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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in a nutshell: Alcohol usage during pregnancy is the main contributor to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which are non-genetic mental disabilities in children. Permanent harm to the fetus is caused by FASD or FAS (the most severe kind). Consuming alcohol during pregnancy is toxic for the fetus and can lead to various complications (growth retardation, damage to the central nervous system, malformations, etc.), of which fetal alcohol syndrome is the most severe form. It is manifested by growth retardation, facial abnormalities, malformations and cerebral expectations. Shivani Sikri, Chief Nutritionist & Wellness Expert at Nutri4Verve,discusses one of the most crucial yet highly preventable Fetal Syndrome, which a substantial population across the globe is unaware of or is highly ignorant and uninformed.
At the slightest drink, each pregnant woman being of a different constitution, the risk that the fetus is affected by Disorders caused by Fetal Alcoholization (FASD) does exist. Alcohol is a real poison for a baby in his mother's womb at all stages of pregnancy, from the beginning of his conception until his birth. The alcohol drunk by the mother will directly reach the fetus by crossing the placenta. Its elimination, slower by the immature liver of the fetus, will lead to prolonged intoxication. However, alcohol is a dangerous cellular toxicant which can cause severe malformations, both physical (heart, kidney, liver and other organs, bones, limbs, fingers) and neurological.
We mainly speak of FASD ("Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder") and FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) because of the variable nature of these disorders. The most severe form of this Fetal intoxication is FAS, which combines the following elements to varying degrees:
Evocative craniofacial dysmorphism with:
Narrowed palpebral fissures
A short nose
An erased philtrum (absence of furrow between the nose and the mouth)
A thin upper lip
A thin lower lip
A small recessed chin
A small weight, small size and a small head circumference
Non-specific malformations (brain, bone, facial, heart, eye, ear, etc.)
When the mother consumes alcohol, the baby's brain's development is most seriously affected. This damage will be the cause of developmental disorders to different degrees:
Learning disabilities (dyscalculia)
Social maladjustment (delinquency )
Severe mental retardation
Alongside this severe form of Fetal intoxication, there are incomplete forms. In these cases, fetal alcoholism results in neurodevelopmental disorders (learning difficulties, school failure) or behavioural disorders responsible for problems integrating into society. The main risk here is a delay in diagnosis and, consequently, late management of the child. Scientifically, there is no minimum threshold for alcohol consumption and this risk concerns all alcoholic beverages, whether they are festive drinks (whisky, pastis, spirits, etc.) or those for everyday consumption (wine, beer, cider, etc.).
Every year on September 9th, there is an opportunity for widespread communication, especially with:
International FAS Prevention Day is an opportunity to mobilize to inform the general public about the potential sequelae of prenatal alcohol exposure.
On this matter, the experts have made several proposals, including: