Wednesday, August 29, 2012

National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness

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By Nurse Diane

I recently saw an old rerun of a Law and Order Special Victims Unit on the TV the other day.  The case involved a woman who was pregnant, and she was an alcoholic.  She was seeking a divorce from her husband; however her husband, concerned for the life of his unborn child, filed a protective order against the mother to prevent her from consuming alcohol and risk damaging the baby.  The police officer, who was also a friend of the mother even, took the woman to the house of a child who suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome.   This didn’t have an impact on the mother and she was eventually locked up in prison, for her own wellbeing and the wellbeing of her baby.
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I don't watch any of those reality television shows, however there are a few of them that concern me.  One is 16 and Pregnant, the other is Jersey Shore, where one of the main characters, Snooki, is pregnant.  These shows influence the populations of young girls who idolize these shows. Being pregnant carries alot of responsibility, and if you are portrayed on a reality show, there is even more responsibility to display proper care for your life and that of your unborn child.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a disorder that has no cure. There are many signs and symptoms including:
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the phylum)
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones

While there may not be a cure, it is 100% preventable.  The only way to prevent this disorder is to refrain from drinking alcohol while pregnant.  Each year there are 40,000 babies born with Fetal Alcohol disorders.  You can help by letting expectant mothers know about the harm they are causing their babies when they drink.
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For more, information click on this site.

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