Fetal Alcohol Syndrome of the (FAS), is a disorder of the fetal caused by alcohol during pregnancy (Kids Health). Any alcohol consumption during the pregnancy period is a risk that is passed to the child as a complication or disorder physically or mentally through out the child’s life (Kids Health). There are some exceptions where alcohol intake does not result into FAS but it should be noted that any amount of alcohol ingested during pregnancy has a potential risk to the unborn baby (Kids Health). In the United States alone, it is estimated that in about 750 children, one is born with the physical, mental, and developmental disorders better known as FAS, while about 40,000 children are born with fetal alcohol effects FAE (Kids Health). FAS cause permanent nervous system damage usually to the brain. The brain cells of the child become underdeveloped due to consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. This results into several brain and functional disorders, which include a very poor memory, impulses problem, and a poor decisive reasoning (Kids Health). Secondary effects of prenatal alcohol include drug addiction and poor mental health.
Which is the safe alcohol quantity?
Having understood the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, is it safe to have a drink occasionally? What is the alcohol amount that should be considered too much? There is no credible research on the amount of alcohol capable of producing birth defects (Kids Health). Apart from the fact that alcohol is processed in different ways by deferent people, other factors such as age, timing, the frequency of taking the alcohol, and drinking after eating have an influence on the effects caused by alcohol (Kids Health).
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a great risk to the newborn population in our country. The figures relating FAS to mental retardation have of late increased above those recorded from Down syndrome, spina buifida or cerebral palsy (Luke, 1990). Parental alcohol consumption results to about 8% of mild mental retardation cases; and has caused different physical disorders to between 6,000 and 11,000 children in the U.S (Burd & Martsolf, 1989).
Fetal alcohol syndrome characteristics include some specific patterns of disorder caused by alcohol intake during pregnancy. There is no evidence on the amount or the time of intake, that results into FAS, but it is known to be one of the causes of preventable mental retardation disorders. FAS diagnosis is based on; cases of prenatal or postnatal retardation after birth, craniofacial abnormalities and the nervous system (CNS) disorders. A permanent neurocognitive abnormality that reduces the life of the infants is observed in many infants exposed to alcohol in the uterus and who do not meet the diagnostic process. This is however less severe and these infants are fetus fatal alcohol effects (FAE), neurodevelopmental disorder that is related to alcohol (ARND) and birth defects related to alcohol (ARBD).
CNS effects to the fatal is the major cause of neurodevelopmental disorders which includes, learning problems, mental retardation, poor reasoning, sensory processing disorders and motor effect problems. Hyperactivity, aggressive behaviors, poor impulses, and poor socialization are also related defects caused by CNS effects.