Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Rehab Guide

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

fetal alcohol syndrome

The effect of alcohol on unborn children

There are between 0.5-2 noted live births per every 1,000 children born have fetal alcohol syndrome. When you become pregnant, you must change any poor habits that you have to ensure your child’s health.

This includes ceasing to drink alcohol or use any substances that may prove harmful to your newborn. Not only can fetal alcohol syndrome harm them, but it can also set them up for a life of both mental and physical defects.

We’re going to provide you with all the information you need when answering the question of what is fetal alcohol syndrome. We’re also going to take an in-depth look at the symptoms, prevention, and treatment for children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome.

If you or someone in your life struggles with alcohol addiction, we’re also going to provide you with resources to get help.

Continue reading now for everything you thought you knew but had no idea about. The first step in prevention is to educate yourself about the things that you never knew.

What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

When a woman finds out she’s pregnant, one of the first things the doctor will explain is everything that she can and can’t do. One thing that is a massive damaging is drinking or using drugs when you are pregnant.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a direct result of mothers that have continued to drink or binge drink whilst they were pregnant. While fetal alcohol syndrome is a broad umbrella, there are several spectrum disorders that a child can suffer from.

The different types of disorders that are commonly found under the fetal alcohol syndrome umbrella include:

  • Partial fetal alcohol syndrome or PFAS
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS
  • Congenital disabilities related to alcohol consumption
  • Delayed neurological development due to alcohol consumption
  • Neurological behaviour disorders

Fetal alcohol syndrome in the UK is a real issue that can leave a child suffering in ways that their mothers never thought about.

When it comes to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder facts, a big one is that continuous consumption of alcoholic beverages increases the risk of the following developmental issues.

  • Communication problems and delays
  • Hearing problems
  • Vision impairment
  • Attention span issues that can result in difficulties in school
  • Memory loss or confusion
  • Challenges when it comes to learning

When it comes to baby fetal drug and alcohol syndrome, their effects may differ depending on the case. This means that while some of these effects may be improved with consistent and ongoing therapy, there are some effects of fetal alcohol syndrome that are permanent.

For every child born with fetal alcohol syndrome, it costs the nation more than $6 billion each year when it comes to medical fees and various therapies that they will need to continue to thrive as they grow and develop.

How Does Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Occur?

While it’s known that fetal alcohol syndrome is caused by drinking alcohol, we’re going to explain further what happens once the alcohol is in the body. When your child is growing inside of you, another crucial piece of their development is the placenta’s health and growth.

The placenta is a connection between the mother and child to ensure that a baby receives the nutrients they need in the womb to ensure healthy growth and development. The development that a baby undergoes in the womb is rapid, and various things happen every day to prepare them for their entrance into the world.

When a woman consumes alcohol, it passes through her body to the placenta and the child.

A human adult’s body is equipped to process and filter alcohol out of their system.
This same filtration system doesn’t occur for the child because their system is too immature to handle alcohol processing.

When the alcohol consumption continues, the alcohol becomes concentrated, preventing the baby from receiving vital nutrients and vitamins they need to continue developing in the womb.

The first few weeks after conception are the most important because that’s when the most development will occur. When a woman continues to drink, it will lead to a fetal alcohol syndrome diagnosis.

A child exposed to alcohol while in the womb will show the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome, including lack of focus. In this next section, we’re going to detail some of the most common signs and symptoms of a child experiencing fetal alcohol syndrome.

Distorted Facial Features

One of the first signs of fetal alcohol syndrome will be a distortion in the facial features of a child. The first type of facial abnormality that may be noticed is a ridge between the child’s nose and upper lip.

Fetal alcohol syndrome eyes are far apart or smaller in size, which means that they also have some defects in the size of their head. Children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome will also suffer from a head circumference on the smaller side of the scale for a healthy newborn.

Not only will a child’s nose be smaller as far as the size of the nose bridge goes, but it will also be shorter than the average length. The child’s jaw might also appear as if it hasn’t been fully developed in the way that it should.

While all these factors are apparent when a child is born, they will become more pronounced as they continue to develop and grow. As they continue to grow, a flattened midface may become more apparent to people around them.
This is known as alcohol fetal syndrome face.


Some people say that they consumed alcohol during pregnancy and have noticed no adverse effects exhibited by their child. In some cases, the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome won’t occur until later on in their lives.

