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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Babies

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Babies ?

Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to anyone. However, in the case of pregnant women, alcoholic beverages are inadvisable even in minimal quantities.

The fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) covers the various problems that a baby may appear during the first months of life when the mother has consumed alcohol during pregnancy .

Although it has not been determined what is the minimum consumption in which they begin to detect problems, it has been proven that it also affects, to a large extent, the health of babies during pregnancy. This is known as fetal alcohol syndrome.

When the pregnant woman consumes alcoholic beverages, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, these substances easily reach the fetus through the placenta.

Alcohol Damages

The negative consequences of alcohol consumption for adults are not new. Among others, this substance can cause various damages , such as: altered heart rate, uncontrolled sugar levels, dehydration and digestive problems.

When a woman is pregnant, drinking alcohol can seriously affect the baby’s health for two simple reasons: first, because her body is not able to process that substance. Second, because it also does not have the capacity to eliminate all its waste. That is, they are left to almost everyone.


The main symptoms with fetal alcohol syndrome are:

  • Visual or auditory deficiencies.
  • Delay in development milestones.
  • Low birth weight and even malnutrition.
  • Poor coordination of movements (detected in the long term).
  • Poor growth (both before and after birth).
Alcohol is an extremely harmful substance for the fetus.

Most babies with this condition have malformations on the face. The outstanding characteristics of this disorder are:

  • Wide and flattened face.
  • Small cranial perimeter.
  • Malformations in the ears .
  • Wide and low nasal bridge.
  • Eyes small and with epicantial folds.
  • Narrow palpebral fissures on the eyelids.

Detection and Treatment

Logically the fetal alcohol syndrome should be diagnosed by a health professional. For its detection, the doctor will make some observations in the baby that, added to the mother’s testimony about her behavior in the pregnancy, will allow her to arrive at a response.

The first thing you will see are the facial features , since it is usually the most common feature of the little ones with this problem. If you have any of the abnormalities described above, it could be an indicator of fetal alcohol syndrome.

When a woman is pregnant, the consumption of alcohol can seriously affect the health of the baby because his body is not prepared to process that substance and because it can not eliminate all its waste

Second, the doctor will evaluate the growth parameters of the baby. Those who suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome often show delays in their development milestones , as well as difficulty coordinating movements and even deficiencies in their senses. This is because the SAF directly affects the central nervous system.

Precisely, ultimately, the doctor will do more specific studies to evaluate the CNS (central nervous system). In this way, it will analyze its structure (size and shape), its neurological functioning and the possible deficiencies it may present.

The syndrome of fetal alcoholism can have irreversible consequences for the child.

Prevention as a form of treatment

As we discussed earlier, it is not determined precisely what is the maximum amount of alcohol that a pregnant woman can ingest. Therefore, it is best to avoid it, especially in the first months of pregnancy .

In those cases in which the future mother has complications or even presents symptoms of alcohol abstinence, it is best to seek professional help as soon as possible. In addition, the accompaniment and control of family members becomes essential in these situations.

Likewise, it is also important that the father refrain from alcohol consumption when he is in the search to conceive a baby.

On the one hand, because this will support the mother who can not drink; and on the other, because it is believed that alcohol consumption on the part of the father can also affect the future health of the child. Anyway, this is still being investigated .

Finally it is necessary to emphasize that the consumption of alcohol is absolutely discouraged by doctors around the world. Regardless of the amount that is swallowed.

It is essential to always keep in mind that, what for a mother can be a simple snack, for the fetus can be a highly toxic substance. 

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