Understanding Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a pattern of mental and physical growth defects that develop in a fetus because of high levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. A study says that around 50% of pregnant women consume alcohol, and therefore FAS complications are growing considerably. This article is a guide to help you understand and prevent FAS.

What is FAS

Foetal alcohol syndrome is a series of birth defects that can develop in a fetus because of high levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. These defects lead to many more physical and mental growth complications in the child after birth. In a pregnant women drinking alcohol, it passes from mothers blood to the fetus, where it acts as a depressant to slow down the central nervous system, effecting the cell coordination and intellectual abilities of the fetus. That is, the alcohol has direct toxic effect on the blood cells of fetus, slowing down the natural metabolism, leading to many complications for both child and mother, during and after the child birth.

Effects of fetal alcohol syndrome

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to many diverse effects of foetal alcohol syndrome like:

- It can lead to growth retardation and birth defects in major organ systems, like an abnormal heart structure.

- It can lead to complications of the brain and create problems in psychological development, effecting the IQ of child.

- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause facial deformations of head, eyes, mouth and jaws in the child; and poor growth of the baby while in the womb and after birth.

- FAS is the most common known causes of mental retardation and hyperactivity.

- Drinking alcohol while pregnant can also lead to premature delivery of the baby, and sometimes even miscarriage that can result in infant death. FAS is not only dangerous to the fetus, it also endangers the mother's life.

Detection

FAS can be diagnosed from:

- Diagnosing the Blood alcohol level in pregnant women showing signs of alcohol syndrome.

- Ultrasound of the pregnant womb that shows slow rate of growth of the fetus.

- Fetal alcohol syndrome pictures, like the CT or MRI images showing abnormal brain development.

A group of medical professionals will examine the Prenatal alcohol exposure, the growth deficiency, FAS facial features and Central nervous system damage before coming to a conclusion.

Prevention and Cure

Fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable. Abstaining from alcohol during the entire pregnancy period is the only sure way to avoid it. Pregnant women addicted to alcohol should take help of rehabilitation programs or support groups, always monitored by a health care specialist. Also, early recognition of FAS risk will make it easy to treat the child with appropriate medical treatment.

Think of the innocent unborn child inside you and make sure to take good care of him, for he is going to take care of you later.
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Tanmi Gold
Content and Copywriter.
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Caffeine During Pregnancy

There is no question that many of us love our morning cups of coffee, or tea. Caffeine wakes us from our slumber and helps us become alert for the challenging day ahead. The true question, which is very important for a pregnant woman to understand is why, and how, caffeine affects the mother's body-and the subsequent affect of that cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate to her unborn child.

Products that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and chocolate are amongst the most popular and widespread products consumed in the world and its usage may date as far back as 3000 BC, in China. While caffeine is known to be a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills insects feeding on certain plants, it's sustained popularity stems from its unique physiologic and pharmacologic properties. In other words, caffeine contains chemicals that have a profound stimulating affect on the nervous system, as well as many other human bodily functions.

Caffeine's stimulant properties may:

    * affect the central nervous system leading to increased alertness and arousal.
    * cause an increased heart rate.
    * have a diuretic affect that may lead to increased urination.
    * affect the muscular system positively through increased coordination and ability to perform physical labor but can also affect the muscular system negatively in higher doses, as it can also lead to tremors.
    * have mental effects which can increase short term memory but decrease long term memory.
    * increase the effectiveness of other drugs, such as headache medications, and can help overcome drowsiness from antihistamines.

What happens to the baby when a product containing caffeine is consumed?

Caffeine is absorbed by the stomach and small intestine within 45 minutes of ingestion. It crosses readily to the placenta, accumulating in both the fetus and amniotic fluid. It is metabolized three times more slowly in pregnant women compared to non-pregnant women, allowing for greater, and longer lasting, accumulation in the fetus.

Caffeine also significantly decreases blood flow in the placental villi, (small projections which help increase absorption of nutrients) through constriction of the vessels. Keep in mind that the fetus gets everything it needs from blood flow including nutrition, oxygenation, etc. and, if these vessels become constricted, the fetus gets less of everything needed for growth and development. Consequently, it is thought that maybe this constriction c`n possibly lead to reduced growth and can be associated with impaired development later on in life-or even stillbirth.

Considering the quantity of caffeine consumed, knowing whether caffeine is harmful in pregnancy is a major public health concern. Many studies have been written about the safety of caffeine in pregnancy most concluding that no malformations have been attributed to caffeine consumption and that most scientists believe that caffeine is not a teratogen (an agent or factor that causes malformations in an embryo) in humans.

