Alcohol Effects on Pregnancy

Scientific reports on alcohol effects on pregnancy were first published in France in the 1960s (Lemoine, Harousseau, Borteyru, & Menuet, 1968). FAS diagnosis was recommended on a child who had several disorders within three areas; prenatal and postnatal development, dyfunctioning of the nervous system and craniofacial related disorders (Griesbach & Polloway, 1990). Despite having, the above details on FAS criteria, it is still hard to diagnose it and their mother’s alcohol records are still difficult to prove. It is at the education or social system that children with FAS disorders are noticed due to development impairment or other physical disorders.

The most striking signs of FAS are:

Growth retardation before and after birth below 10%  A child with FAS signs have retarded growth or does not show the normal growth signs common with other children(Clarren & Smith, 1978). Poor growth, dullness, and fewer tissues fats are the common factors commonly related to FAS (Luke, 1990).

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Dysfunctioning of the nervous system- Abnormal shaking and anxiety-manifested signs are the common neurological signs that show between 6and 12 hours after birth and manifest for about 7 days (Griesbach & Polloway, 1990). The FAS related children have poor sucking habits, low tonal muscles and too much activities and poor attention related signs. Mental impairment is the worst disorder involved with these children.

Facial disorders- The narrowing of the eyes and short eye slits are the common observable characteristic as well as near sighted vision or crossed eyes (Luke, 1990). The receding forward narrows, the lower jaw has abnormal growth and ears grow in a nonparallel and low set pattern (Overholser, 1990).

Additional physical disorders- The children may develop a hole between the heart chambers, the heart blood vessel may constrict or block, irregular heart rhythms, heart failures resulting from blockages and low in heart beats (Luke, 1990; Phillipson, 1988).

Delays in development- There is delay in the child’s development, poor functioning of the motor system, low child health and mortality rate are all common for children with FAS


  1. Research question formulation.

How much alcohol is considered as an over drink? It is clear that alcohol taking during pregnancy is very risky, is it advisable to have an occasional drink? How much alcohol should be considered as an over drink during the pregnancy period?

  1. Creating a hypothesis.

A lot of alcohol exposure to the unborn child may result into mild brain effects. It may cause the loss of dendrite spikes, which are the links between brain cells in the hippocampus brain region that is very crucial in learning and memorizing.

The study population will be 163 middle class children. The children will be selected from two hospitals in Seattle, Washington. A physician unaware of the parents drinking habit will investigate the children for any observable deformities and the assessment will consist the below aspects.

  1. Small size of the child for gestational period (weight, height or both which are less than the third quarter.)
  2. Microcephaly (the circumference of the head which is less than the third quarter)
  3. Short size of palpebral openings ( the opening less than 1.8cm for children  with more than 36 gestational weeks)
  4. Deformation signs in two of the following: broad or low nasal fold, joint movement limitation, ear deformities, cardiac murmurs, or small nails.

 Using the above rating features, each infant will be located in one of three clinical groups.

  1. features related to alcohol caused disorder (FAS)
  2. mild deformations not related to FAS and
  3. Normal infants.

After comparing the physician assessments to the parents drinking trends the below results will be brought forward

  1. The risk percentage of getting a FAS or deformed child; if alcohol was between 1 and 2 ounces absolute alcohol content daily (2-4 alcoholic drinks)
  2. The risk percentage of getting a deformed or FAS child; if alcohol drink was above 2 ounces per day (4 drinks or more per day)

Expected results

The results should portray the following; if a mother takes about 2 to 4 alcoholic drinks in a day, then she has I chance out of 10 to get an abnormal or FAs child. On the other hand, if she takes more than 4 alcoholic drinks in a day then the chance of getting a FAs or deformed child increases to between 1 and 5 out of 10.

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The above observation is very important in advising expectant women. This is because; a woman may be unaware for of her pregnancy in two weeks or more. If confirmed, it will be a great challenge for both obstetricians and alcoholic mothers. Currently it is important to counsel a drinking mother to reduce their alcohol consumption before pregnancy.


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