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Effect of Alcohol Consumption in Prenatal Life

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Effect of Alcohol Consumption in Prenatal Life,

Childhood, and Adolescence on Child Development

I have heard the term Fetal Alcohol Syndrome quite a bit the past few years. It has become a very strong topic of interest to me. In 2007 my husband and I took custody of a 3 1/2 year old male child that was developmentally equivalent to an 18 month old child. His mother had drank heavily during her pregnancy. He is now 8 years old. We have come a long way in his development, but we still have a long way to go. I have a hard time believing mothers care so little for their children. It is a trend that is running rampant through our society right now.

There are over 12,000 infants born a year with fetal alcohol syndrome. It is the number one cause of retardation in the United States. Fetal alcohol syndrome is also the only preventable form of birth defects. The article I have chosen informs us of the negative impact alcohol has on the neurobiological and neurobehavioral development of babies and adolescents. A lady named Jacqueline Rouquette started a study of 100 children who had developmental abnormalities, they were all born to alcoholic parents, and her initial conclusion was that prenatal drinking is risky to the unborn child. The term Fetal Alcohol Syndrome soon came to be known. The syndrome has a pattern of abnormalities, such as facial anomalies, and neurological disorders. The effects aren't always visible to the human eye. Most of the time, maternal consumption of alcohol is going to cause problems with cognitive learning, behavioral problems, attention disorders, verbal skills, and motor skills. The amount consumed by the mother will be a direct impact on the developmental problems the child will have.

In 2007 the results of several studies were combined and evaluated. Low to moderate levels of alcohol consumption were shown to have no significant effect on miscarriage, stillbirth, impaired growth, premature delivery. Low to moderate drinking is defined as up to 83g/wk. However the consensus on several studies done on neurobehavioral abnormalities was quite different when using the Mental Development Index (MDI) from the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. The data was analyzed in 10 studies of three different levels of consumption. The levels were defined as, less than 1 drink per day, between 1 and 1.99 drinks per day, and 2 or more drinks per day. Moderate consumption was found in five studies, and four studies were found to be low consumption. All three levels were shown to impact significantly lower MDI scores among 12-13 month old children. The more the mother drank the lower the MDI scores were. There was negative impact in all three levels of alcohol exposure in this age group of children. There was no effect to the children when the mother consumed less than two alcoholic beverages per day when the sizes of drinks were adjusted to the relevant variable.

Some experts are worried that even the low levels of prenatal ethanol exposure will still have a negative impact on the children that might not be noticed for years. They are afraid



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