A pregnant woman is in a state of vulnerable condition. At this moment, she is greatly defenseless from different variants of toxins and harmful substances. Alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs are some of the substances that may cause negative effects towards the fetus inside the mother’s womb. These substances are referred to as teratogens. These substances can make the baby sick. It can even result to delivering an abnormal baby.
Alcohol is one teratogen that could greatly affect the woman’s pregnancy. When a woman is into alcohol addiction, this will be a very problematic case when she is pregnant. People may not be sensitive of its harm and still permits a woman to take in alcoholic drinks during her pregnancy, but the effect of this would be carried by the baby for the rest of his or her life. Alcohol is one of the known causes of mental and physical birth defects specifically in the United States. The rate is high, even if it’s just a probability.
Whenever a woman ingests alcohol during pregnancy, a disorder called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can occur on her embryo. Alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can feat fetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial stigmata, harm neurons and brain structures, and cause other physical, mental, or behavioral problems. The central nervous system specifically the brain is one of the parts damaged by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Developing brain cells and structures are underdeveloped or malformed by prenatal alcohol exposure, often making an array of primary cognitive and functional disabilities including poor memory, attention deficits, impulsive behavior, and poor cause-effect reasoning, as well as secondary disabilities for example, mental health problems, and drug addiction.
The signs and symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome are low birth weight, undersized head circumference, developmental delay, organ malfunction, facial abnormalities, including smaller eye openings, flattened cheekbones, and indistinct philtrum (an underdeveloped groove between the nose and the upper lip), epilepsy, poor coordination, poor socialization abilities, such as difficulty building and maintaining friendships and relating to groups, lack of imagination or curiosity, learning difficulties, including poor memory, inability to understand concepts such as time and money, poor language comprehension, poor problem-solving skills, behavioral problems including hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, social withdrawal, stubbornness, impulsiveness, and anxiety.
The main feature of fetal alcohol syndrome is its damage on the central nervous system. Central nervous system damage can be assessed in three factors such as structural, neurological, and functional impairments. Structural impairments may include microcephaly (small head size) of two or more average deviations below the average, or other abnormalities in brain structure. During the first trimester of pregnancy, alcohol interferes with the migration and organization of brain cells, which can create structural deficits within the brain. On the third trimester, damage can be caused to the hippocampus, which plays a role in memory, learning, emotion, and encoding visual and auditory information, all of which can create neurological and functional CNS impairments as well.
When structural impairments are not observable or do not exist, neurological impairments are assessed. Neurological problems are showed as either hard signs, or diagnosable disorders, such as epilepsy or other seizure disorders, or soft signs. Soft signs are broader, nonspecific neurological impairments, or symptoms, such as impaired fine motor skills, neurosensory hearing loss, poor gait, clumsiness, poor eye-hand coordination.
When structural or neurological impairments are not observed, all four diagnostic systems allow CNS damage owed to prenatal alcohol exposure to be assessed in terms of functional impairments. Functional impairments are deficits, problems, delays, or abnormalities due to prenatal alcohol exposure (rather than hereditary causes or postnatal insults) in visible and assessable domains related to daily functioning, often referred to as developmental disabilities.
Although there are no evidences that will tell us the amount of alcohol that will produce birth defects, ingesting alcohol no matter the amount is still very dangerous. It is very important that before a women considers herself to become a mother, she must let go of her alcohol addiction.
Alcohol addiction is very dangerous specially on women who are pregnant; the danger of fetal alcohol syndrome to occur is present.