Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a title given to an irreversible, lifelong condition: a group of physical and mental birth defects caused by a woman drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy. It was not until 1973, only some thirty years ago, that Dr. Jones and Dr. Smith coined the term "fetal alcohol syndrome" or FAS to describe these patterns of abnormalities observed in the children born to drinking mothers. Though the idea had been toyed with for many, many years before, it was mainly thought that malnutrition might be responsible for these defects. This paper serves to describe the reasons, issues, and prevention available for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Though the idea that a women with child has been around for centuries, it has only become widely recognized in the past three decades. The Old Testament warned women of the use of alcohol prior to intercourse or during pregnancy, the laws of Ancient Sparta prohibited bridal couples from drinking on their wedding night for fear that conception during intoxication would produce a damaged child, and Dr.
W.C. Sullivan reported in 1899 that women who drank during pregnancy had a 56 % rate of still birth and infant death which was due in part to a direct toxic action on the embryo. It was finally in 1973 that Dr. Kenneth Jones and Dr. David Smith conducted and published an independent study of eight unrelated children born to chronically alcoholic mothers and subsequently identified the fetal alcohol syndrome. More than a thousand studies have now been conducted to investigate the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and mechanisms which alcohol affects the fetus.
FAS is caused by a woman's use of alcohol during her pregnancy. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, the baby receives alcohol through the blood vessels in the placenta because it...