Drug Addiction Pregnancy:
Drinking During Pregnancy--- No Amount Is Safe
By Ned Wicker
Drinking alcohol is very much a part of our American culture, so much so that women who are about to become pregnant, or who have just learned that they are pregnant, want to know the risks of drinking while they are carrying their baby.
The hazards are many and when considering the use of alcohol during pregnancy, women need to be aware of the possibilities that their baby might suffer a lifetime of physical and emotional calamity as a result of mom’s drinking.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a combination of physical and mental birth defects and is the most severe consequence of drinking. FAS is the worse combination of mental retardation and other physical defects effecting the heart and other organs, as well as facial features.
FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)
FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders)
ARBD (Alcohol-Related Birth Defect)
ARND (Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders)
Drinking also increases the risk of miscarriage or a pre-mature birth, which is before 37 weeks. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can also cause a stillbirth. Binge drinking is also a serious hazard, as studies have shown that women who binge drink three or more time while carrying have a 56 greater chance for a stillbirth than do women who do not binge drink. Likewise, moms who consume five or more drinks a week are at a 70% greater risk of a stillbirth than non-drinkers.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is entirely preventable. Don’t drink. Unlike other birth defects, which cannot be helped, FAS is inflicted on the baby by a drinking mother. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that between 1000 and 6000 babies are born each year with FAS, characterized by a small size at birth, which usually means that the child never catches up to his/her proper size.
Babies with FAS may display physical signs, such as smaller eyes and a thin upper lip, marked by smooth skin between the nose and lips instead of the normal groove that healthy babies will have. Their internal organs may not function properly, and FAS babies may have a small, abnormally formed brain, which leads to mental and behavioral challenges.
FAS children do not outgrow their challenges. These children are at risk for mental problems and serious behavioral issues, even criminal issues. Moreover, the effects of the alcohol last for a lifetime. Babies do not grow out of their problems, and as they develop into teenagers, life does not get better.
Not all babies have the full effects of FAS, however three times the number of babies with full FAS are born with some characteristics of FAS. These are called Alcohol-Related-Birth-Defects (ARBD) or Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ARND).
The babies born with ARBD have defects in major organs, such as kidneys, heart, liver, eyes, ears and bones. Borth defects under the ARND classification deal with developmental issues, such as leaning disabilities, attention, speaking, memory, problem solving and psychological disorders. Babies with these two disorders do not show the physical signs of FAS. Sometimes the term Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE) is used to describe symptoms that are less severe than FAS.
Binge drinking is a factor for FAS, as is having seven or more drinks per week, but problems can occur even if mothers drink much less. But what about after the mother delivers the baby? Is if OK to drink then? It may not be.
Mothers who are breast feeding need to be aware that small amounts of the alcohol they drink are going to wind up in the breast milk.
While there are not generally the severe consequences, like those of FAS, babies who breast feed might experience delays in the development of motor skills, such as crawling and walking. Also, mothers who drink may also experience problems in ejecting milk from their breast.
Again, there is no cure for FAS. If the condition is diagnosed early enough, within the first six years of life, and if the child is brought up in a stable, nurturing home, there is the possibilities that some of the most severe behavioral consequences of FAS may be lessened.
If you care concerned for your own health, or if you have a drinking problem and want to get help, there are resources in the community to assist you. Your doctor is a good place to start, or if you do not have a primary physician, call a local hospital and get an assessment.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an excellent source and they have the answers to most any question you may have. You community might have a crisis intervention hot-line, and the people there can probably connect you with a resource.
If you are already having difficulties with drinking, please get help. Call a drug and alcohol treatment center and give yourself an opportunity to regain control in your life.
Drug Addiction Pregnancy Summary:
Drug Addiction Pregnancy is a very serious condition and honest communication between mother and doctor is essential to avoid major problems for the baby.
Drug Addiction Pregnancy if heavy alcohol use is involved the baby may suffer from Fetal alcohol syndrome FAS.
Drug Addiction Pregnancy can also cause Alcohol-Related Birth Defect ARBD, which children tend to suffer from and not out grow.
Drug Addiction Pregnancy should be avoided to avoid hurting the unborn child.