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It’s important to understand that alcohol can affect an unborn child’s development.
When you drink alcohol while pregnant, regardless of the amount, it crosses the placental barrier and circulates through your baby’s system.
However, alcohol stays in your baby’s system longer than it stays in your system. This is because you have a fully formed liver, which can metabolise alcohol. Your baby’s liver is still forming, so it can’t process alcohol properly.
The level of harm that alcohol does to your baby is dependent on the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. Your age, your overall health and your environment will also influence how alcohol affects your little one.
FASD is a type of permanent, irreversible brain damage. It is also the broad term for a number of alcohol-related disorders in babies, including:
The most severe consequence of drinking alcohol while pregnant is FAS.
FASD disorders can affect your baby physically, developmentally and behaviourally. FAS, is the most extreme case of FASD. It is characterised by babies with deformed facial features, including:
All FASD disorders affect the behaviour and mental development of babies and cause issues like:
Unfortunately, there is no cure or specific treatment for babies born with FASD. The physical, mental and behavioural deficiencies typically stay with them for a lifetime.
However, when diagnosed early there are ways that professionals, family and friends can help reduce the severity of some symptoms.
Early intervention is the best chance for young children with FASD to improve their life experience.
Helpful services for a child affected with FASD might involve:
Helpful services for you and your partner might involve:
For more information on FASD, you can visit fasdhub.org.au.