Women who consume more amount of alcohol during pregnancy give birth to babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Fetal alcohol syndrome is a type of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. FASD generally range from mild to chronic and can cause physical and mental birth defects.
Types of Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
The common types of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder:
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Partial fetal alcohol syndrome
- Alcohol related birth defects
- Alcohol related neurodevelopment disorder
- Neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure
Fetal Alcohol syndrome
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a severe disease condition. The effects of fetal alcohol syndrome vary from person to person depending on the health condition. Patients with fetal alcohol syndrome generally experience problem with vision, hearing, memory and attention span. The babies also face difficulty in learning how to communicate.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Causes
Fetal alcohol syndrome is mainly caused due to heavy drinking. This condition arises when some amount of alcohol passes across the placenta and reaches the fetus. The developing fetus will not be able to process alcohol the same way as an adult does.
The alcohol that reaches the fetus is in more concentrated state and can prevent the supply of oxygen and nutrients that are required by the fetus. Damage is generally reported in the first few weeks of excessive drinking. The risk increases if the mother is a heavy drinker.
Gynecologists usually ask you to avoid alcohol in the first three months as it can harm the fetus. However, drinking alcohol at any stage of pregnancy can harm the baby and it is better to avoid consuming alcohol during pregnancy.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Symptoms
There are many symptoms that are associated with fetal alcohol syndrome. The symptoms range from mild to chronic. The most common symptoms include:
- Head appears smaller in size after the birth
- A smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose
- A thin upper lip
- Low birth weight
- Lack of focus
- Poor coordination
- Delayed development and poor social skills
- Problem in seeing and hearing
- Learning disability
- Cardiac problem
- Kidney problems
- Deformed limbs or fingers
- Mood swings
- Intellectual disability
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnosis
The early the diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome, the earlier it can be treated. You need to tell your doctor if you drank alcohol while you were pregnant. The common diagnostic procedures include:
- Physical examination
Physical examination helps the doctor in identifying the cardiac problems. There are certain other sign and symptoms that help in making the diagnosis easier. The common signs that help in diagnosis include:
- Slow growth rate
- Abnormal facial features
- Vision problems
- Hearing problems
- Slow language acquisition
- Smaller head size
- Poor coordination
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a preventable disease condition. You can prevent this disease by avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Light or social drinkers also face this problem in few rare cases. Thus, it is better to completely avoid alcohol during pregnancy for a healthy baby.