Saturday, February 4, 2012

FASD- takes potential away

Alcohol is a teratogen. This means that it can disturb the development of a fetus, and cause a birth defect. There are many factors that can determine if the fetus will be effected by prenatal exposure to alcohol. The mother's diet and metabolism, the timing of the alcohol consumption, the amount of consumption, the immune system of the fetus to name a few.

Some women who drink very lightly during pregnancy, will have a baby that received brain damage, and some will not. Some women who binge drink, will have a baby that received brain damage, and some will not. There are so many factors that we do not understand fully that will impact if the baby. It has been said and written many times, that drinking during pregnancy is like playing Russian roulette.

What I say about it, is that drinking during pregnancy can take away potential from a child. There kids with brain damage that are all over the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum. Some receive facial features (there is a 3 day window that they have narrowed down when they think fetus's receive the facial features of FAS- day 19, 20 & 21), some end up with IQ's that are below 70, some end up with physical birth defects, some end up with ADHD, some end up with a whole host of cognitive delays and the list goes on.

Those of us who are involved within the FASD world, know that there is more. I know that the majority of crimes and gang stuff that are going on in my inner city neighborhood, are tied to FASD. I see how my neighbors are obsessed with alcohol and drugs. I think back to the at risk teenagers that I use to work with, and I see FASD all over in them. But there are also a ton of kids (and adults), who were not damaged to the point of where they will ever receive a diagnosis of FASD. They are functioning fairly well in society, getting by or even better. But the alcohol that was consumed when they were in utero, more than likely took some potential away.

My mom drank when she was pregnant with me. I wonder if I might have done better with math and science if she had not drank while carrying me. I will never know. I am still amazed at how many people think it is OK to drink while pregnant. I was talking with a woman in November who has a friend in a birthing class who's instructor said it was OK to have a glass of wine a day. I actually tried to find out where she was taking the class, but was not successful.

Let's get the word out and prevent these devastating disorders. Let's stop taking potential away from our children.


Kari said...


Miz Kizzle said...

What amazes me is that we're not worse off than we are, given the fact that beer was drunk in great quantities in American Colonial times and in Victorian England (even by children) because the water was frequently impure.
Throw in the patent medicines that were largely alcohol with a bit of opium added and I'm surprised our ancestors had any brain cells left at all.

Anonymous said...

A friend who lives in the UK told me that the doctors there tell women that a little alcohol is no big deal, but that caffeine is the big sin during pregnancy. Can you believe that? Heaven help those children.

WendyLou said...

My OB told me that a glass of wine per day was ok. I didn't drink, but that was because I don't care for alcohol. I was in NYC recently and noticed that every restaurant we were in had signs posted warning about the dangers of drinking while pregnant. Maybe that will catch on around the country.