is foetal alcohol syndrome?
Foetal alcohol syndrome refers to a number of defects
a baby can be born with, as a result of their mother's alcohol abuse during
The exact amount of alcohol that causes this condition
is unknown, although binge drinking is known to be particularly harmful. Foetal
alcohol syndrome, however, is a rare condition, which only occurs if there is
persistent alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Foetal alcohol syndrome occurs in about one-third
of babies born to women who drink at least 18 units of alcohol per day during
pregnancy. (18 units is the equivalent of around nine pints of beer). While
this sounds like a huge amount of alcohol, this would not be unusual for an
alcoholic who continues to drink during their pregnancy. They are especially
at risk of injuring their unborn baby.
Women who drink less than this on a regular basis,
throughout pregnancy, are more likely to have a miscarriage or deliver a small,
are the possible effects of foetal alcohol syndrome?
- Delayed mental development, mental disability
or brain malformation.
- Small head, small brain and a face with 'squashed
- Low birth weight and possible growth problems
- Behavioural problems, such as ADD (attention
- Cardiac defects such as a heart murmur.
- Cleft palate
- Joint abnormalities
- Irritable baby who has a poor suck and sleeps
I drink at all during my pregnancy?
While there is no evidence that an occasional glass
of wine or beer is dangerous, most doctors would advise pregnant women to abstain
completely from alcohol during pregnancy.
Women who drink low to moderate amounts during
pregnancy are more likely to have a premature baby or a baby with a low birth
Ideally if you are planning to have a baby, try
to give up alcohol before you become pregnant. Otherwise, as soon as you know
you are pregnant, give up alcohol immediately. The highest risk to the growing
foetus is in the first trimester (the first three months of the pregnancy).
foetal alcohol syndrome be prevented?
Yes. Foetal alcohol syndrome is 100% preventable
if you avoid alcohol during your pregnancy.
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