All You Need To Know About Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

What is Foetal alcohol syndrome?

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a condition that affects children through alcohol exposure during pregnancy. This condition causes brain damage and growth problems. One of the best things a mother can do for their unborn child is to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy. This gives the unborn baby the best start to their future.

What happens to your unborn baby when you drink alcohol during pregnancy?

When alcohol enters the bloodstream of a pregnant woman, it’s carried through the placental tissue that separates the baby’s blood system from hers. This means the alcohol is directly delivered to the unborn baby, so when the mother drinks, so does the unborn baby.

How does FAS affect children?

Children with FAS have unique facial features such as small eyes and a thin upper lip.

They may also experience:

  • Poor growth. Newborns may have low birth weights and small heads compared to other babies. They may not grow normally or gain weight.
  • Birth defects. FAS can cause heart, bone, and kidney problems. Vision problems and hearing loss are common, as well as other defects such as shortened limbs e.g. one arm shorter than the other.
  • Seizures and other neurological problems such as learning disabilities, and poor balance and coordination.
  • Delayed development. The child may not reach milestones at the expected time.
  • Behavioural problems. Babies may be fussy and have trouble sleeping.

How is FAS diagnosed?

  • Doctors can diagnose the condition based on a baby’s symptoms, especially if they know that the mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

How Is FAS Treated?

There is no cure for FAS. But many things can help children reach their full potential, especially if the problem is discovered early. Things like early intervention services, special schools and speech and physical therapy.

Can FAS be prevented?

It can be prevented by avoiding the intake of alcohol during pregnancy. Any woman who is trying to get pregnant or thinks she might be pregnant should not drink alcohol. If a pregnant woman does drink, the sooner she stops, the better it will be for her baby’s health.

When we provide a stable, nurturing, and safe home environment for our children, we can help reduce the effects of FAS. Don’t be afraid to get help if you or anyone you know needs help to stop drinking alcohol.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, an  Instagram message, a  Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).