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Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome (FAS) refers to a pattern of physical and mental defects that a fetus develops due to prenatal exposure to alcohol (Armstrong 277). Alcohol is one of the teratogens that affect fetal development negatively. The likelihood of developing FAS is high when the mother consumes high levels of alcohol during pregnancy. However, it is safer when a pregnant mother does not consume alcohol at all during pregnancy than consuming little (Peters 105). The placental barrier fails to filter alcohol like it does to other substances. Therefore, alcohol enters the blood stream of the fetus, and it can harm the fetus in a number of ways. This discussion will consider the causes, incidence, risk factors, and treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Causes of Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome
Alcohol is the cause of fetal alcohol syndrome, which reaches the blood stream of the fetus by moving through the placental barrier (Peters 107). The fetus tends to contain a high concentration of alcohol in the blood stream because the rate of metabolism is slow as compared to the rate of metabolism in adults. Alcohol can interfere with the supply of optimal nutrition and oxygen to the fetus developing organs and tissues, including the delicate organs such as the brain (Peters 108). The probability of the fetus to develop fetal alcohol syndrome is high when the mother consumes a lot of alcohol on a daily basis.
Children with fetal alcohol syndrome possess a number of problems, including poor coordination, learning disorders, heart defects, small brain size, hearing problems or vision difficulties, retarded growth, just to mention a few (Peters 106). The facial feature of children with FAS may differ from the normal children, but distinguishing may require some expertise. Such children develop learning problems because of the small size of the brain (Peters 105).
Even clinicians are not aware of the exact amount of alcohol that the expectant woman would have to consume to place her fetus at risk, but they understand that excessive consumption puts a fetus at more risk than when the mother consumes little alcohol. Because it is not clear how much expectant mothers should consume, it is advisable that they should not drink at during pregnancy if they do not want to put the unborn baby at risk of developing fetal alcohol syndrome (Armstrong 277).
Treatment of Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome
Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome does not have a cure. The mental deficiencies and physical defects usually persist for the rest of the victim’s life (Peters 106). However, some abnormalities, such as heart problems may require surgical interventions to avoid heart failure later in life. Learning problems may also undergo improvement through special learning education. It is necessary to counsel the parents and guardians of the affected children so that they can be able to meet their needs appropriately (Peters 105).