Prenatal Development Essay

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Facts About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Everyone Should Know

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) affects newborns causing a lifelong battle and physical defects. FAS is entirely preventable as it is caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. FAS is a result of lifestyle choices by the mother. FAS is something of which every expectant mother should be aware. Drinking during pregnancy seems harmless to many, particularly if it is just one drink every so often. However, what seems harmless can have devastating effects on the baby that will last the rest of their life.


FAS is a result of alcohol crossing the placental barrier between the mother and the developing baby. The symptoms of FAS include stunted growth, low weight, damage to nerves and brain structures as well as characteristic facial features. A child with FAS often has psychological and behavioral issues as to grow up as well. The most damaging effects from FAS are those affecting the central nervous system and brain (Perlstein, 2012).

The development of brain structures is interrupted by alcohol. The results of those exposures are unpredictable and can be varied from baby to baby (Perlstein, 2012). Every baby with FAS will be different from all the others, each with their own unique disability. Disabilities from FAS Range from mild to severe. Unfortunately, many babies are affected significantly and have major problems both shortly after birth and throughout their life. Children affected by FAS suffer from primary learning and functional disabilities. These can include pour memory, attention deficit, pour impulse control, and the inability to reason cause and effect . It is a leading cause of mental retardation.
They also tend to be predisposed to mental health conditions and drug addiction later on in life (Perlstein, 2012).

Throughout the baby's life and yours, the characteristic facial features of FAS will be easily distinguishable. Children with FAS have small eye of openings, making their eyes appear small in proportion to the rest of their head, they have a thin upper lip that makes them look as if they are perching their lips all the time. They have a smooth area between their nose and upper lip, rather than the normal groove (Clarren, 2002). These facial features are the definitive sign a brain damage, but brain damage can be present even if these distinctive facial features are not present. These prominent facial features of FAS are not only present at birth, but will follow the baby into their adult life.

Reasons not to drink During Pregnancy

Research has found that the range of abnormalities differs depending on the timing of the alcohol consumption. For instance, a certain number of facial features are specifically associated with drinking on the 20th day of pregnancy and only on the 20th day (Clarren, 2002). Drinking during anytime of your pregnancy is like gambling as to which abnormality your child will have.

Lifelong mental and physical damage to your child is not enough, the costs of raising a child with FAS is another risk that many women don't think about as….....

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