If you drink alcohol during pregnancy, you risk giving birth to a child who will pay the price — in mental and physical deficiencies — for his or her entire life. DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THAT?
- Each year in the United States, 1 in every 750 infants is born with physical, developmental, and functional problems referred to as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS),
- Another 40,000 are born with fetal alcohol effects (FAE).
- Alcohol (wine, beer, or liquor) is the leading known preventable cause of mental and physical birth defects in the United States.
- When you drink alcohol while you are pregnant, the alcohol goes straight to your baby through the bloodstream.
- The more alcohol you drink, the more damage may be done to your baby.
- Binge drinking – having five or more alcoholic drinks at a time – is very dangerous for your unborn baby.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME
- Low birth weight
- Small head
- Failure to thrive (grow)
- Facial abnormalities, smaller eye openings, flattened cheekbones, epilepsy
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty building and maintaining friendships and relating to groups
- Lack of imagination or curiosity
- Learning difficulties: poor memory, inability to understand concepts such as time and money, poor language comprehension, poor problem-solving skills.
- Behavioral problems: hyperactivity (can’t settle down), can’t concentrate, socially withdrawn, stubborn, impulsive, and anxiety.
- Babies exposed to large amounts of alcohol before birth may go through withdrawal in the first few weeks of life. This withdrawal often starts before they leave the hospital. Symptoms of withdrawal can be: extreme irritability (or fussiness); tremors or shaking; feeding problems; and diarrhea.
- Your baby may have problems with his or her heart rates, breathing or digestion. Many babies exposed to alcohol during pregnancy are fussy and find it hard to settle. This problem may last for years.
- Your baby may also have problems sleeping.
DOES FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME GO AWAY?
THE SYMPTOMS OF FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME LAST A LIFETIME. BUT THE SYMPTOMS MAY CHANGE AS YOUR BABY GETS OLDER.
TODDLERS MAY BE:
- Hyperactive – just can’t settle down
- Unable to follow simple instructions
- Much too friendly, even to strangers
- Delayed in their development.
SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN (5-18) MAY HAVE:
- learning difficulties, including problems reading
- difficulty paying attention;
- behavior problems in the classroom
- trouble keeping up in school – falling farther and farther behind
TEENAGERS AND ADULTS WHO WERE BORN WITH FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME MAY HAVE:
- mental health problems
- inappropriate sexual behavior
- bad experiences in school
- trouble with the law
- drug or alcohol abuse
CAN I PREVENT FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME? YES!
- Stop drinking now if you are thinking of getting pregnant or are already pregnant.
- If you are pregnant and can’t stop drinking by yourself, ask someone for help.