Home > Health essays > Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

Essay: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

Essay details and download:

  • Subject area(s): Health essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 11 October 2015*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 677 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 3 (approx)

Text preview of this essay:

This page of the essay has 677 words. Download the full version above.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) refers to a series of birth defects that result from maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. These include physical, mental, learning, and behavioral disabilities that have lifelong implications. FAS affects people from all socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Despite numerous efforts made to create awareness and educate women about the harmful effects of alcohol on the developing fetus, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that between 50 and 60 percent of women continue to drink alcohol in the year of their pregnancy. Women are unwilling to give up their alcohol craving habits for the nine- month period because they simply do not care, or they do not really believe alcohol can be so detrimental.
In many parts of the world, alcohol use is acceptable and even seen as a major component of family festivities and social gatherings. It is imperative that healthcare workers, especially nurses who are at the bedside most of the time, religiously undertake to instill knowledge and redirect such poor choices made by pregnant mothers. Although teaching is best done during the preconception period, it is never too late. Many children would have been spared the harm done to them only if someone would have cared enough to intervene when it was necessary. Every pregnancy should be afforded a happy and healthy outcome.
Everything a pregnant woman eats, her unborn child eats as well. Hence, the fetus of a drinking woman would have had its first drink long before it was born. Science has proven that alcohol easily crosses the placenta to the developing fetus, whose alcohol level is usually the same as its mother (Pilletteri, 2014, p. 740). A woman who drinks alcohol during pregnancy is also at risk for spontaneous preterm labor, giving birth to a low birth weight or small for gestational age baby (Bird, 2013, p. 41). Saying no to alcohol during pregnancy should become a public outcry. Every woman who decides to become pregnant needs to abstain totally from alcohol use. There should be regular screenings and information sessions during prenatal visits so that parents-to-be who may be overwhelmed by their pregnancy, know and feel that they have the support of others. This is especially important among young mothers, those with unintentional pregnancies, and school drop-outs who may tend to place the blame on the fetus. A pregnancy that just ‘happens’ to a woman should not be allowed to reach age of viability if that woman shows not desire to dedicate those nine months toward the healthy nurturing of the fetus inside of her. Group sessions for pregnant women should be conducted by every major prenatal and childbirth facility. Positive role modelling and knowing that she is not alone can significantly change a woman’s perception of her pregnancy. Many who have experienced it live to tell stories of fear, neglect, hate, hunger, intimate partner violence, and suicide attempts. Group sessions can build strength and confidence so much so that a woman does not feel the need to ‘drown’ herself in alcohol to forget her troubles. An otherwise unwanted pregnancy can really become a bundle of joy.
There are both prenatal and postnatal abnormalities associated with FAS, ranging from mild developmental delays to severe brain damage. Common features include microcephaly, small for gestational age, facial dysmorphology, poor motor coordination, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, poor reasoning and judgment skills (Thomas, Warren, and Hewitt, 2010, pp. 120-121). Several studies done on mice, rats, and dogs have confirmed that prenatal alcohol exposure produces these effects. The amount of alcohol consumed and the period during fetal development when it is consumed are directly linked to the severity of effects. Although dangerous at every stage, alcohol use during the first trimester produces most of the facial abnormalities associated with fetal alcohol syndrome. These can be the earliest signs that a child has FAS ‘ epicanthal folds, low nasal bridge, thin upper lip, narrow palpebral fissures, flat mid face, short nose, and indistinct philtrum (Thomas, Warren, and Hewitt, 2010, p. 119). Children exposed to alcohol prenatally can also suffer from brain abnormalities without exhibiting these facial features.

...(download the rest of the essay above)

About this essay:

If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay Sauce, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Available from:<https://www.essaysauce.com/health-essays/essay-fetal-alcohol-syndrome-fas/> [Accessed 14-04-24].

These Health essays have been submitted to us by students in order to help you with your studies.

* This essay may have been previously published on Essay.uk.com at an earlier date.