An Overview Of The Effects Of Alcohol On Babies

Expecting mothers should give a second thought before reaching out for a glass of wine or any alcoholic beverage, as it is difficult to assess the harmful effects of alcohol on babies.

Many women carry a wrong notion that moderate consumption of alcohol will cause no harm to the fetus, but it can be a risky speculation. Every mother aspires to deliver a healthy and normal baby after the strenuous term, but drinking during pregnancy can upset her dreams.

Mothers need to be extra cautious regarding her alcohol addiction and forgoing alcohol during pregnancy will be a wise decision. There are clear evidences of congenital defects in babies, arising from the drinking habit of their mothers. Excessive drinking habit of the expecting mother can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage and still birth.

Reasons For Fetal Abnormalities Due To Alcohol Consumption:

Alcohol consumed by pregnant women is transferred to the baby through the placenta. The concentration of alcohol gradually increases as the baby is unable to process it. As a result, the vital organs of the developing baby suffer from oxygen deficiency leading to various deformities. The effects of alcohol on babies are pronounced in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Plausible Effects Of Alcohol On Babies:

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD):

The developing fetus may be seriously affected due to the drinking habit of the mother giving rise to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The fetus may develop serious neurological and physiological disorders that may prevail throughout the life span of the child. Mayo Clinic warns of the irreversible damages caused to the fetus leading to several congenital defects like facial deformation, deformed limbs, heart diseases, low birth weight and abnormalities in the central nervous system.

Alcohol Related Neuro-Developmental Disorder (ARND):

Over exposure of the fetus to alcohol results in lower IQ of the baby. The child may be a slow learner with serious attention disorder. Poor memory retention capacity and over impulsive nature are other characteristics observed as the child grows. The child suffers from mental retardation and emotional problems. In such cases, proper counseling by psychiatrists is called for, and parents have to go through extreme emotional upheavals. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also warns of poor hearing, deformed bones and kidney of the babies caused due to drinking habit of the mother.

Other Potential Problems:

The Department of Mental Health, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Missouri present a scary picture about the potential deformities of babies arising from exposure to alcohol. Retarded physical growth, deformities in ribs and sternum, small brain size, small size of the eyes, deformed genitals and ears are other possible effects of alcohol on babies. These effects can be short lived or permanent depending upon the extent of exposure of the fetus to alcohol. Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are permanent and therefore it would be an utterly wrong choice to drink while pregnant.

Treatments To Minimize The Harmful Effects Of Alcohol On Babies:

Refrain from drinking during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you take a drink during pregnancy accidentally, never hesitate to consult your doctor. He may perform ultrasound tests to detect any defect in the fetus and carry on the required treatment. If you are addicted to alcohol, go for counseling to get rid of this habit. Remember, the symptoms of FASD may not appear during birth. Learning and behavioral problems may appear in the subsequent growing stages preventing your child from growing into a matured human being.