By: Anntoinette Knight
When it comes to consuming an alcoholic beverage while you
are pregnant, I feel that the mother is taking her own wants and
needs into account with out thinking about the child that she
bears. Through out this course I learned that “Alcoholism is a
chronic progressive and potentially fatal disease.” (Berns pg
253)So if Alcoholism is a disease is the mother the problem or
the people that’s keeping it on the shelves? Drinking alcohol
during pregnancy can cause a variety of physical and mental
birth defects. Women are having children younger and younger
these days. Some do not have the proper support or knowledge
to bear the babies that they are having and they are the first
ones to take that trip to the liquor store because they have not
been taught to deal with their emotions or daily life. Women
who are pregnant or might get pregnant should abstain
from using alcohol.
I choose to address the problem because many unborn babies
and infants are loosing their lives every day to Fetal Alcohol
syndrome. There needs to be a law that prevents mothers from
consuming alcohol beverages at the time that they find out they
have conceived. There is no law that stops women from
consuming alcoholic beverages during pregnancy and that
needs to change. Although many women are aware that heavy
drinking during pregnancy can cause many birth defects, they
do not realize that moderate or even light drinking can also
harm the fetus.
This problem affects me in so many ways. My heart goes out to
all the children who are victims to a mother who chose to put
her wants first. I grew up in a community where I seen women
have miscarriages every year because they could not put the
drink down. The children that survived was born with physical
birth defects, down syndrome and other various types of
mental disabilities. I became curious as to what would make a
women do this to her unborn child. I have four children and all
of them was born healthy. I could not imagine if I did not give
them a chance at life. Women need to know that “Any small
amount of liquor taken on only rare days in pregnancy should
be below threshold in any pregnancy—but it is likely that it
will never be possible to guarantee an absolutely safe low dose
of alcohol for any period of pregnancy for a specific
individual.” (Clarren pg 153)
I try not to be judgmental but when I find out that most babies
who are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASDs) exhibit the
conditions listed; It affects me in a major way.
 Poor coordination
 Emotional/mental disability
 Short attention span
 Deformities of the fingers, joints, and the limbs
 Physical disabilities
 Poor muscle tone
 Behavioral problems
 Intellectual disabilities
(Center for disease control and prevention)
I find it hard not to feel some type of sympathy for that child.
I believe that this problem will have a major affect on
families and the community. Children whom are born with
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder , Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
or Attention Deficiency Hyperactive Disorder show not
only physical effects of their disease are present but the
mental part carries the same weight. When a child walks
down the street and they have the features of a child with a
disability, another child is going to recognize that the child
is different immediately. Children are judgmental and cruel
by nature. I know many four year old children who are not
afraid to express them selves and they will clearly say
another child is fat or ask the question; why does that girl
talk like that?
Women who put their fetus at risk do not understand the
long-term effects that drinking while pregnant has on the
fetus. Children With FAS exhibit behavior problems in
school. More than a third of children with the syndrome
develop drug and alcohol problems by adolescence and the
young adult years. As children with FAS get older, they have
high rates of psychological problems. Many have anger
control problems and may be violent. They are at high risk
for getting into trouble with the law. Below are some
photos of children who possess the characteristics of FAS.
Children with FAS all share some of the
same characteristics
Epicanthal Folds
Small Head
Flat midface
Underdeveloped jaw
Small eye openings
Flat Nasal Bridge
Railroad track ears
Unturned nose
Smooth philtrum
Thin upper lip
Brain Size of
Comparison of
Brain of Infant
Exposed to
Alcohol (left) and
Normal Infant
Brain (right)
 I would like you to watch this video of an “Ultrasound Fetal
Response To Alcohol Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.” Beware, this
video will really touch your heart.
 Doctors have warned that consuming even small amounts of
alcohol while pregnant can affect their child’s mental
development. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption
during pregnancy. Even moderate consumption of alcohol has a
serious effect on the babies central nervous system.
I would also like you to watch this video “ Pregnant Women
Drinking At The Bar.” This women should be arrested. Look at
how many people think that this behavior is ok. Is there any one
at the bar that cares for the unborn child?
