Beyond FAS: Other Dangers of Alcohol During Pregnancy
The negative effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy are well documented. The development of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one well-known risk of excessive drinking while carrying a fetus. And while women should be aware of the dangers of this disease, it is by far the only reason not to take a drink while pregnant.
Indeed, not all children exposed to alcohol will develop FAS. Now commonly referred to under the umbrella term of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), babies born of mothers who consume alcohol while pregnant are more likely to develop alcohol related birth defects (ARBD) or alcohol related neurological disorders (ARND), each of which can occur independently and in the absence of FAS itself.
Neurological disorders, in fact, pose an equal if not greater danger to the child then actual physical abnormalities, since they are often misattributed to other behavioral disorders or simply brushed off as being part of the normal developmental stages of a child’s development.
Some life-long learning deficiencies and behavioral problems common to children with ARNDs are:
- Difficulty with memory and comprehension
- Mathematical deficiencies; in particular trouble with abstract problem-solving
- Hyperactivity and impulsive behavior
- Lying, stealing, stubbornness, aggressiveness
- Lack of emotional intelligence including delaying reactions to social cues, inability to form friendships and isolation
And if that wasn’t scary enough, recent studies have even linked the consumption of alcohol by a mother in early pregnancy to the onset of alcoholism in her child by age 21.
Your child’s future
Every parent worries about how their teenagers will cope with peer and media pressure encouraging them to abuse alcohol and other dangerous substance. But most don’t consider how their own behaviors will influence their child’s decision long before he attends his first party.
Indeed, researchers are now saying that mothers who consume three or more alcoholic beverages on any one occasion during the first trimester will give birth to children who are more than twice as likely to develop an alcohol disorder before they are legally allowed to buy a drink. Furthermore, these children are more likely to engage in criminal behavior, have an incomplete education, and have psychiatric problems.
That is especially startling since the risk of heavy drinking is particularly high during this time, as many women may not know they are pregnant. In fact, despite the known risks of alcohol during pregnancy, rates of binge drinking among pregnant women have failed to decline in recent years, according to a recent warning by the Surgeon General.
That is why health experts recommend that any woman trying to get pregnant stop drinking right away, and those who are give it up completely. No amount of alcohol is safe, and anyone considering even modest drinking should be aware of the risks she is taking.
If you have recently discovered you are pregnant and have a personal or family history of alcoholism, then it is strongly recommended you seek medical advice and support, so you can give your child the best gift she will ever receive: the chance to live a normal life.
Alcohol addiction can be disastrous to pregnancy. An alcohol rehab center may be the answer for an expecting mother facing alcoholism.