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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 3 (644 words)
Categories: Alcohol, Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Health
Downloads: 9
Views: 292

Three behaviors by expectant mothers that can negatively affect normal development of a fetus throughout life are consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and using any kind of drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD’s) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Some of the categories of FASD’s are: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS,) Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND,) and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD.

) ARND is characterized by learning disabilities and behavioral issues. They might have difficulties with numbers, memory, attention, judgment, and also poor impulse control. ARBD is characterized by physical problems, mostly effecting the heart, kidneys, bones, and sometimes hearing troubles. The most severe of all FASD’s is fetal alcohol syndrome. The effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning including abnormal facial features, a small disproportioned head, shorter than average height, central nervous system problems, low body weight, hyperactivity, speech delays, poor memory, vision problems, hearing problems, learning disabilities, and even fetal death (Centers for Disease Control, 2011).

Not every child whose mother consumed alcohol is born with FAS, but 1 in 800 are. Fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable as long as a woman abstains from drinking during the duration of pregnancy, as there is no known safe amount of alcohol (Myers, 2008). Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy can result in premature birth, birth defects, low birth weight, miscarriage, and has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Cigarettes also can cause the placenta (which provides the fetus’ oxygen and nutrients) to separate from the womb too early, which is extremely dangerous for both the fetus and the mother. (Centers for Disease Control, 2013). The use of illicit drugs during pregnancy can impede normal development in many different ways, but because of the usual lifestyle choices of people who use illicit drugs, including drinking, smoking, promiscuity that increases risk of STD’s, and poor nutrition, it’s hard to know the full extent of danger each specific drug causes (March of Dimes, 2008).

Use of methamphetamine, ecstasy, or amphetamine during pregnancy can result in low birth weight, premature birth, heart defects and cleft lip. The babies also appear to go through withdrawal like symptoms, including jitteriness, drowsiness, and breathing problems. These babies will be at a much greater risk for learning disabilities. (March of Dimes, 2008). Babies of mothers who used heroin during pregnancy are at risk for poor fetal growth, premature rupture of membranes, premature birth, stillbirth, low birth weight, and breathing problems. (March of dimes, 2008). The babies of heroin users also go through withdrawal symptoms within 3 day after birth, which include fever, sneezing, irritability, trembling, diarrhea, vomiting, crying, and seizures. They are also at an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The children of heroin users are also at an increased risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis C, due to the likelihood of mothers using dirty needles to inject the drug (Centers for Disease Control, 2011). Mothers who use cocaine during pregnancy subject their fetuses to low birth weight, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, urinary tract problems, strokes causing irreversible brain damage, and sometimes death (March of Dimes, 2008). The only way to avoid these serious and harmful effects is to abstain from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco throughout the entire pregnancy. It is recommended that women who have opiate addictions do not just try to stop suddenly if they find they are pregnant, and instead should start a methadone program (March of Dimes, 2008.) There are also many other resources for women who are dealing with any kind of addiction that could be harmful to their pregnancies.


Center for Disease Control. (2011, Sept 22). Facts about fasds. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/facts.html

March of Dimes. (2008, January). March of dimes. Retrieved from http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/alcohol_illicitdrug.html

Meyers, David G. (2008). Exploring Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers

Cite this essay

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. (2016, Dec 14). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/fetal-alcohol-syndrome-essay

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