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Zero Alcohol For The Fetus, But Why? Explains Wellness Expert

"You drink, he toasts!" A Provocative title, but it's unfortunately realistic!

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.

Zero Alcohol For The Fetus, But Why?

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.

Multiple Disorders Avoidable

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:

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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.)

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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:

Intellectual disorders

Learning disabilities (dyscalculia)

Memory problems

School difficulties

Behavioural problems

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:

  • Perinatal professionals and other healthcare professionals: So that they can raise the subject with their patients
  • Women and men of childbearing age: To inform them of the importance of avoiding alcohol consumption or of having effective contraception, remind them that at any time during pregnancy, stopping alcohol is beneficial to babies, and encourage them to talk about it to the health professionals who accompany them
  • The only measure likely to avoid FAS is abstaining from alcohol consumption during pregnancy:"Zero alcohol during pregnancy".

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:

  1. First-line defence against future mothers' urge to become pregnant
  2. The education and training of early childhood & health workers,
  3. Early FASD detection,
  4. Improved understanding of usage, risk factors, health impacts, and social effects,
  5. The development of mechanisms for disordered kid screening, diagnosis, re-education, and rehabilitation

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