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Fetal Alcohol Exposure: What It is and What It Does

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines fetal alcohol exposure as occurring when a woman drinks while she is pregnant. That means any alcohol exposure, from a sip of champagne at a wedding to a night of binge drinking out at the club. The experts agree that because we cannot know exactly what point in the pregnancy alcohol is damaging and in what amounts or how that changes with the body chemistry of the woman drinking – or even exactly where a woman is in her pregnancy – it is recommended that women avoid alcohol in any amount while they are pregnant.

Pregnancy and Drinking: The Facts

  • Drinking during any point of the pregnancy can be dangerous – even before a woman knows she’s pregnant.
  • Between 20 percent and 30 percent of women drink at some point during pregnancy.
  • Though Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the most well known disorder known to be caused by alcohol intake during pregnancy, it is actually a spectrum of disorders.
  • Problems for children born with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder include behavioral problems, developmental issues, and cognitive development problems – all of which can appear at any time during childhood.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): Problems that Last a Lifetime

Children born with a disorder on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum will struggle for the rest of their lives. In addition to the developmental issues that they experience, they also often have a hard time:

  • Managing their emotions
  • Making friends and socializing
  • Making good grades and keeping up at school
  • Getting and holding a job later in life
  • Making positive decisions
  • Learning from mistakes
  • Recognizing who is trustworthy and who is not
  • Understanding that their actions have consequences

Are You at Higher Risk of Binge Drinking During Pregnancy?

Women who have a higher risk of binge drinking during pregnancy often:

  • Know little if anything about FASD
  • Live with more stress than women who don’t drink during pregnancy
  • Do not get effective or enough prenatal care
  • Do not eat right or take care of themselves in other ways as well

Are you worried that you may have a hard time staying sober during pregnancy? Is a woman you love living with an alcohol abuse or addiction problem while pregnant? We can help you get the right treatment necessary to protect the mother from addiction and the fetus from undue harm when you contact us at The Orchid today.

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