However, concerns regarding harmful effects have stemmed from animal and human studies that have shown decreased intrauterine fetal growth, lower birth weights (less than 2500 grams), and skeletal abnormalities. (Vlajinac,1997;Caan, 1989). Other studies have shown no association between caffeine use and adverse outcomes in pregnancy. (Linn, 1982;Bech 2007, Clausson, 2000) Results of these kinds of studies are always questionable because many have been retrospective studies; those being studies that depend upon patient recollection, vary in the amounts of caffeine consumed, have differing sources of caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, medication), and have different methods of preparation and serving sizes.

Other studies have correlated specific quantities of caffeine consumed as being the determining factor of risk. (Fenster,1991)

It is known, however, that caffeine is readily transferred into human milk and therefore breast feeding mothers, who consume caffeine, may cause stimulatory effects in younger children.

In 1980, the United States Food and Drug Administration advised pregnant women to avoid caffeine containing foods and drugs, or use them sparingly.

The UK Food Standards Agency has recommended that women limit caffeine intake to under 200 mg of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to 2 cups of instant of coffee.

In Summary:

Most recent studies conclude that caffeine intake during pregnancy does not impose a major public health issue with regard to fetal health. However, because of the controversy that exists with the use of caffeine and impaired fetal growth in pregnancy, it is probably advisable to reduce the intake of caffeine during pregnancy to under 300 mg/day (3 cups of coffee) and encourage drinking decaffeinated coffee as a substitute.

Estimates of caffeine intake that might be helpful for pregnant women: (150 ml portion)

- Coffee
- Tea
- Soft Drinks
- Cocoa
- Brewed 115 mg
- Loose 39 mg
- 15 mg
- 4 mg
- Boiled 90 mg
- Tea bags 39 mg
- Instant 60 mg
- Herbal 0 mg

Dark roast has less caffeine compared to light roast because roasting reduces the caffeine content.

Tea generally contains more caffeine that coffee but is generally brewed much more weakly.

1 g of chocolate bar = 0.3 mg caffeine.

Most drugs contain 50-100 mg of caffeine per tablet.
About this Author

Since the beginning of her Obstetrics and Gynecology practice in 1982, Dr. Michele Brown has delivered more than 3,000 babies. She has her medical training to guide her in the development of Beaute de Maman's unique health and beauty products. Dr. Brown has a busy obstetrical practice in Stamford, Connecticut. As a clinical attending, she actively teaches residents from Stamford Hospital and medical studentr from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Dr. Brown is a board-certified member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a member of the American Medical Association, the Fairfield County Medical Association, Yale Obstetrical and Gynecological Society and the Women's Medical Association of Fairfield County.

Please visit http://www.beautedemaman.com.

Fetal Heart Rate - Healthy Heart Diet

The fetal heart rate an important factor that would help that doctor asses the condition of the baby while he is still in his mother's womb. The normal can range from 110 beats per minute to 180 beats per minute. However, the baby's heart rate can vary depending on his activity. If he seems to extra hyperactive, it could even go up to 190 beats per minute. That is still considered normal. If he is resting, it could go down to 110 or 120 beats per minute.

Listening to the fetal heart rate of the baby can be a wonderful bonding activity between mother and child. With the use of a Doppler ultrasound, the baby's heartbeat could be heard as early as 8 weeks. However, there are also babies whose heartbeats cannot be detected until three to four months. This is fairly normal and should not be a cause for worry. There are mothers that might have more abdominal fat content than others, and that could suppress the sound of the baby's heartbeat.

The baby's fetal heart rate could be affected by a lot of factors. Most of these factors are directly related to the mother. The mother's physical and mental health greatly affects how the baby turns out. Stress is a huge factor. Studies have shown that stress could have untoward effects on the baby's overall health and not just his heart rate. Another factor would be the mother's cardiac health. A mother with high blood pressure could also seriously affect the baby's growth in the womb. A high blood pressure, also called preeclampsia, can decrease the nutrients that the baby receives, resulting in various health problems. It could even be life threatening for both the baby and the mother.

Every mother should engage in a healthy heart diet, for not only is it beneficial for her but for the baby as well. It is a common misconception that a pregnant mother should be eating for two. This not only wrong, but can also be potentially dangerous for the baby. A healthy heart diet should be low in salt and fat. Both salt and fat are the culprits of every cardiovascular condition out there, and they should be avoided completely if possible. Acceptable food would be fruits, vegetables, lean meats, chicken and fish.

Engaging in a healthy diet, while pregnant, would also help the mother attain the recommended weight gain required during pregnancy. The ideal numbers would be two to four pounds a week during the first trimester, and a pound a week for the next six months. Overall, the mother-to-be is expected to gain around 25 to 35 pounds in nine months.

