The effects of tobbacco and alcohol during pregnancy

Essay by matilda April 2003

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Drinking alcohol is harmful during pregnancy. Alcohol crosses the placenta to the baby. It can accumulate in the fluid that surrounds the baby. If a mother drinks alcohol while she is pregnant she increases the babies risk of birth defects. Alcohol can prevent a baby's body, heart and brain from developing correctly. Alcohol also causes problems with bleeding, miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. A major problem that can occur if a mother consumes alcohol while pregnant is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). This may cause abnormal facial features, delays in developing, developmental disabilities or heart problems. Babies can be born with some or all of the problems caused by FAS. If a woman is planning to get pregnant she should avoid all alcohol. The first three weeks after conception is the vital period for the baby's organ development. This is also the time when most women do not know yet that they are pregnant.

There is evidence that shows if a woman drinks two or more standard drinks every day, the baby can be affected and grow slowly. If she drinks six or more standard drinks every day, the baby may have slow physical growth, poor coordination and movement. The may also suffer intellectual disability. A baby that is born to a woman that consumed large amounts of alcohol can suffer withdraw at birth. Withdraw symptoms are tremors, irritability, fits and a bloated abdomen. The best and safest thing to do for your child is not to drink during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman and her unborn baby are joined together by the placenta. Everything the mom eats drinks and inhales is passed to the baby through the placenta. A woman that smokes decreases her chances of getting pregnant. If she is fortunate enough to conceive a child, she...