|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Pregnancy Substance abuse|
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is an alarming public health problem that has also attracted the attention of the media. Studies have revealed that despite the significant awareness of alcohol as a teratogen, at least 15% of pregnant women still consume alcohol (Kelly, Sacker, Gray, Kelly, Wolke, & Quigley, 2008). Some of the reasons for alcohol abuse among pregnant women include poverty, influence from partners, and the preconception substance use among others. The problem has various impact on the pregnant women which include preterm labor, decreased milk production, and development of fetal alcohol syndrome among others. Therefore, it is essential for pregnant to abstain from alcohol consumption since it is not only harmful to their health but also the fetus.
Pregnant women who consume alcohol risks giving birth to babies with behavioral and cognitive challenges. The problem is also linked to facial dimorphism and retardation in growth. The child is also at risk of developing neurological disorder such as seizures. Studies have revealed that pregnant women who take more than two standard drinks in a day risk their children from becoming mentally and physically impaired (Ornoy & Ergaz, 2010). The studies also revealed that those who consume in a day more than 50g of alcohol-exposed their unborn children to physical deformities and intellectual incapacitation. However, consumption of alcohol in small amount does not affect the health of the baby nor the mother. A study was conducted involving more than 150,000 pregnant women, to establish the correlation between low-level of alcohol consumption and the outcome of abnormal babies (Ornoy & Ergaz, 2010). Very few results revealed a statistical significance for the study, which also did not consider the effect of other risk factors of fetal abnormalities in babies of drinking women. At least 5700 studies revealed that pregnant women who consumed low-level alcohol on a regular basis had healthy babies without any malformations. Additionally, smoking was a risk factor that was overlooked, as it is also linked to the fetal abnormalities and hence impairment of the babies.
However, the consumption of alcohol has various impact on the fetus, and the significant one includes fetal alcohol syndrome. The children with this problem present with facial dimorphism, growth retardation, cardiac anomalies, microcephaly and other issues. The consumption of the alcohol affects the fetus different for instance, and heavy drinking leads to the syndrome while moderate drinking leads to the effect of alcohol on the fetus. The amount consumed and the duration that is taken affects the fetus at different stages in various ways. For instance, the moderate continuous consumption risks spontaneous abortion during the first three months. However, for binge drinking, the chances of fetal death are high as shown by (Bhuvaneswar, Chang, Epstein, & Stern, 2007). The high consumption during pregnancy affects the development of the embryo. Studies have revealed that between four and six percent of the infants of the heavy drinkers, their babies develop malformations. Fortunately, the result of alcohol consumption by women during pregnancy can be treated during and after pregnancy. Since oxidative stress facilitates the adverse effects of alcohol on the fetal, administering antioxidants such as vitamin C to supplement and reverse the impact of the deficit in nutrition (Silva, Quevedo, Silva, Oliveira, & Pinheiro, 2011). Since children can access the alcohol through breast milk, binge drinking mother should avoid lactating.
Additionally, babies born to drinking mother have low birth weight. The low birth infants are unable to regulate their body temperature; they have low oxygen levels at birth which contributes to respiratory problems for the child. These babies can contract infections easily, suffering gastrointestinal problems and are at risk of sudden death. A cross-sectional study was conducted in southern Brazil where 957 pregnant women were recruited. The women in the study who consumed alcohol were 2.1% of the population, and 26.3% had infants with low birth weight (Cederbaum, 2012). The research revealed the drinking mothers with children suffering from low birth weight were either moderate or binge drinkers. This situation makes it difficult for the establishment of the minimal amount of alcohol that can be confirmed as appropriate to prevent low weight. Birth. Some of the factors to be considered for determining the amount of alcohol to be consumed despite the standards for men and women for example, not more than two drinks in a day for women include weight and health status (Cederbaum, 2012)). Body weight determines how alcohol diffuse within the body, this means that people with low weight has a small surface area for this purpose and hence, despite taking the right amount their baby will still be affected. Additionally, mean have fewer enzymes which are needed to metabolize alcohol into its harmless constituents than men. Therefore, if the alcohol is not metabolized correctly, the remaining portion flows towards the fetus via the placenta and causes damage. Consequently, it is vital that pregnant mother who has a drinking habit to establish the exact amount of alcohol to and promote a safe pregnancy.
In conclusion, consumption of alcohol among pregnant women is a danger both to the mother and the fetus. Treating oxidative stress, avoiding lactation, and pregnant mothers establishing their exact recommended alcohol safe limits is the solution to this problem. Awareness on the effects of alcohol should launch among pregnant women during their first visits to the clinics and strict legislation against drinking for such women should be promoted by the government.
Bhuvaneswar, C. G., Chang, G., Epstein, L. A., & Stern, T. A. (2007). Alcohol use during pregnancy: prevalence and impact. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 9(6), 455.
Cederbaum, A. I. (2012). Alcohol metabolism. Clinics in liver disease, 16(4), 667-685.Kelly, Y., Sacker, A., Gray, R., Kelly, J., Wolke, D., & Quigley, M. A. (2008). Light drinking in pregnancy, a risk for behavioral problems and cognitive deficits at three years of age?. International journal of epidemiology, 38(1), 129-140.
Ornoy, A., & Ergaz, Z. (2010). Alcohol abuse in pregnant women: effects on the fetus and newborn, mode of action and maternal treatment. International journal of environmental research and public health, 7(2), 364-379.
Silva, I. D., Quevedo, L. D. A., Silva, R. A. D., Oliveira, S. S. D., & Pinheiro, R. T. (2011). Association between alcohol abuse during pregnancy and birth weight. Revista de Saude Publica, 45(5), 864-869.
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