 “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome & Spectrum Disorders/ FAS FASD
Video” =related
 Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of the leading causes of mental
retardation in the US. FAS is an irreversible, lifelong condition
that affects every aspect of a child's life and the lives of the child's
family. (March Of Dimes)
 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder’s (FASD’s) is a major case
because it consist of a group of conditions that can occur in a
person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These
effects can include physical problems and problems with
behavior and learning. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix
of near fatal conditions such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other
conditions. (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention)
 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has
conducted studies that have shown 0.2 to 1.5 cases of fetal
alcohol syndrome (FAS) occur for every 1,000 live births
in certain areas of the United States. Other studies using
different methods have estimated the rate of FAS at 0.5 to
2.0 cases per 1,000 live births. The United States has the
highest rate of FAS while Japan has the lowest. Though it
is hard to find out exactly how many women are
consuming alcoholic beverages while pregnant but when
know how many children are born with the
disease.(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
 Another case of drinking while pregnant (a mothers poor
choice of behavior) associated with FAS would be ADHD
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
 I believe that the most significant case would be Fetal
Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
 I believe that fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition that
consists of very serious severe effects including fetal death. A
national survey found that more than half of women age 15-44
drank while pregnant. The women who reported drinking
during their pregnancy, 66% reported drinking in their first
trimester; 54% reported drinking in their third trimester. (G Ian
Gallicano et al) FAS is estimated to occur in 1 to 2 live births
per every 1,000 in the United States every year According to
the birth defects monitoring program, FAS rates among
American Indians are 3.0 per 1000 live births compared to a
rate of 0.6 per 1000 live births among Blacks and 0.1 per 1000
live births among Whites. (Fact Sheet) FAS is not just a
childhood disorder; exposure to alcohol as a fetus can cause a
wide range of life long physical and mental disabilities.
Fetal alcohol exposure may increase the risk for later alcohol,
tobacco, and drug dependence in adults. Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome is so significant; a child's chance of survival ends
before it begins. I really think that is a sad fact and we need to
inform young women to take precautions so that they can have
a healthy baby. I have learned through out this project that
“there is no cure for FAS, but children who are diagnosed early
and receive appropriate physical and educational interventions,
especially those in a stable and nurturing home, are more likely
to have better outcomes than those who are not.” (Zieman.
2010.1) To have a healthy baby, mom needs to be healthy and
as toxic free as possible.
 I feel that this starts with the women that is bearing the child.
Women need to be held responsible for fixing the problem.
They need to be held responsible for the things that they put
into their bodies at their own free will. Next I feel like some
responsibility should fall on the doctor that is performing the
prenatal care for that women. When a women goes in for her
first initial prenatal appointment, one of the first procedures is
to take blood and urine. If a women child is born with FAS, the
people with first contact should be responsible for fixing the
1. Public health strategy’s have been used for reducing FAS:
Public health messages that target alcohol abuse and higher taxes on
alcoholic beverages. (Clarren)
2. Public law 100-690 was implemented in 1989, requiring warning labels on
all alcoholic beverages sold in the United States. As of 1998 only 19 states
require the posting of alcohol health warning signs where alcoholic
beverages are sold.
(Zieman. 2010.1)
3. The CDC works with different organizations across the country to develop
systems to monitor FASD exposures and outcomes, conduct epidemiologic
studies and public health research to identify maternal risk factors
associated with giving birth to a child with an FASD, and implement and
evaluate FASD prevention and intervention programs.
1. I do not believe that Public Health strategies are working. I do not believe
that taxing alcohol is going to make a difference because all people do is
find other ways to buy the alcohol that they want. The money is going to
always be available. If I was pregnant I could walk into the store right now
and buy a beer with no questions asked just because I had the money.
Higher taxes are not going to stop me from getting what I want; It is just
going to make me go and try to make more money.
2. I do believe that this law helped somewhat. It actually required
manufactures to post labels onto their alcoholic beverages. I wonder just
how much it helped though. The Center For Science in Public Interest states
that “Only 19 states are required to post surgeon generals warning on their
labels.” The last time I checked a map there was 50 states in the united
states. That means that a lot of women are missing the information.
3. The Alcoholic Policies Project has found that In 1995, four times as many
pregnant women frequently consumed alcohol as in 1991. A national survey
found that more than half of women age 15-44 drank while pregnant. This is
a big problem and I feel that the people whom are responsible are not taking
the necessary precautions to have a healthy baby. So I do not believe this
solution is working. Statistics can say one thing and people will do another.
Women need to be prosecuted for the actions that they take.
