Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Essay

1881 words - 8 pages

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

“If women didn’t drink anymore during pregnancy, there would never be another baby born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effect” (McCuen 33). This is a very powerful statement. It is also a very simple cure for an alarmingly high birth defect that all women have the power to stop. “Every year more than 40,000 American children are born with defects because their mother drank alcohol while pregnant “ (McCuen 34). That is 1 to 3 per 1,000 live births (McCuen 31). Many of these cases go undiagnosed “It is also the number one cause of mental retardation in the United States, and one of the three leading causes of birth defects.” (McCuen 33-34). “Alcohol produces more significant neurobehavioral effects in the fetus than other drug including cocaine, heroin and marijuana” (Fetal). With such horrible repercussions associated with drinking alcohol why would any woman think of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, but thousands of women do everyday.

First let’s begin by defining what Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect are. FAS and FAE for short. FAS “is a cluster of congenital defects including nervous system dysfunction” (McCuen 31). “FAE shares some of the same characteristics as FAS, but it is not as evident. However babies with FAE have equal amount of brain damage as babies with FAS” (Fetal). FAS and FFAE are caused by the ingestion of teratogens. “Tetragon’s are any substance capable of producing fetal abnormalities, such as alcohol or tobacco” (Dworetzky 81). In the case of FAS and FAE, alcohol is the tertagion. “FAS and FAE are a group of birth defects that have no cure. People with FAS or FAE have a range of problems as severe as being mentally retarded too less visible problems like difficulty paying attention” (McCuen 33). Some other problems associated with the syndrome may be learning problems, with low IQ’s, developmental delays both physical and mental, difference in facial features, being hyperactive, small for their age or a variety of health problems, with
We have known the effects of alcohol on the fetus since 1968. A French scientist by the name of Lemoine “recognized the multiple effects that alcohol can have on a developing fetus (Broadwell and Saunders 555). “The findings of Lemoine were dismissed, but not until 1973 when Jones published a report on the effects of alcohol on children of alcoholic mothers. In Jones’ report he categorized traits of FAS in five categories. Growth, performance, cranio-facial, skeletal and cardiac” (Broadwell and Saunders 555). The first category is growth, which includes pre and postnatal onset growth deficiencies. The second category is performance, which includes low IQ’s; the average IQ is 63 in a child with FAS of FAE. Another factor affected in performance is fine motor dysfunction, which is manifested by weak grasp, poor hand-eye coordination, and/or tremulousness, irritability in infancy, and hyperactivity...

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