Fetal alcohol syndrome is a serious condition for a lot of children. When a mother drinks alcohol while pregnant, she is putting her fetus at serious risk. In fact, there are so many birth defects, mental and physical, from alcohol in the united states, that it is the leading preventable cause. If people were to not drink while pregnant, there would be less birth defects than by any other act of prevention. In the United States, about 1 in every 750 infants is born with problems associated with fetal alcohol syndrome.
There are many problems associated with drinking alcohol while pregnant, including:
- having a low birth weight and a small head size
- developing slower than normal
- organ dysfunction
- facial defects like smaller eye openings, flattened cheekbones, and cleft lip
- poor coordination/fine motor skills
- mental problems like trouble socializing and maintaining friendships and lacking curiosity or imagination, and learning problems
- behavioral problems including ADHD like symptoms and a failure to cooperate with authority figures
There are also 40,000 kids who are born with fetal alcohol effects in the United States, which are these same symptoms except less severe.
Besides the physical deficiencies, there are many people who only exhibit the behavioral or emotional deficiencies of FAS, and go undiagnosed. These problems can get even worse when children enter into adulthood, and can include mental health problems and an inability to live independently or function well in society, often leading to trouble with the law.
There is no set amount of alcohol that will cause fetal alcohol syndrome, or fetal alcohol effects. Alcohol effects everybody differently, so it is impossible to say how much alcohol will be harmful. If a mother drinks during the first trimester, she is much more likely to give her kid problems, since the brain is developing during that time. Since the alcohol lingers with the fetus longer than with the mother and effects it in a much higher concentration, any period of binge drinking can have a huge effect on the fetus. The easiest method to protect your infant from life long deficiencies is to not drink.
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