There are no precise figures available on the number of individuals who suffer from foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Because of the wide range of symptoms and the different degrees to which they might manifest, it is not always easy to determine whether or not a person has FASD. Additionally, not all pregnant women who drink feel comfortable talking to their healthcare professional about their drinking habits. This indicates that some persons who only exhibit minor signs of FASD may never get a diagnosis from Gratitude Lodge of the condition.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts estimate that there are less than two occurrences of FASD for every 1,000 live births in the United States. This is based on the information that is currently available. When researchers include the whole range of abnormalities associated with FASD, they find that the prevalence may be as high as 1 to 5 out of every 100 children in Western Europe and the United States.
What factors lead to the development of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)?
Fetal alcohol syndrome is caused when an expecting mother consumes any kind of alcoholic beverage, including wine, beer, hard ciders, and “hard liquor,” when she is pregnant. FAS cannot develop in a person who does not drink alcohol. One of the reasons why drinking alcohol while pregnant is risky is because the foetal bloodstream is directly connected to the maternal bloodstream via the umbilical cord. Because alcohol is not metabolised (broken down) by the new born in the same manner that it is by an adult, its presence in the body is prolonged for a greater amount of time.
Consuming alcohol during pregnancy has the potential to disrupt the healthy development of the unborn child, especially the brain and central nervous system. This may take place through any of the following methods:
- Alcohol is known to cause the death of cells in several regions of the developing foetus, which may lead to aberrant physical development.
- Drinking alcohol disrupts the normal development of nerve cells, as well as their ability to communicate with one another and perform their functions in the brain.
- Because alcohol causes blood arteries to tighten, it reduces the amount of blood that flows to the placenta (food supply while in the uterus). This results in an inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients being delivered to the developing embryo.
- When the body processes alcohol, it creates by-products that are toxic to the body. These may then congregate in the cells of the baby’s brain and cause harm to those cells.
There is never a safe time to drink alcohol while pregnant since it may cause problems at any time. Although the beginning of foetal development is the most crucial stage for the organism as a whole, some organs, such as the brain, continue to grow all the way through pregnancy. Because it is hard to precisely identify all of the growth that takes place throughout pregnancy, it is dangerous to consume alcohol at any moment before the baby is born.
It is also suggested that you abstain from drinking alcoholic drinks if you are attempting to conceive a child while doing so. During the first few weeks of their pregnancy, the majority of women are unaware that they are pregnant (four to six weeks). This is due to the fact that it takes some time for your body to produce enough hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone that develops in early pregnancy) for it to be picked up by a pregnancy test. In the first few weeks of a pregnant woman’s pregnancy, the developing baby goes through a period of rapid growth and change. Consuming alcohol at this period might have a harmful effect on the developing foetus.
How much drinking is associated with the development of foetal alcohol syndrome?
Consuming alcohol in any quantity while pregnant puts the unborn child at risk for developing foetal alcohol syndrome. There is no quantity that could be considered safe for consumption. At any moment throughout your pregnancy, there is a risk that your growing baby may suffer harm. Even starting off with one drink is putting yourself in danger later on. Any kind of alcoholic beverage, including beer, wine, ciders, and hard liquor, might contribute to the development of FAS.