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Alcohol and the Fetus. Leslie McCrory, LPC, LCAS, CCS leslie.mccrory@msj.org 828-213-0035. FASD not a diagnostic term. Umbrella term including: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

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Alcohol and the fetus l.jpg

Alcohol and the Fetus

Leslie McCrory, LPC, LCAS, CCS

leslie.mccrory@msj.org

828-213-0035


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FASDnot a diagnostic term

  • Umbrella term including:

    • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

    • Alcohol – related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND) –neurological abnormalities ie: problems with memory and motor skills

    • Alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD) in the skeletal and major organ systems


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Teratogens

  • Substances that can damage a developing fetus

  • Alcohol is a teratogen which is harmful to the developing fetus


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Alcohol as a Teratogen

  • When a mother drinks, so does the developing fetus

  • Alcohol passes easily through the placenta from the mother’s blood stream into baby’s blood system

  • Carbon monoxide from cigarettes passes easily through the placenta, as well.

  • Equal to or greater than BAC of mother


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FASD

  • Physical, mental, behavioral, and learning disabilities

  • 40,000 born each year with FASD

  • $6 billion dollars annually


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How damage?

  • Virtually every part of the body – brain, face, eyes, heart, kidneys, and bones

  • Alcohol can trigger cell death in a number of ways causing different parts of the fetus to develop abnormally

  • Alcohol can disrupt the way nerve cells develop, travel to form different parts of the brain, and function


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How damage?

  • By constricting the blood vessels, alcohol interferes with blood flow in the placenta, which hinders the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus

  • Toxic by-products of alcohol metabolism may become concentrated in the brain and contribute to the development of an FASD


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Drinking alcohol

  • Drinking any time during the pregnancy can harm the fetus

    • Cognitively

    • Socially

    • Motor deficiencies

    • Other life long problems

    • Attention deficits

    • Poor impulse control, language, memory


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Fetal Brain

  • Develops throughout the pregnancy

  • Exposure to alcohol can cause brain damage to the fetus

  • MRI shows some exposed to alcohol may also have smaller brains or some parts may not have developed, are damaged or missing parts of brain


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Drinking alcohol while pregnant

  • Damaged or missing basal ganglia

  • Cerebellum

  • Corpus callosum

  • And others


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Fetal Development

  • CNS – week 3 to full term

  • Eyes – 4 ½ to full term

  • Ears - 4 ½ to 20

  • Teeth – 6 ¾ to full term

  • Palate – 6 ¾ to 16

  • Heart – 3 1/2 to 9

  • External genitalia – 7 to full term

  • Upper limbs – 4 1/2 to 9


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Resources

  • SAMHSA – www.fasdcenter.samhsa.gov

    Or call 866-STOPFAS (786–7327)