My recommendation for fixing the problem would be to first
inform the public. If more women was informed about the
negative affects that consuming alcoholic beverages has during
pregnancy I believe that they would make better choices.
Sometimes when people do not understand the fine print on the
bottle than you have to give them a visual. That is why I
provide the illustration “This is what your fetus is doing while
you are enjoying your drink.” I would also make more
visual/audio public announcements for the women that do not
understand the text. At this time there is no law that says that
women can not consume alcoholic beverages while pregnant.
Strict laws should be made and put into effect. If women do not
want to comply and have a safe and healthy baby then they
should be prosecuted.
It is all left up to each individuals free will. I believe that
new laws need to be made and taken into effect. I also
believe that when women find out that they are pregnant,
or if they plan to conceive, it should be mandatory to take
drug and alcohol preventative classes on top of their
prenatal treatments. Women with a history of having
children with FAS should be prosecuted . They need to
know that they are not only destroying the fetus but if the
child does have a chance at survival than he/she will have
developmental and physical disabilities. I believe that
stands hand and hand with attempted murder.
Consumption of alcoholic
beverages during pregnancy is
prohibited by law. It causes
different cases of birth defects like:
Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome, Attention Deficient
Hyperactive Disorder and it is
linked to many cases of mental
retardation in early childhood.
Illustrations should be attached to
all alcoholic beverage labels in all
50 states.
First the responsibility has to fall on the person that is
bearing the child. Women should be held accountable for
the actions that they take while they are pregnant. Their
should be laws established and enforced to make sure that
women do not consume alcoholic beverages while
pregnant. I also believe that Doctors, hospitals staff, and
courts should be responsible. When a women goes to
have her baby the first contact that she has upon delivery
would be the hospital staff. The nursing staff and doctors
are there to assist the mother and the child. If the infant is
at risk than the hospital staff need to do what it takes to
insure that the child is not in any harms way.
I believe that these individuals will be willing to
implement these solutions. A lot more women today want
to have healthier babies and they want to be good mothers
to their child. Doctors and hospital staff do not want the
pressure and the legal battles that come along with the
Department of Social Services getting involved. If they do
not report the necessary information than their license will
be in jeopardy and law enforcement gets involved.
The resources are available for the women whom seek them. One way
to get to the solution is to have the person admit that they have a
problem. There is a tool called the CAGE questionnaire. It is a tool for
initiating the diagnosis of alcoholism. (The Gale Encyclopedia of
Medicine) I believe that this should be used at all prenatal
appointments to prevent any complications.
It is a fact that The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration´s (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence is offering
funding for programs designed to address fetal alcohol spectrum
disorder (FASD) Funded programs should be designed to decrease the
incidence of FASD by implementing evidence-based programs to
eliminate alcohol consumption by pregnant women, or improve the
functioning and quality of life of people with FASD and their families
through proper diagnosis and intervention. (Grants Available)
The problems that I foresee in the implementation of
the solutions are that; women will be to lazy to get out
and get the necessary help that they need. Many
people will follow their addiction before they assume
that they have a problem. That is a big problem
because to know that you need help you have to first
admit that you have a problem. If women get the
treatment that they need then there will be more
healthy babies produced in the world.
Berns, R. (2007, 2010). “Child, Family, School, Community: Socialization
and Support.” Eighth Edition. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Sterling K. Clarren, M.D. “Drinking In Pregnancy: A Recommendation For
Complete Abstinence”
Academic Journals
Gayle Zieman. 2010.1, “Fetal alcohol problems.” Clinical
Systems 2010.1 (Feb 1, 2010)
G Ian Gallicano “Alcohol and its effect on fetal development: what do we
know?” Pediatric Health (Oct 2010): p459
C. R. C. M. S. Bill Asenjo, Teresa G. Odle, A. M. Tish
Davidson and Jacqueline L. Longe. March 1, 2009. (3426 words) ”
Alcoholism, (Disease/Disorder overview)” The Gale Encyclopedia
of Medicine
Internet Resources
Center for disease control and prevention “Fetal Alcohol
Disorders (FASDs)”
Center For Science In the Public Interest “Alcohol Policies Project:
Advocacy for the Prevention of Alcohol Problems” (Fact sheet)
March Of Dimes “Alcohol and Drugs: Drinking alcohol during
CADCA “Grants Available for Programs to Prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum
Rosary films

Pregnant Women Drinking At The Bar.