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The Irreversible Damage Caused By Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

950 words - 4 pages

A pregnant woman's lifestyle ultimately affects the development of her baby. Excessive exposure to alcohol during pregnancy can inflict serious, permanent physical and mental damage on her child. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol she is making her child drink also. In knowing how Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can be prevented, what the symptoms are, and who and what make up the risk factors fetal alcohol syndrome can be better understood.

The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome states "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the name given to a group of physical and mental birth defects that are the direct result of a woman's drinking during pregnancy" (NOFAS 1). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the only disease that is one hundred percent preventable if the mother refrains from drinking while pregnant. Drinking liquor at all during pregnancy is not advisable. There is no way of measuring how much alcohol one can consume before defects occur, and no proof that small amounts of liquor are safe. As little as one drink a day can cause a baby some degree of harm and interfere with their normal development.

The more the mother drinks the greater the risk of damage to the baby. "The Syndrome occurs in anywhere from point five to three live births per thousand in western countries…It is estimated that between thirty and forty percent of all woman who drink heavily during pregnancy will have a child afflicted with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome…Fetal Alcohol Syndrome outranks Down's Syndrome in prevalence and is the leading case of mental retardation" (Britanica 1). Once the damage is done it cannot be undone. Babies who are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome suffer symptoms that are permanent. Without a doubt the easiest way to prevent these defects is to not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. Education also plays a vital role in prevention. The more people know about the effects of maternal drinking, the less likely they will drink while pregnant. The risks of drinking as little as one or two drinks a day may not seem like much yet they can cause a lifetime of birth defects.

Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol syndrome are present not only at birth, but also during gestation. Low prenatal growth, and birth weight are common primary signs. A small head, small eye openings, droopy eye lids, a short upturned nose, thin upper lip, and small jaw are just some of the many physical abnormalities that can occur with chronic drinking. The physical birth defects are devastating yet just as much damage is unseen by the naked eye. Central nervous system defects such as Mental Retardation and behavior disorders can be seen. Poor concentration, impulsiveness and lack of judgment have a...

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