Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (or ‘foetal’ in UK spelling) is not just something that happens to other people and you need to know the facts about this before it happens to you and your baby.
This is a birth defect that can occur when the mother has a high alcohol consumption level during pregnancy. It can destroy your child’s entire future even before he or she has taken their first breath.
It is sad that more people are not aware of the number of newborns who are coming into this world with the damaging effects of alcohol already having taken a toll. Babies born with alcohol related defects outnumber all of the ones who are born with any other developmental problem.
For many of these innocent babes there will be little hope for any improvement from the devastating effects caused by the heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy.
More than three decades have passed since this disorder was given a name and brought to the attention of the public. Although research has proven the relationship between alcohol use during pregnancy and this syndrome, there are many children still being born today with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
A baby is constantly growing and developing during the months of pregnancy and the most critical periods are the first and second trimesters. These are the months that are crucial for proper development of both the body and brain. This is also the time that many women are drinking alcohol; especially during the first 3-4 months when they may still not realize that they are pregnant.
There are even some women who still refuse to believe that such a tiny fetus can really be harmed by heavy drinking during these early months. Alcohol will quickly pass through the placental barrier and may harm your unborn baby.
Unfortunately it is the innocent baby who will bear the consequences of the mother’s choice to use alcohol during pregnancy. These babies have mental and physical defects that will impair their abilities and development throughout their lives.
Not only are babies with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome smaller at birth, their Apgar scores are much lower than normal.
Many of them suffer from nerve damage and some will even have seizures. They may also exhibit physical defects including an abnormally small head size and unusually close-set eyes. Brain development is also critically affected and these children have many learning difficulties.
There are ways to help protect these babies who have yet to be born. If you drink excesively now, or know someone who has an alcohol problem, seek help through an AA support group or a counselor like myself. Programs are available for you or those you love that can provide treatment before another baby’s future is lost forever.
Please don’t risk becoming pregnant unless you have your alcohol problem under control. Even one or two drinks can be harmful to your unborn child. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a fact, and it can occur to anyone who abuses alcohol while pregnant. The consequences are heartbreakingly real, so for the sake of both you and your baby, get the help and advice now, before it’s too late.