The contemporary research on the effects of alcohol exposure during pregnancy shows that abstinence from alcohol consumption is essential when healthy child is desired (Brown, 2006). At the same time, there is some research that demonstrates the allowance of light drinking during certain stages of prenatal development letting the women to decide themselves if the alcohol consumption in small portions is harmful (Moskin, 2006). This essay is an attempt to analyze current research on the topic.
There have been many campaigns organized by the government and non-governmental organizations to emphasize the negative effects of alcohol along with the drugs during parental development in most countries of the world. Thus, many people are aware of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), their conditions, causes and treatment.
The term describes the whole range of effects, which can happen with an individual, whose mother while being pregnant drank alcohol. The effects of FASDs may include both mental and physical disabilities; the learning process and person’s behavior with various lifelong implications may be affected as well.
The term FASD includes the certain conditions. First of all, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), as the most severe one, describes people that are affected by alcohol to the highest extent. Its symptoms can be found in specific abnormalities of face. Moreover, growth deficit can be observed as well: the person is usually less of an average weight or height, or both. Apart from that, there are some neurologic or/and functional abnormalities with central nervous system (CNS).
The second possible condition of FASD is a Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It can be possible for a person not to meet the full FAS diagnostic criteria but to have prenatal alcohol exposure history with the elements of facial abnormalities, CNS abnormalities or growth problem. Such person is considered to have this type of syndrome.
Alcohol-Related Neuro-Developmental Disorder is a condition, which categorized the people that do not experience growth problems or abnormal features of the face, although their brain and nervous system functioning and formation still suffers. Others can easily recognize them because of a comparatively thin upper lip, extra folded skin in the inner corners of the eyes, and flatter groove between the nose and the upper lip. Those children may have brain or nerve abnormalities, intellectual disabilities, and have learning or behavior problems.
The last condition of FASD is Alcohol-Related Birth Defects. It characterizes the people that have problems of formation or functioning of their bones, heart, kidneys. They also may suffer from hearing and vision difficulties.
The FASDs’ cause is the result of alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman. Baby’s blood absorbs this fermented liquor from his/her mother damaging the brain and other systems of organs, and, thus, leading to FASD. This syndrome is preventable; the only thing a woman should do is not consume alcohol while being pregnant.
It is essential to mention that FASDs can be hardly diagnosed because of the lack of tests, which would make FASD symptoms apparent. Moreover, despite having a normal IQ, children with FASD can have brain abnormalities that lead to its functioning problems. It is also recommended for those children that are involved in international adoption processes to be always diagnosed for FASD.
As FASD syndromes have different indicators, there is no right treatment for all children. Medical home provision is essential for FASDs treatment. Moreover, coordination and facilitation of all services such as social, educational, medical, and behavioral are necessary in this case as well.
By developmental services to treat FASDs social skills training, educational interventions, behavior modification, medications and various therapies, parent training, advocacy at the workplace and in school are meant. Every treatment plan should be adjusted to the needs of a child and family, and have obligatory monitoring with the follow-up.
As there is no cure for FASDs, they last for a lifetime. However, it is possible to help children to reach their potential when identifying FASDs as early as possible. Thus, it is better for women not to consume even light doses of alcohol.
Although it is permitted to consume fermented liquors in many countries, women always have a choice and avoid such temptation. The interesting fact is even in the countries like the US, where abstinence from alcohol consuming is expected, there is a percentage of woman, who admit doing that.
There are also various debates regarding the number of time of consuming alcohol. One can decide that drinking the same dose every day of the week and twice a week can have different effect. Alcohol is still concentrated in the women’s bodies; thus, it is still very harmful and those, who chose to drink either way are still putting their future babies at high risk of FASDs. They affect the children’s brain no matter if the woman drank more or less; although, the brain is less damaged after drinking less, respectively.
As other child’s organs are damaged as well, women have to have a clear understanding why drinking is unhealthy to her yet unborn child, and various advertisings play an important role in this case. Despite promotions anti-drinking campaigns are very useful and thought-provoking; they have to be organized in order to encourage women not to drink, especially while being pregnant.
There is also some critique regarding those anti-alcohol promotion methods. Women are very scared by sharp promotional phrases such as “everything you drink affects you baby’s head” and after getting to know about their pregnancy future mothers can rush to have an abortion. They have drank before they got to know that they are pregnant and they do not want to have their children unhealthy and feel guilty all their lives.
In order to understand when alcohol exposure affects body the most, there were some experiments conducted with the rats compared to the human bodies. It was found that the moment of critical neurons development, when they start forming connections, is the peak for the alcohol exposure. However, rats experience that right after the birth, and such humans’ synaptogenesis occurs during the second half of the pregnancy period and can continue for more than two years.
Of course, drinking wine in many families, for example, has become a good tradition or even ritual, which is not associated with alcohol consumption. The main thing is to be aware of the possible consequences of such drinking having honesty and responsibility. Of course, there are many lurks regarding food, especially when person is pregnant: salmonella, mercury, listeria, etc. The main thing is to be aware of potential dangers and their consequences, and follow all the doctor’s rules to have a healthy child.
Every woman has her temptation to drink. Since we are all human beings that can influence the development of society by making our own unique input, we have to be conscious about not making “drunken” conclusion, and bring our future child to the healthy world, which is already full of various unfavorable suffers and troubles.