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Alcoholism And Newborn Babies

Alcoholism is something that is invading the family structure of Canadian families. It is estimated that 75% of the Canadian population drinks, to some extent, each week. Many of these people are addicted to alcohol and continue to drink excessively each week. Besides the many medical problems, family problems, and financial problems, associated with excessive drinking, newborn babies are also affected in a very severe way.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or FAS, is a condition that is found in newborn babies whose mothers have been drinking throughout the pregnancy term. When a woman is pregnant and continues to drink alcohol, it is carried through the bloodstream to the unborn baby. The alcohol content in the woman's bloodstream is also the same as that of the unborn baby. For example, if a woman has been drinking and has 1.8% alcohol content in her bloodstream, then the fetus also has a 1.8% blood alcohol reading.

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FAS is the third-leading cause of birth defects in Canada. It inflicts roughly 5000 newborn babies each year with 3500 babies born with mild symptoms. The severity of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is directly related to the severity of the alcoholism in the mother. The more the mother drinks, the more severe that the FAS disability is going to manifest in the newborn baby.

There are many complications that are involved in a FAS baby. When the fetus has been born there will be immediate complications as the baby will be underweight and craving alcohol in their system. A detox period is an integral part of the afterbirth care and can last several months. Deformities in the brain and the skull are also very characteristic of a FAS baby. Several facial features are also common with newborn babies with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These can include small eye openings, long, flat faces, and thin upper lips that commonly have a long groove running down the middle of them.

As the baby grows, there will be several learning problems that will keep the child from progressing as they should. Severe learning disabilities are caused by damage to the central nervous system Definition of the word central nervous system . Because of this, the child will have problems learning to walk, being able to sleep, focusing on motor skills, and have decreased memory recall. These children also suffer from hearing impairment and speech problems.

Children who have been diagnosed with FAS as a newborn also suffer from social problems. These children often have low self-esteem issues and can be quite hyperactive. A FAS child has also suffered from compulsion disorders where they are easily angered when something is frustrating them, or not the way they want it.

The condition of FAS is permanent, and many of the disorders stay with the person throughout their lifetime. Often times these conditions can be helped with counseling and some medications. In mild cases of FAS, the person can live a normal life with some help from outside agencies. However, the opposite is also true. There are times when the conditions worsen and lead to adult disabilities. Any woman who is pregnant and is an alcoholic should immediately seek an alcohol treatment therapy for her and her baby.

Reference: alcoholism.about.com/cs/preg/a/aa070997.htm

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