Fetal alcohol syndrome (SAF): how the mother's alcohol consumption affects the baby

During pregnancy, we must take certain care and precautions to ensure that our baby has a healthy development while in the belly. However, although several studies have shown that there is no safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy, many mothers continue to consume it thinking it will not harm.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous, as it could cause the baby to suffer fetal alcohol syndrome. We tell you what it is about and how the mother's alcohol consumption affects the baby.

What is fetal alcohol syndrome

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a group of conditions called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, among which the most serious is fetal alcohol syndrome. The incidence of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one or two per thousand newborns, although this figure is questionable, since the diagnosis of FAS often goes unnoticed.

Babies and children who suffer from it they are seriously affected in their physical and neurological development, and it is considered that injuries caused by alcohol during pregnancy are much more serious than those of some drugs.

In Babies and more What the mother drinks, it reaches the baby: not a drop of alcohol during pregnancy

The injuries that alcohol can cause to the baby are more serious during the first trimester, because at this stage is when the nervous system is formed, so many doctors recommend having good habits and stop drinking alcohol before becoming pregnant.

However, there is no safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy, nor is there a stage where you can drink alcohol without it being harmful to the baby. Thus, It is extremely important not to drink a drop of alcohol throughout the pregnancy, since it passes the baby through the placenta.

How alcohol consumption in pregnancy affects the baby

Alcohol consumption in pregnancy It can affect the baby in different ways, with medical, behavioral, educational and social problems depending on the severity of the disorder you present. According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC), the types of problems you may have include:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as less marked groove between the nose and upper lip (this fold is called a subnasal filter or groove).
  • Head of small size.
  • Shortest stature of average height.
  • Low body weight
  • Bad coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Bad memory.
  • Difficulties in school (especially in mathematics).
  • Learning disabilities
  • Delays in speech and language.
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ.
  • Deficient reasoning and judgment capacity.
  • Suction problems and difficulties sleeping in babies.
  • Hearing and vision problems.
  • Heart, kidney or bone problems.
In Babies and more Alcohol, the main cause of birth defects in pregnancy

As we mentioned at the beginning, in the most serious cases babies present fetal alcohol syndrome, which can be identified by the following symptoms:

  • Poor growth while the baby is in the womb and after birth
  • Abnormal facial features
  • Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination
  • Physical disability
  • Central nervous system problems
  • Delayed development milestones
  • Vision problems, such as near vision (myopia)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Extreme nervousness
  • Short attention span and learning problems

In the most severe cases, it can even cause the baby to die. The child who has been exposed to alcohol, He suffers irreversible physical and mental injuries for the rest of his life.

Prevention and treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome

Fortunately, fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable and only requires one action: to dispense with alcohol from the moment you want to get pregnant and avoid it completely during the duration of pregnancy.

If you have been drinking it and discover that you are pregnant, you should leave it as soon as possible and inform your doctor, because Early diagnosis can help reduce the risk of long-term problems. If you are pregnant and have an alcoholism problem, ask your doctor for help.

In Babies and more What the mother drinks, it reaches the baby: not a drop of alcohol during pregnancy

Problems with alcohol consumption during pregnancy last a lifetime, but some early intervention treatments can improve the child's development. For example, it is possible to administer medications to treat some symptoms, as well as resort to behavioral therapy and learning, as well as train parents to know how to help and treat their child.

Remember that it is best not to consume a single drop of alcohol during pregnancy, because it reaches the baby and any amount could seriously affect you, until you present fetal alcohol syndrome.

Photos | iStock