Along with FAS facial symptoms, a child may begin exhibiting signs of hyperactivity. While this may seem not as much of a problem when the child is at home, it can become challenging when they start to attend school.

The child won’t be able to focus in a way conducive to them receiving an education. Not to mention, they could also be distracting to children that are trying to learn in the same environment as them.

Because of this hyperactivity, your child may be diagnosed with one of the various attention deficit disorders that might include:

  • Inattentive deficit disorder
  • Combination deficit disorder
  • Hyperactive or impulsive deficit disorder

Your child may be diagnosed with one of these disorders, or they may be diagnosed with a combination of these disorders. When a child is diagnosed with one of these disorders, the child will then be prescribed some type of medication that will allow them to focus better when in school or other settings that require focus.

Although the medication will help, the attention disorder will be something that the child will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. This can cause several developmental delays in the future, and the child will need to find ways to overcome these deficits.

Mood Swings

We’ve all heard of the terrible twos, but can you imagine that one symptom of fetal alcohol syndrome is mood swings. This means that the child may go from being overwhelmingly happy to enraged without a cause for this at the drop of a hat.

When children suffer from mood swings, they can be a danger to themselves or others around them, especially if these mood swings are combined with speech delays. A child that has issues communicating what they’re feeling can turn to aggressive or violent behaviour to convey what they’re feeling.

To combat these mood swings, your child will have to learn how to express their feelings in a way that doesn’t harm themselves or others around them. Learning to control their mood swings and outbursts will be beneficial for a FAS baby as they continue to grow and develop.

These mood swings may also lead them to make poor decisions. Poor decisions may include throwing things, scratching themselves, hit others, or any other form of acting out that may get themselves, or someone else hurt.

Kidney Defects

One of the problems with prolonged alcohol abuse is kidney problems. This is a symptom that shows, especially when it comes to fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms in teenagers.

When your body isn’t able to filter alcohol out of the system or has been abused excessively, it can lead to kidney failure. For a child that is young, the kidney issues that they experience include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Constant urinary tract infections
  • Kidney injury
  • Kidney stones

Again a child with an immature system doesn’t have the ability to filter out alcohol in the same way that an adult can. Therefore, this can cause permanent damage for a child, leading them to need a transplant or require other treatments, including dialysis.

Treatment for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

There are various types of treatment that a child may undergo when they’re born with fetal alcohol syndrome. While no medication can rectify the situation, it can help to control the symptoms and the effects of babies addicted to alcohol.

The child may be placed on antidepressants to help when it comes to negative thoughts or overwhelming sadness that the child may feel and experience regularly. A doctor may also prescribe varying stimulants to assist a child that has issues with their ability to focus.

Neuroleptics are a medication that is used to help children when it comes to their aggressiveness. As we mentioned above, this aggressiveness may directly result from having issues communicating with those around them.

The child has no other option than to act out how they feel. Various types of counselling and therapies are useful for children that are suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome.

These different therapy types will help them cope and find ways to work around their developmental delays and health issues without hindering the child from learning. These are just a few of the treatment options for fetal alcohol syndrome.

Now we’re going to discuss the prevention of fetal alcohol syndrome in children.

How to Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The best way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome in your event is to stop drinking while you’re pregnant. If you realize that drinking is a larger problem than you realized, it’s time to seek help to stop abusing alcohol.

There are several alcohol rehab options that you’ve got at your disposal to ensure that you’re able to stop drinking and create a life that is beneficial for both you and your child. Not only will ceasing to consume alcohol improve your health, but it will also ensure that your child begins life on the right foot.

Fetal alcohol syndrome can cause issues and challenges that some children don’t overcome, and it will plague them for the rest of their lives. Alcohol addiction is serious, but you don’t want your addiction to become a blemish in the life of your child.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Give Your Unborn Child a Fighting Chance

We’ve answered the question of what is fetal alcohol syndrome. Not only did we answer this question in detail, but we also took the time to fill you in on how it occurs. Additionally, we provided you with the details of the signs and symptoms that may be noticeable when a child suffers from FAS.

If you’ve realized that you’ve got an issue with alcohol, contact The Rehab Guide. We can help you and provide you with the treatment program you need to ensure a better life for both you and your unborn child.

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