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Safe Pregnancy

Dangers of drinking alcohol when you’re pregnant

You’re pregnant! We know that you’re happy, but please don’t drink any alcohol from that day forward; consumption of alcohol can cause irreparable harm to your unborn baby.

In South Africa, it’s reported that nearly 20% of the population is affected by foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) during pregnancy. According to an article published in ScienceDirect, studies have found that ‘in rural South Africa, up to 28% of children have a foetal alcohol syndrome disorder)’

Foetal alcohol syndrome

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to foetal alcohol syndrome – it’s that simple. A developing baby doesn’t process alcohol the same way as an adult does. For them, it’s much more concentrated and inhibits the amount of nutrition, as well as oxygen, required for healthy development. The Centre for Disease Control says it exceptionally well, ‘When you drink, your baby drinks.’

FAS causes physical and mental damage to the unborn baby; irreversible harm can be caused within the first two weeks of pregnancy – it’s possible that you may not even know you’re pregnant at this point in time. So, it’s recommended that you don’t drink if you’re sexually active and are not using a method of birth control.

It’s been found that babies who have contracted FAS may suffer from impaired vision, memory hearing problems as well as trouble with communication.

Other Symptoms of FAS include

  • A ridge between the upper lip and nose, small & wide-set eyes
  • A small head
  • Abnormal facial features
  • Hyperactivity
  • Below average height and weight
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor coordination
  • Problems seeing or hearing
  • Intellectual disability
  • Kidney defects and abnormalities
  • Heart problems

Treatment for foetal alcohol syndrome

It’s vital that you make an appointment with your doctor to speak aboutabout the different types of treatment available if you have been drinking during your pregnancy and give birth to a baby with foetal alcohol syndrome,

It all starts at home.

A stable and loving home is crucial. Children with FAS have the predisposition to have violent outbreaks and drug problems as they get older if it’s experienced at home.

Medications

Due to the symptoms, medication may be necessary. Doctors may prescribe:

  • Stimulants to treat lack of focus and hyperactivity
  • Antidepressants to treat issues associated with sadness and negativity
  • Medication to treat anxiety

How you can prevent foetal alcohol syndrome

It’s straightforward: Don’t drink alcohol when you’re pregnant. Just as drinking and driving have potentially fatal consequences, so does drinking while pregnant – for you and your baby.

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