Effects Of Maternal Drinking During Pregnancy Essay

2214 Words Nov 23rd, 2014 9 Pages
Alcohol is a teratogen, meaning it has harmful effects on embryonic and fetal development. Although maternal drinking during pregnancy does not necessarily ensure that alcohol will have negative effects on the child, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders can be completely prevented if a mother does not drink while pregnant. In fact, FASDs are the most preventable birth defects in the US (CITE—FASD.pdf). There are multiple terms to describe a child who has been exposed to alcohol while in utero, each with different connotations and varying levels of severity. The first term, fetal alcohol exposure denotes any fetus that was exposed to alcohol while in utero. This child may or may not display symptoms of the exposure. The next category, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), denotes any child that shows symptoms of being exposed to alcohol. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is further broken into four categories, the most serious being fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is characterized by three components: facial abnormalities (wide-set, narrow eyes, upper lip anomalies), growth delay, and central nervous system anomalies. FASD also includes partial FAS (pFAS), alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD), and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND). Partial FAS is diagnosed when a child does not present with all three of the criteria to be diagnosed with FAS. Alcohol-related birth defects occurs when the child has physical problems due to fetal alcohol exposure.…

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