More and more today, children are being affected by the disabilities that occur with prenatal alcohol exposure. Researchers today have been studying the long-term effects on children born of alcoholics and mothers who chose not to be abstinent while pregnant. Many trials and studies today are conducted to find the relationship between the amount of alcohol ingested and at what point during pregnancy it was imbibed. They are also conducting research on the connection between the child’s development who suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and their postnatal environment.
Studies have shown that income, race, and the mother’s drinking history all come into play when assessing the long-term effects of children with FAS. This is said because of the research showing how alcoholism is more common among lower class minorities. It is more common to affect the child later in life if he or she grows up in a lower income environment, because they are more likely to become or remain mentally and physically disabled. Babies in middle or upper class families were more likely [to some extent] to recover due to the medical status of the majority of these families. But handicaps such as mental retardation and physical abnormalities will stick with the children for life, no matter what their social status is.
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Numerous surveys are administered to find the link between how much alcohol is consumed during pregnancy and the specific stage in prenatal development it affects. Clinical trials show us that those mothers who did not drink during pregnancy had much healthier babies than those who did. There are even ways to evaluate the infant’s development and how quickly or slowly they react to the environment surrounding them. Many babies that have been born with FAS were continually monitored throughout their lifespan and have provided us with the information that it still affects their lives into adulthood. But there is also research conducted that says there is no effect at all. Since trials and experiments only provide but so much reliable data, it cannot be said what the exact relationship is between amount consumed and the severity of the effects.
We can rightfully assume that studies of FAS have supplied much evidence supporting the dangers of consuming alcohol while pregnant. Abnormalities, such as smaller head circumference and odd facial features are quite prevalent. Studies have shown that heavier drinking in the early stages of pregnancy is most likely responsible for children being smaller than those their own age. Continuing to drink into the later stages of pregnancy escalates the risk of mental and motor handicaps. But the severity of these effects still depends on the amount consumed.
Hopefully more mothers are becoming aware of the dangers and deciding to be abstinent during pregnancy. What a mother does when she is pregnant will affect the child regardless. There is more research and evidence to be found on this specific topic but as it continues and becomes more established in the minds of mothers, I would like to think that women will start to care for the health of their unborn child. I am a firm believer in doing what is right for the child. Maybe one day FAS and all the other disabilities that come with prenatal exposure to alcohol will be obsolete.
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