Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a severe form of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) which occurs in children, due to alcohol exposure during the period of pregnancy .
It causes brain damage and growth problems in the child and can vary from one child to the other. FAS can affect the child's vision, hearing, memory, attention span, and abilities to learn and communicate. The damages are mostly permanent, however, are avoidable .
Symptoms Of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
The signs can vary from one child to the other, that is, while it may be severe for one, it can be mild in another. The symptoms of FAS can be intellectual or cognitive disabilities, physical defects and lack everyday-skills .
The physical defects include:
Nervous problems include :
Social and behavioural issues include :
The primary and only cause of FAS is alcohol consumption during pregnancy. When you consume alcohol during your pregnancy period, the alcohol enters your bloodstream and reaches the foetus by crossing the placenta.
This can result in the development of higher blood alcohol concentrations in your developing baby, as well as interfere with the delivery of oxygen and optimal nutrition .
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy also affects the development of tissues and organs and cause permanent brain damage in the baby.Complications Of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
Some of the problems that can arise once the child grows up are mentioned below.
If you think your child may have FAS, go to the doctor immediately. The doctor will have to be informed about your drinking habits, if any, during the pregnancy period .
A physical examination of your baby will be carried out. The doctor will check for symptoms such as slow rate of growth, abnormal facial features or bone growth, hearing and vision problems, slow language acquisition (as the baby matures), small head size and poor coordination.Treatment For Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
The mental and physical defects will persist for a long time and as of now, there is no cure for foetal alcohol syndrome .
Depending on the symptoms the child exhibits, the doctor may direct for specialist visits. Early intervention is the best way to reduce some of the effects of the condition and prevent secondary disabilities.
The intervention process will be comprised of a team with a special education teacher, a speech therapist, physical and occupational therapists, and a psychologist.
Medications for managing the symptom are also prescribed. Apart from these, medical care for vision problems or heart abnormalities is provided .
Then, counselling such as behavioural training is an effective way of improving the social skills of the child.On A Final Note...
The most preferable way to prevent the condition is by stopping the drinking habit, especially during pregnancy. Not just during pregnancy but also avoid it if you're trying to get pregnant and consider giving up alcohol during your childbearing years. And if you an alcohol problem and wish to get pregnant, get help from a doctor.
Infographics by Sharan Jayanth