Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the medical term used to describe a set of physical and mental birth defects that can result from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. When a pregnant women drinks alcohol of any kind such as beer, wine or mixed drinks, her baby drinks it too. According to Health Canada, it is estimated that every day in Canada at least one child is born with FAS, which can lead to a variety of life long disabilities. Read on as Truestar reveals why pregnancy and alcohol just don’t mix!
Consider the following findings:
• About 15% of pregnant women consume alcohol and 2% consume alcohol frequently;
• A study conducted at the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis showed that just two drinks consumed during pregnancy may be enough to kill developing brain cells, leading to permanent brain damage;
• An individual with fetal alcohol syndrome can incur a lifetime of health costs of over $800,000 (US).
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Related Disorders
When a woman drinks during pregnancy the alcohol passes through the placenta directly into the developing baby, possibly leading to lifelong damage. FAS is characterized by brain damage, facial deformities and growth deficits. Heart, liver and kidney defects can also occur, as well as vision and auditory problems. Those individuals who suffer from FAS have trouble with learning, attention, memory and problem solving. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the leading known preventable cause of mental retardation and birth defects.
Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) is a similar condition to FAS, which has some, but not all, of the characteristics seen in FAS.
Alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder (ARND) is the term reserved for individuals with functional or cognitive impairments linked to prenatal alcohol exposure including decreased head size at birth, structural brain abnormalities and a pattern of behavioral and mental abnormalities. Alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD) describes the physical defects tied to prenatal alcohol exposure such as heart, skeletal, kidney, ear and eye malformations.
Preventing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Women who are or may become pregnant should not drink any alcoholic beverages. No safe level of alcohol intake has been established at any time during pregnancy. If you are a woman who is drinking during pregnancy, it’s never too late to stop—the sooner you stop drinking, the better it will be for the baby and yourself. If you cannot stop drinking, it is best to contact your health care practitioner immediately or local Alcoholics Anonymous alcohol treatment center. As well, if you are a sexually active woman who drinks heavily, you should use contraceptive measures and learn to control drinking behaviors prior to attempting to conceive.
Truestar wants you and your baby to be the healthiest possible. Stay well during pregnancy by following the Truestar nutrition, exercise and supplement plans for pregnancy, get plenty of sleep and maintain a positive attitude!