According to the medical encyclopedia, Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome (FAS) which is also famous as alcohol during pregnancy refers to problem associated with growth, mental and physical that may occur when a mother drinks during pregnancy. The obvious cause of the Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome is therefore drinking of alcohol during pregnancy. The FAS manifests itself in children in diverse ways ranging from stunted growth, to mental retardation, poor muscular coordination, defects in the face, joints and heart. The affected child in the early years of life may also depict wide range of characteristics as too much emotionality.
Dangerous still, the syndrome may lead to giving birth to a child prematurely, still births, miscarriages and /or low birth weight, (medical encyclopedia). IDENTFICATION OF FETAL ALCOHOLIC SYNDROME A number of ways which can be used to identify the presence of fetal alcoholic syndrome at different stages include; establishing alcohol level of the pregnant woman, ultrasound pregnancy test, as well as using the echocardiogram. These and other methods are important in establishing the danger of FAS in unborn child (NHI, 2005). This is vital in intervention strategies to control its adverse effect on the child’s health.
COMMON RISK FACTORS ASOCIATED WITH FETAL ALCOHOLC SYNDROME A number of maternal factors have been identified to have a bearing on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. These risk factors According to the CDC include; 1. Maternal health: FAS children born of alcoholic mothers of over 25 years or when the mother already has three or more children are at risk. This could also be motivated by the mother taking much alcohol dunging pregnancy. 2. Socio-economic status: Low socio economic status is associated with not only men drinking but also pregnant women which in turn poses FAS risk to the unborn child.
3. Drinking pattern: No reduction in drinking during pregnancy and frequent drinking leads to high blood concentration at pregnancy stage which poses great threat to the unborn child. 4. Psychological profile: Characterized by hypo self esteem and depression may lead to alcohol consumption during pregnancy. 5. Family social characteristics/ environment: Environment of the mother may permit and facilitate alcohol drinking during pregnancy. In most cases, this is also propelled by the local culture or community of the mother. CURRENT INITIATIVES
Initiatives are underway by the different organizations both governmental and non-governmental in trying to control the effect of Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome at different stages of primary, secondary and tertiary. Such organizations include; the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, the National Institute if Health, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism among others INTERVENTION FOR FETAL ALCOHOLIC SYNDROME Different studies identify intervention of FAS to occur at three levels. These levels include the primary level intervention, secondary level intervention and the tertiary level, intervention.
Primary level intervention This include strategies such as education the public with the view of changing social norms that could be responsible for maternal drinking, delaying the age at which majority of young women start drinking and increasing the community’s awareness of the dangers of drinking to the life of the child before and after birth. This program targets the general public and especially mothers of child bearing age. It could last as long as there is still need for the community to change their alcoholic lifestyle.
Effectiveness of this approach is established by the realization of the attitude and cultural change of the community. Secondary level intervention This level is concerned with the identification of Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome and suggests intervention to control the effects of FAS. This level aims at reducing the prevalence of FAS, as well as the related stigma and promoting acceptance that FAS is a problem. This program targets the already affected population and the society at large and could last for the lifetime of the affected community. Tertiary level intervention
This level is characterized by the treatment of the identified cases. It aims at arresting the disease and promoting health and increased life of the affected individuals. This could involve detoxification and rehabilitation of the affected children, educating the family of the affected on taking care of the victim as well as advocating for medical cover for the victims. Brief Interventions This is another intervention strategy proposed by the National Institute of Health and which is highly dependant on counseling sessions is used. They can be given in lesser duration and does not require much intervention.
It helps in moderating one’s drinking to a successfully minimal level. The targeted population is drinking mothers and can take a period of few months. Success of this method can be seen in behavior change of the individual(s) In conclusion, the Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome is a condition which affects children born of alcohol consuming mothers and can be caused by even minimal consumption. It can however be identified and successfully managed at the individual and community level.
Reference: http:/www. nlm. nih. gov http:/www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov http:/pubs. niaaa. nih. gov http:/www. marchofdimes. com