Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is something many of our clients have given to their children due to their addiction.
FAS is a condition associated with mental and physical developmental defects caused by alcohol during gestation. Children with FAS may exhibit:
- Deformed facial features including skin folds at the corners of the eyes.
- A small mid-face
- Short nose
- Small upper lip
- Indistinct philtrum (the groove between the upper lip and nose).
- Structural, neurological and functional central nervous system deficits are also observed in children with FAS.
This not only has an effect on cognition but also on organ function since the brain may not appropriately regulate such processes as heart rhythm, voluntary muscular movement or even vision. These defects have a profoundly negative emotional effect on the victims of this condition. Unlike a lot of other children who have genetic deficits that may present in similar ways to FAS, children of this condition grow up knowing their lives could have been different if only their mothers had been given help for their apparent alcohol addiction.
We know that alcohol addiction during pregnancy causes FAS, but there currently is no consensus on just how much alcohol consumption may be permissible during pregnancy, if permissible at all. To be on the safe side, the U.S. Surgeon General recommends that mothers avoid the consumption of any alcohol during pregnancy. However, popular belief is that occasional consumption of alcohol has no negative affects on fetal development. Surveys have found that between ten and fifteen percent of American women report recently having consumed alcohol, and up to thirty percent have consumed alcohol at some point during pregnancy.