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Kaylee Final PositionProposal Paper Preventing Pre-natal Alcohol Exposure A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that alcohol use by pregnant women can result in birth defects in unborn children When alcohol crosses the placenta it enters the fetal bloodstream in a concentration equal to the mothers bloodstream This alcohol is oxidized much more slowly than the alcohol in the mother because of the underdeveloped nature of the fetal liver During this time of slow detoxification the developing fetus is certain to be overexposed to the toxic effects of alcohol Tragically mental retardation frequently develops This exposure has additional disastrous consequences for the developing fetus Low birth weight facial abnormalities such as a small head and widely spaced eyes as well as heart problems are common occurrences in such infants Behavior and intellect are also influenced as a result of exposure to alcohol This combination of effects is called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Fetal Alcohol Effect is a subtle version of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome entailing a lesser degree of symptoms Dr Enoch Gordis publication for the Department of Health and Human Services Alcohol Research Promise for the Decade estimates 1 to 3 babies are born with FAS for every 1000 live births Among the population of known alcoholic mothers the rate of FAS increases substantially to a range of 23 to 29 FAS babies for every 1000 live births 51-52 In addition Gordis indicates it is likely that many cases go undetected Clearly the unborn child is a helpless victim who must be saved in order to h ave a fair chance to experience life unimpaired by the damaging effects of alcohol Furthermore women who have any reason to suspect they are pregnant should stop all alcohol consumption because of the critical growth and development that occurs during the first month of fetal life Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the most preventable cause of birth defects and mental retardation in children and adults
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