Alcoholism and Pregnancy II
Affect on the pregnant woman
Alcoholism and pregnancy do not mix. Alcoholism can cause serious physical problems, which can be increased with pregnancy. The body is under stress during pregnancy so the problems associated with alcohol dependency may appear more readily than before. Also, alcoholic women who become pregnant are less likely to seek medical attention during pregnancy that can prove harmful to the fetus.
Women who are thinking about becoming pregnant should seek alcohol dependency treatment to ensure that their body is free from all signs of alcohol before they become pregnant. If you have an alcohol problem and become pregnant you will need to take action immediately to stop drinking. There are many options available to you. The first step is to recognize your problem and put your child first by not allowing yourself to harm your baby through alcohol abuse.
Affect on the unborn baby
Whatever the mother is eating and drinking so is the unborn child. Even taking just one drink will go through the bloodstream and into the placenta so if you are drinking so is the child you are carrying. The baby is in need of nourishment and oxygen for optimal development of the body’s organs and brain. Scientific studies have found that children born to alcoholic mothers are likely to have serious problems.
Babies born with alcohol dependence
Mothers who are alcoholics pass this to their babies before birth. The result is that the baby will be born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or fetal alcohol effects (FES). These babies can have serious handicaps, both mental and physical in nature. Sometimes the degree of severity is directly linked to the amount of alcohol consumed.
• Lower than normal body weight and size
• Deformed body including potentially ribs and sternum and spine
• Small head
• Webbed fingers or toes / missing appendages
• Curved spine
• Joint problems
• Facial development problems
• Eyesight problems
• Opening in roof of mouth
• Heart defects
• Organ abnormalities
• Brain function impairment
• Developmentally slow
• Hyperactivity or ADHD
• Mental retardation
• Learning disabilities
• Short attention span
While some problems are detected immediately at birth others such as developmental difficulties often take years to determine. Additionally, children born with FAS undergo alcohol withdrawal symptoms immediately after birth when alcohol is no longer provided to them.