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Alcohol and Drug-Related Birth Defects

This week is recognized worldwide as National Alcohol and Drug-Related Birth Defects Week, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. Prenatal drug and alcohol use, including abuse of commonly used over the counter medicines, and even substances such as caffeine, can result in a spectrum of adverse conditions, with one of the the most severe being fetal alcohol syndrome. it’s possible that an adult who is engaging in these behaviors may not suffer from health conditions as a result, but the same may not be true for a fetus. Studies show that drug use, whether legal or illegal, can have a direct impact on the fetus. Whatever substances you use during your pregnancy, your fetus can feel the impact of these drugs. Some of the resulting conditions or complications can include the following:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Smaller-than-normal head size
  • Heart defects
  • Epilepsy
  • Distinctive features including small eyes, a short, upturned nose, deformities of joints, limbs and fingers, etc.
  • Infections including hepatitis C, HIV, and Zika (particularly if you partake in drug use that involves needles and contract one such infection)
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (drug withdrawal after birth)

Fetal alcohol syndrome, which can be thought of the blanket term, including all of these potential developmental issues, can cause brain damage along with the physical complications. The specific problems may differ from person to person, child to child, however, it is extremely important to note that complications from fetal alcohol syndrome are not reversible. Over the counter drug use should be limited during pregnancy, and individuals should avoid illicit drugs altogether. There is no known “safe” amount of alcohol to consume while being pregnant, so having any many put your future child at risk. If you are currently pregnant and can’t seem to stop drinking, or if you have a loved one who is pregnant, and it seems that they may be abusing substances while pregnant, it can be imperative to receive treatment as soon as possible. Tishanna Dillard, Marketing Operations Specialist

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, give us a call at the Top of the World Ranch in Milan, Illinois. Come join us at our beautiful ranch. Give us a call at (844) 814-8885 or email [email protected].