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Symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) develops if a mother is drinking alcohol during pregnancy. All pregnant women should avoid drinking alcohol as it may seriously harm her baby’s health. It is estimated that in USA about 40.000 babies are born with some signs of fetal alcohol syndrome every year.

If you drank alcohol while pregnant your child can have physical, mental or emotional problems. These problems can range from mild to extremely serious conditions such as mental retardation.

The thing is that alcohol enters your bloodstream. It crosses the placenta and reaches your fetus. In order to develop properly fetus needs oxygen and nutritive from food. Alcohol interferes with delivery of everything that baby needs and thus damages baby’s organs and nervous system. The higher the intake of alcohol makes the higher risk of harming your baby’s health.

Brain and nervous system develops in first trimester and therefore you should strictly avoid alcohol in that period. Fetal alcohol syndrome represents all different disorders that a baby who was exposed to alcohol can show. The most usual symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome include many problems such as following. 

  • Your baby might have typical FAS facial look. This includes small eyes, unusually thin lips and smooth skin.

  • Your baby could suffer from heart malfunctions.

  • Typical are deformed joints, hands, arms or fingers or a baby can have poor coordination.

  • Baby could grow very slowly

  • She or he may have troubles with seeing or hearing

  • Her or his brain could be smaller than healthy baby's brain

  • She or he can be mentally retarded, have learning difficulties, suffer from problems with sleeping

  • He or she can be nervous, aggressive, hyperactive, have unknown fears etc

Alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder (ARND) represents all range of behavioral troubles of children whose mothers consumed alcohol while being pregnant.

Alcohol-related birth defects (ARBDs) represent physical abnormalities of such children.

If you are pregnant and realize that you cannot stop drinking talk to your physician who can find the way to help you. 

If you adopted a child or you are giving foster care to a child and you noticed fetal alcohol syndromes in her or him contact your doctor immediately.

It is not known what is the amount of alcoholic beverages that will not cause any harm to your baby. Therefore the only safe thing to do is to avoid alcohol completely while pregnant. If your pregnancy was unplanned and you have been drinking not knowing that you will have a baby, stop drinking as soon as you realize that you are pregnant.

If you are generally not able to stop drinking get a professional help. 

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