10 Oct Bonus YSS: Alcohol and babies: fetal alcohol syndrome
Drinking while pregnant can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, FAS, which is totally preventable. If a mother does not drink during pregnancy, her baby is not at risk for FAS.
What is FAS? FAS is the result of what happens to a baby in the womb when the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Therefore, if a mother drinks while pregnant, she risks a baby with the following issues:
- Poor growth while the baby is in the womb and after birth
- Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination
- Delayed development and significant functional problems in three or more major areas: thinking, speech, movement, or social skills (as expected for the baby’s age)
- Heart defects such as ventricular septal defect (VSD) or atrial septal defect (ASD)
- Structural problems with the face, including:
- Narrow, small eyes with large epicanthal folds
- Small head
- Small upper jaw
- Smooth groove in upper lip
- Smooth and thin upper lip
How in the world does that relate to me? I’m in middle school!….
Now, you may be at an age where having a child is not on your radar screen for a looooong time. But before you tune this info out, remember this:
The younger you start to drink, the higher your risk for addiction…. that means being addicted during the time in your life, when you may be thinking about having children. What will you do when you are pregnant and addicted? In other words, this is something you can start preventing NOW, for your future self;-)
Moreover, many teenage unwanted pregnancies are the result of making poor decisions while intoxicated. Thus, you will become pregnant because of alcohol and if you continue to drink your child may suffer from FAS.
It is never too soon to think about all the ways alcohol can negatively impact your life. It’s your life. What will you make of it?