Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is always a tragedy because it is 100% preventable by simply abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy.
You may have heard that the occasional glass of wine does not harm a developing fetus. But research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that there is no known “safe” quantity of alcohol during pregnancy. There is also no safe time of day, nor type of alcohol, so the best course of action is to abstain completely.
Symptoms of this lifelong condition include growth problems in the womb and after birth, poor coordination, muscular problems, heart defects, and many issues with development of the face. FAS can also cause the child to experience delayed thought, speech, movement, and difficulty relating to others. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a multitude of other problems with the birth process including miscarriage, premature delivery, and even death.
Due to the lifelong effects FAS has on an infant, women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant are encouraged to abstain from drinking. In the United States, half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and a woman may be pregnant for several weeks and not know it. Women who are not trying to become pregnant but who are sexually active and drink alcohol should use a form of birth control (condoms, the pill).
Unlike many pregnancy-related issues, prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is simple. That is not to say that quitting drinking is easy for everyone. Group therapy and counseling can be very effective for helping women overcome alcoholism and provide a better quality of life for themselves and their child.
If you think you may need help controlling your drinking, Dr. Hessel would be happy to recommend a supportive program or other options. You’re welcome to stop by our offices at any time.