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Signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Alcoholism is a very serious disease which causes a person to drink excessively, despite negative consequences happening from their actions.  Someone who is a true alcoholic likely won’t be able to quit drinking when certain life situations happen, such as pregnancy.  A woman who continues to drink during her pregnancy can cause tremendous mental and physical damage to her fetus.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition that develops in an unborn child because it was essentially poisoned by alcohol in the womb.  When an individual who is not pregnant drinks, alcohol concentration is built up in their system and slowly reduced by the metabolization process.  The concentration of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream is referred to as blood alcohol content, and the more intoxicated someone is, the higher the number will be.  Your body can only handle a certain amount of alcohol before organs begin to shut down from alcohol poisoning.  

A woman who drinks during pregnancy passes the alcohol directly through her placenta into the fetus, which is obviously much smaller than an adult.  The blood alcohol concentration in the mother may be only be .08, but the fetus can be significantly higher because of their size and inability to metabolize.  When the concentration in their body is too high, it block nutrients and oxygen from getting to their vital organs, causing mental and physical deformities.

The physical abnormalities which can develop from fetal alcohol syndrome include a small head, low birth weight, heart problems, kidney defects, missing fingers or limbs, and small and wide set eyes.  Mental defects can include learning disabilities, hyperactivity, delayed development, and intellectual problems.  One of the most devastating effects of an infant born with fetal alcohol syndrome is the alcohol withdrawals it can go through after birth.  If the mother is an alcoholic and drinks consistently throughout pregnancy, the fetus’s body becomes dependent on alcohol, just as an adult’s does.  After birth, they obviously no longer receive alcohol and can go through severe and life threatening withdrawals.  If you are an alcoholic and have just become pregnant or know someone who has, there is hope for you to overcome your alcoholism and save your child a lifetime of pain.  

If you need help for addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We offer medically assisted detox and we are equipped to treat dual diagnoses, including depression. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.