EFFECTS OF DRINKING ALCOHOL DURING PREGNANCY

  • Alcohol is considered dangerous to the growing baby when in your tummy.
  • There are very little studies regarding how much alcohol significantly affects the growing child, hence best bet is to avoid it altogether.
  • Alcohol is easily dissolvable and ends up reaching the baby through the umbilical cord. The alcohol cannot be broken down by the baby’s immature liver.
  • Presence of alcohol affects the baby in many ways and particularly the overall growth and also the brain nerve connections.Repeated Miscarriages( failure to get pregnant) is a known problem with alcohol consumption

This condition is known as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome where there could be a collection of abnormal findings at birth. Like –

  • Small head size and Low birth weight
  • Abnormalities in the face- small eyes set far apart, thin lips
  • Problems with brain- Cerebral Palsy( Stiffness, abnormal movements, difficulty in coordination)
  • Learning difficulty in later life
  • Behaviour problems- Autism(see the section for autism), Attention defects( ADHD)Affects other organs- Liver, Kidney, Heart development

 

PREVENTION

  • Avoid alcohol as much as possible during pregnancy
  • Ultrasound, especially the one at 20 weeks (anomaly scan)- to check for abnormalities.

 

TREATMENT/ MANAGEMENT

  • There is no actual treatment of the syndrome. It can only be managed by individually referring to each problem.
  • Heart, kidney, lung weight problems will be dealt at birth
  • Hearing, speech problems needs to be followed up by the speech therapist
  • Make sure you have screened you baby for hearing defects at birth
  • Behavioural problems are dealt with respective child psychologist( at 3 to 7 years of life)

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