal organs are developing, then the child’s internal organs can be damaged. Although, it’s important to note that the brain’s development can be effected at any point during the pregnancy.
Signs of Maternal Alcohol Abuse
Like many psychological diagnoses, alcoholism may be hard to detect. Paying close attention to your behavior, or that of a family member or friend, can not only help save their life but also the life of their child.
Signs of alcohol abuse include:
- Drinking more than intended
- Unsuccessful attempts to minimize drinking
- Trouble functioning for every day activities
- Developing personal problems, due to their drinking or its side effects
The Effects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder on Children
FASD can cause a number of concerns with the child, including developmental, cognitive, and behavioral. These can appear seemingly out of nowhere, and can’t be healed in the traditional sense of the word.
A study published in February of 2016 on the journal Pediatrics‘s website states that the consequences of drinking while pregnant need to be addressed early in the child’s life for maximum results. Treatment includes medication, behavior therapy, and parent training.
Treatment for Maternal Alcohol Abuse
You don’t need to try to recover on your own. Recovery is difficult before adding adapting to a changing body and a changing future; you’ll be able to succeed with medical support, counseling, a quiet place to recover, as well as family and friends. With a strong support system in place, it’s possible to recover and have a healthy child.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder should not be taken lightly, for it can have drastic, life-long effects on a child. However, with prenatal treatment and early treatment for the child, recovery is possible.
“Facts About FASDs.” Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 April 2015. Web. 1 March 2016. <http://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/fasd/facts.html>.
“Fetal Alcohol Exposure.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. National Institutes of Health, April 2015. Web. 1 March 2016.<http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/FASDFactsheet/FASD.pdf>.
Preidt, Robert. “Study Details Dire Consequences of Fetal Alcohol Disorders.” MedlinePlus. National Institutes of Health, 25 February 2016. Web. 1 March 2016.<https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_157470.html>.
“Drinking to Excess: Recognize and Treat Alcohol Problems.” News In Health. National Institutes of Health, September 2014. Web. 2 March 2016. <https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Sep2014/Feature1>.