Birth Defects Associated with Substance Abuse – Alcohol

Women are in the know about the consequences of drinking during pregnancy but still statistics show that several women still use alcohol and other substances during such periods. The dangers of using alcohol and other substances during pregnancies is that the children can be born with a number of disorders. Additionally, using alcohol does interfere with the health of the mothers and the fetus they carry. One of the most common disorders that such children may suffer from is what is called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). When women consume more alcohol during pregnancy, the more fatal the effects become on their unborn children. Excessive consumption of alcohol results in a more severe effect referred to as Fetal Alcohol syndrome (FAS). Statistics in America indicate that today, for every one thousand babies born in America, two of them suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome. The statistics also show that ten out of every one thousand new born babies suffer from alcohol related problems (National Health Institute).

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy results in a number of birthdefects that includes the following, mental retardation where the mental capacity of the child remains so low. Due to the mental retardation problem, chances are high that such children will suffer from physical abnormalities as well as other behavior problems that can last their entire lifetime (Turney, 2011).  Fetal alcohol spectrum may also result in growth deficits where the children become unable to grow like the rest of their counterparts whose mothers do not take alcohol during pregnancy. Additionally, babies born of drinking mothers are most likely to suffer from neurological defects as well as other body malfunctions. Body malfunctions may include deformation of the head structures which also interferes with the face formation (National Health institute). Additionally, women who drink during pregnancy put their babies at a risk of suffering from abnormalities of the eyes.

Substance abuse and alcohol consumption during pregnancy does have an effect of impaired growth where such babies are born when they are physically small as compared to those born of non-drinkers.  In most cases, such small babies suffer from growth problems for a better part of their lifetime and they fail to catch up with the rest of their peers. Apart from that, alcohol consumption also causes problems on the organs of the babies where they cause disruptions on the formation process of the organs. For instance, defects in the heart formation, muscles and joint remain to be serious problems for infants. Additionally, such children suffer from kidney deformations and malfunctions due to the alcohol exposure they experience from their mothers (Turney, 2011). There are cases where the sex organs of such infants fail to develop properly.

According to statistics, it has been proved that the number of women who are exposed to excessive consumption of alcohol far exceeds the number of children born with alcohol related problems. It therefore shows that not every mother who consumes alcohol or uses other drugs during pregnancy will give birth to children with the above defects. Additionally, the extents to which children suffer the above defects differ from one child to theother. The difference in the defects variations are normally caused by a difference in a number of factors that includes the alcohol consumption patterns of the mothers. Additionally, the difference in the metabolism abilities of the mothers is also a factor that results in the defects variations. The genetic susceptibility of both the mothers and the babies also creates the differences in the defects variations.


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