Women who consume alcohol during pregnancy are likely to deliver babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, also known as FASDs. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a part of this umbrella term that contains several similar medical conditions.
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) can be mild or severe that can cause physical and psychological congenital disabilities. The symptoms of these medical health conditions worsen with growing age. The article will give you an overview of the illness, symptoms, causes, preventive measures, effects on specific body parts, and famous adults with this health issue.
Overview of fetal alcohol syndrome
Fetal alcohol syndrome is considered the most severe fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. They are a group of congenital disabilities that occur when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol. Fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASDs) contain a wide variety of mental health conditions, including partial fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder, alcohol-related congenital disabilities, and neurobehavioral disorder linked with prenatal alcohol exposure.
FAS and other similar spectrum disorders affect children differently. The symptoms of these spectrum disorders range from mild to severe and people with FAS experience problems with their vision, memory, attention span, hearing, and abilities to learn and communicate. While the defects vary from person to person, the damage is often irreversible and permanent.
Since fetal alcohol syndrome covers a wide range of medical issues, there are several possible symptoms. Common or mild symptoms may include:
- Problems with the kidney, heart, and bones
- Low IQ and learning disabilities
- Trouble with memory, attention, balance, or coordination
- Hyperactivity with a short attention span
- Sleep conditions and suckling as an infant
Severe signs of fetal alcohol syndrome may include:
- a small head, below average height and weight
- a smooth ridge in between upper lips and nose, a skinny upper lip, small and wide-set eyes, or other abnormal facial features
- lack of focus and extremely poor coordination
- poor judgment, primarily due to problems in seeing or hearing
- delayed development and issues concerning speech, thinking, movement, and social skills
- learning and intellectual disabilities
- deformed limbs or fingers, mood swings
- heart problems, kidney defects, and other abnormalities
Fetal alcohol syndrome causes
The causes of Fetal alcohol syndrome are pretty straightforward. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, some of its elements pass through the placenta to the fetus. And we all know that a developing fetus can not process alcohol in the way an adult can.
Due to the concentration of alcohol in the fetus, the body prevents enough nutrition and oxygen from getting to the fetus’s vital organs. Damage can be done to the fetus in the first few weeks of the pregnancy when the woman might not even know that she is pregnant. The risk is higher if the woman is a heavy drinker.
According to the studies, alcohol appears to be the most harmful component during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, alcohol consumption at any time during pregnancy can be detrimental, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.
How to prevent FASD?
If you want to safeguard your unborn child from this severe medical health condition, say no to alcohol during pregnancy. If you are a woman with drinking problems who wish to conceive, seek help from a medical healthcare provider.
If you are a light drinker who occasionally drinks during social gatherings, avoid consumption if you think you might bear pregnancy anytime soon. Remember, the alcohol effects can mark even during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Famous fetal alcohol syndrome adults
An award-winning Hollywood actress and producer, Reese Witherspoon, is suffering from FAS due to her mother’s alcohol addiction at the time of her birth. In the early years, she experienced difficulty learning the common symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Rumors say that as her mother, Ms. Witherspoon is also an excessive alcoholic, she visited luxury treatment centers or rehabs several times.
FAS is often considered the cause of slow brain growth and development. However, Bernie Sanders, a senator in US politics, is known as one of the most intelligent and intelligent individuals living with fetal alcohol syndrome. His lack of impulse control and poor social skills are often associated with FAS. One may say that is the reason why Sanders supports organizations with FAS victims and funds alcohol treatment centers.
Our beloved Jim Carrey, the Canadian-American actor famous for his comedy, is known as the funniest guy in Hollywood. You might find it difficult to believe that he is also suffering from FAS as he often shows his lurching mannerism due to fetal alcohol syndrome.
In many of his interviews, he talks about his mother and how her alcohol problem caused FAS in him, but he also acknowledges her contributions to his career. Now, he is a regular donor at residential treatment centers and alcohol treatment institutes. You may often notice him taking part in awareness campaigns and fundraising programs concerning FAS and alcohol addiction.
Our favorite, Daniel Radcliffe, known for his role as Harry Potter, has also suffered from learning difficulties linked to FAS. In his earlier life, he was diagnosed with partial dyslexia (a symptom of FAS).
In his interviews, he claims that he still can not tie his shoelaces properly and regret that his mother failed to get him into any luxury alcohol treatment centers. Now, he supports alcohol treatment centers and Fetal alcohol syndrome institutes, and you may also notice his presence in events dedicated to raising awareness.
FAQ’S (Frequently asked questions)
What are Fetal Alcohol Syndrome facial features?
Characteristics facial features in children with fetal alcohol syndrome include thin upper lip, a smooth philtrum, epicanthal folds, upturned nose, small palpebral fissures, flat nasal bridge and midface, and small head circumference.
Distinctive facial attributes, such as small eyes and upturned nose, are some of the most known FAS facial features. Deformities of limbs, joints, and fingers are rare but possible together with slow physical growth before and after birth.
How do Fetal Alcohol Syndrome eyes look like?
Vision difficulties and hearing issues may occur with fetal alcohol syndrome. Strabismus (an eye turn) can be seen in 25 to 50 percent of children with this medical health condition.
Other eye conditions associated with FAS may include nystagmus (involuntary rapid eye movements) and cataracts (clouding the lens). Changes in the eyelids are usual in people with fetal alcohol syndrome but may not obstruct visual development.