Reducing The Risks Of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
By Tiffney Yeager
Alcohol Rehab:

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a pattern of physical and mental problems that can occur when a mother is exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol passes easily from the mother to her unborn child. Because an unborn child is going through such rapid development, alcohol can have profound effects on the unborn child. Although larger amounts of alcohol seem to lead to more physical and developmental problems for an unborn child, even small amounts of alcohol may pose a risk. Also, drinking alcohol during the earlier stages of a pregnancy (particularly the first three months) may to lead to more problems for the fetus since many of the major organs begin developing in the first three months following conception. Unfortunately, women often do not find out they are pregnant until weeks after conception. In some cases, a woman may be pregnant for months before she realizes she is carrying a child. This can be particularly true for women who have unpredictable menstrual cycles, who are overweight, or who experience few symptoms of pregnancy. One of the unfortunate ramifications of this is that a mother may consume large amounts of alcohol over an extended period of time before she knows she is pregnant.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can cause a variety of specific problems, including slow growth in the womb, problems with coordination and muscle tone, heart defects, speech problems, mental retardation and even miscarriage or infant death. Many babies born to mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy will have a pattern of physical abnormalities, including a small head, narrow eyes and changes in the jaw and lip development. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects both how a child looks and how they ultimately function in their world.

If you are pregnant, or hoping to become pregnant, avoid consuming alcohol. No amount of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy and abstinence during pregnancy is the safest course of action. If you find out that you are pregnant and realize that you have been drinking during the early stages of pregnancy, share this information with your physician. Frequently women who have an unexpected pregnancy realize that they have consumed alcohol after conception. It is helpful for your physician to have this information so that he or she can plan the best course of action. Fortunately, for many women, alcohol use early in pregnancy does not appear to lead to any long term damage. This is particularly true if the alcohol use was infrequent and in smaller amounts.

If you find that you cannot stop drinking during pregnancy, contact your physician or an alcohol rehab center to learn more about help that may be available to you and your unborn child. If you struggle to avoid alcohol and plan or become pregnant, or are already pregnant, perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give both yourself and your unborn child is a mother free of alcohol. Many alcohol rehab centers can work with pregnant women and their physicians to provide treatment that is safe and supportive.

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