Unlike before, monitoring the fetal heart rate can now be done at home. There are Doppler ultrasound devices that are readily available to the public. The process can be easily done with the use of the probe and some water-soluble lubricant. The best places to start looking would be at the bottom right or left of the abdomen. It would greatly help if the mother knows how to look for the baby's back. That is where the heartbeat is the loudest.

If you are pregnant and you want to learn more about fetal heartbeat, there are great online websites available for reference.
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For more information on Different Types of Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnoses, Please visit: Fetal Heart Rate and Healthy Heart Diet.

Protect Yourself And Your Fetus' Health From Snoring

Almost 30 percent of pregnant women snore. This often takes place during the third semester. Though snoring is common during pregnancy, health hazards to the mother and the fetus do exist.

Why Do Pregnant Women Snore

One of the possibilities could be due to estrogen. During pregnancy, your level of estrogen increases which leads to higher volume of mucus in the nasal passages. Consequently, the mucous membrane along the nose swells and blocks the airways, causing snoring to occur.

Higher levels of estrogen also relaxes your neck muscles. The fat surrounding your neck combined with relaxation of the neck muscles makes you snore.

Health Impact On Pregnant Women Due To Snoring

Heavy snoring can affect your respiratory system. You also feel tired during the day and may experience high blood pressure. If you give it little attention, it can advance to sleep apnea.

A study shows that 14 percent of pregnant women who snore have hypertension. In another separate study, 52 percent have swollen face, hands, legs and feet compared to those who don't snore.

All these symptoms can put you at high health risk.

Effect of Snoring on Fetus

If you suffer from sleep apnea, the growth of your unborn child may be affected. Usually, the child has lower birth weight.

Simple Snoring Remedies For Pregnant Women

You can overcome snoring problems by sleeping on your sides. Moreover, you are more relaxed in this position as the weight of your belly is shifted.

You should avoid alcohol consumption and stop smoking. Alcohol relaxes your throat muscles which lead to blockage of the air passages. Cigarette smoke induces more mucous in the throat area and obstruct the nasal passages. Both of which causes you to snore.

Even though you may stop snoring after the delivery, snoring during pregnancy is still a warning sign. Should you snore excessively, seek your doctor's advice on how to prevent snoring. The impact from snoring can be devastating to you and your fetus.
About this Author

Andy Lim writes for http://www.noisysnorer.com to help pregnant women eliminate snoring. Discover more remedies for snoring during pregnancy at his web site.

Nutritional Supplements For Healthy Fetal Development

When you are pregnant, people will often say that you are "eating for two" now. They usually will laughingly say that when they see you eating more than usual, as a reason for you to be extra hungry. While it's not actually true that a pregnant woman should be eating twice as much as necessary, it is crucial that she get the proper balance of nutrients in order to ensure healthy fetal development.

All nutrients are important while you are expecting, to support both the health of the mother and the unborn child, but certain nutrients are even more vital to help the fetus be able to grow and develop optimally. You will especially want to make sure that you are getting the vitamins, minerals and other substances that support all the rapid cell growth the baby undergoes while inside of you. Here are a few that are absolutely crucial to normal fetal development:

Folic Acid - A member of the vitamin B group, deficiencies in folic acid during pregnancy has been associated with higher risks of neural tube birth defects like spinal bifida.

Vitamin A - This vitamin helps to fight off infections and promotes normal eye and vision development. The best form of vitamin A is beta carotene, which is also an antioxidant.

Iron - This mineral is needed for the creation of healthy red blood cells.

Vitamin C - This vitamin helps the body absorb iron more efficiently as well as being needed for cell and tissue growth.

Vitamin B family - Particularly B6 and B12, this group of vitamins helps with cell and tissue growth, normal enzyme system function and the developing of brain function.

Vitamin D - This vitamin is needed in order for the baby to grow strong, healthy bones and teeth.

Omega 3 fatty acids - Vital to healthy brain growth and development, especially during the latter part of pregnancy when the baby's brain is growing rapidly.

Taking an Omega 3 supplement is specially important because you get omega 3 from fish. You are not supposed to eat a lot of fish because of the mercury contained in it. Therefore an omega 3 supplement that is made for pregnant should be your option and should be taken.
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Baby Brain Boost is an omega 3 supplement that was specially made for pregnant women who wanted to get the right amount of omega 3 for them and their baby. This supplement will promote healthy baby brain development. To find out the complete benefits of this and how to get a free bottle of Baby Brain Boost, click here: http://newbabydevelopment.com/pregnancy-supplements-reviews/the-countless-benefits-of-baby-brain-boost-omega-3-to-your-baby-development_1