Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Fetal alcohol syndrome is a very serious condition affecting more and more unborn babies every year. FAS is the result of the child's mother consuming alcohol during the course of her pregnancy. The mother's bloodstream circulates to the fetus, by crossing the placenta. There, the alcohol interferes with the fetus' ability to recieve the proper oxygen and nourishment needed for it's cells to develop normally. FAS is a lifelong condition, and can have very devasting effects on the child, and the family of the child suffering from FAS.

Fetal alcohol syndrome has a pattern of many devasting physical and mental defects. The physical defects effect many different parts of an individual's body. These defects include growth patterns, facial abnormalities, and skeletal and organ deformities. It also has a major effect on the child's central nervous system. There are many sumptoms and characteristicsof fetal alcohol syndrome. Symptoms include small body weight & height, facial deformities such as drooping eyelids, small eye openings, a short upturned nose, thin upper lip, small jaw, and low-set or poorly formed ears.

Some of the more dangerous skeletal and organ deformities may include a curved spine, hip dislocation, webbed, bent, or even missing fingers and toes, limited movement of joints, heart defects and murmurs, and kidney and urinary defects. Of these, the most serious of these is the toll FAS takes on the child's central nervous system. Problems included are a smaller brain, and a very faulty arrangement of brain cells and their connective tissue. Mental retardation in FAS children is usually mild or moderate, but can also occassionally be severe. It also has effects such as learning disabilities, short attention span, irratibility & hyperactivity, especially during infancy and childhood, and poor body, hand, and finger coordination.

When treating a child with fetal alcohol syndrome,