What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome..?
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a disorder resulting from the exposure of alcohol to a baby in the mother’s womb during her pregnancy. This disorder leads to a number of health issues, the most important among them being Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Babies suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome are born with birth defects and developmental disabilities. This disease might result in various disorders in the childlike abnormal appearance, short height, small head size, hyperactive behavior, poor coordination, low body weight, intellectual disability, vision or hearing problems etc.
Causes of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
The mother causes this disease due to the intake of alcohol during pregnancy. When the mother consumes alcohol, that alcohol reaches the fetus very easily through the placenta. Once the alcohol reaches the fetus, it concentrates over there and blocks the passage of nutrition, oxygen and other important substances to the vital organs of the fetus. The fetus does not react to alcohol in the same way as an adult’s body does (read on Teen Pregnancy). This blockage or restriction leads to serious deformities in the child at the time of birth (also see why women gain weight after abortion).
Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
A child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome may exhibit some of these signs:
- Abnormal appearance, for instance, philtrum between the nose and upper lips,
- Deformities of joints, limbs, and fingers,
- Slow growth of the body,
- Difficulty in vision and hearing,
- Problems relating to heart, kidney, bones etc,
- Poor balance or coordination in the body, in extreme cases called cerebral palsy,
- Learning disorders,
- Intellectual disability like reasoning and problem-solving issues,
- Behavioral issues like hyperactivity, stubbornness, anxiety etc,
- Less control on impulses,
- Small head,
- Poor concentration,
- Poor height (sometimes smaller than the average),
- A thin upper lip.
Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Many mothers are reluctant to admit that they drank alcohol during their pregnancy. However, when the health of the baby is concerned, priority should be given to it. If the parents find the child having any of the aforementioned symptoms, they should immediately seek a doctor’s help. Not only this, but they should also inform the doctor about the alcohol intake of the mother while the baby was in her womb. The doctor after examining the baby with proper tests comes at the necessary solution. In most of the cases, the symptoms itself suggest the presence of this disease.
Preventive Measures for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Prevention is better than cure. This age-old line suits well even in the modern era. If proper precautions are taken beforehand, then the situation of fetal alcohol syndrome will not even arise. The root cause of this disease is the consumption of alcohol. So, it is always advisable that the mother should avoid alcohol if:
- She is trying to get pregnant,
- She thinks she is pregnant,
- She is pregnant,
- She is sexually active.
But, if the mother is so addicted to alcohol that it becomes difficult for her to avoid it, she should opt for proper professional help and undergo medication. Keeping the proper diet during the pregnancy is best to enhance your metabolism level
Treatment of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Although fetal Alcohol Syndrome is incurable, its treatment is possible. The effectiveness of the treatment depends upon how earlier the diagnosis has been made. So, it is very important to diagnose the disease as early as possible. Now let us look into some of the treatment methods which can very well be adopted:
Of course, every child needs proper medical care- whether he is suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or not. Apart from the basic medical care, normal vaccines, baby care, nutrition, hygiene etc. given to the child, some other specific care treatments should also be provided to him. This might include visiting doctors specialized in particular fields. For instance, neurologist, ophthalmologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, endocrinologist, neurologist etc. should be consulted depending on the symptoms.
No specific medicines have been prescribed for this disease. But, some general medicines relating to the symptoms might be taken. For behavioral issues as the problem of hyperactivity, poor impulse control etc. stimulants may be taken. While for social issues like mood swings, negativity, loss of interest, anti-social attitude etc., antidepressants can be taken.
Therapy and Counseling–
Children suffering from this disease have many issues. Therefore, proper therapy and counseling can be done in order to solve issues like:
Friendship training– This training may be used to teach the child social skills. A proper group format is adopted in which various sessions are organized. These sessions involve other peers of the child.
Executive function training– This training is used to inculcate reasoning, cause and effect skills in the child.
Tutors counseling– This training involves improving the skill and knowledge of the patient relating to various subjects like mathematics, reasoning etc.
- Parents’ attitude- Much depends on the attitude of the parents towards the child. When the ambiance at home is lovely and caring, that is bound to create a positive impact on the child. Children who grow in a violent and abusive environment are prone to indulge in substance abuse and criminal activities. These children need to be treated with a lot of affection and care because they are different from other children of their age.
- Other Alternatives- Other alternatives including yoga, exercise, acupuncture, acupressure, creative art therapies etc. might be adopted.
One thing is always to be remembered that there is no such problem in the world whose solution does not exist. It is always about how early you find it and how effectively you implement it. It is the case with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. A lot depends on how early the diagnosis is done and how effectively the treatment is being carried on. Pregnancy is the very critical stage for women. She cannot afford to compromise when it comes to hygiene and balanced diet. Always being in touch with online dietician for customizing your pregnancy diet plan will give the positive result.