Fetus in the womb of the mother are chiefly dependent on the health of their mothers. The vitamins and minerals, or any matter taken by the mothers are likewise taken up by the babies. Their survival chiefly depends on the survival of their mothers. This is the reason why pregnancy is a very sensitive condition and a critical stage among women. Pregnant women are thus advised to comply with some health standards prescribed by their doctors. But the basic tenet among others is for them to keep and maintain a healthy lifestyle, considering that the health of their babies is determined by the nature of their lifestyle as well.
This paper treats of the concept of prenatal alcoholism, its impact on the development of the child particularly relating to cognitive, physical and emotional conditions of the child based on scientific studies conducted through longitudinal studies and the like. Definition of Terms Prenatal alcoholism is a state where pregnant women are constantly exposed to too much amount of alcohol. This is usually accompanied by the state of habituality. Too much alcohol which pregnant women may consume coupled with habituality is found to have damaging or detrimental effects upon fetus while inside the womb.
These effects are found to have long lasting effects during the growth and development of the children. Lorenz, et al (2000) pointed however, that even pregnant women are taking moderate amount of alcohol expose their children to a more or less damaging effects to their children in relation to those who are taking too much amount thereof. Impact a. Prenatal Alcoholism in relation cognitive condition Maternal exposure to alcoholism during pregnancy may lead to what is known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
In relation to cognitive condition, children with FAS are found to perform relatively fine in language activities but are found to be weak in arithmetic aspects. It has likewise been found that a great portion of children having FAS are mentally retarded or have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of “low average” to “average” in IQ examinations (Jacobson, 2003). This shows that children with low IQ or have low average IQ may not be able to easily learn from the activities and lessons taught upon them. The ability to comprehend is thus low. Performance in school is likewise found to have been poor among these children.
Thus, more focused learning is given to them before they could learn the basic concepts in comparison among their peers (Cudd, 2002). In the study conducted by Mayoc (2007), alcohol intake during pregnancy has indeed damaging effects in the development of the brain of the children particularly leading to mental retardation. Kerns, et al in Jacobson (2003) however pointed out that children with FAS show poor ability to memorize what is given them but do not show poor performance in retaining what has been previously learned. Thus, they are not totally incapable of learning.
Nonetheless, their performance is poor compared to those who are not exposed to prenatal alcoholism. Moreover, prenatal alcoholism is negatively correlated with cognitive flexibility (Jacobson, 2003). Cognitive flexibility is the ability of the child to shift from one task to another and/or the ability to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Children who are exposed to prenatal alcoholism are found to have poor cognitive flexibility. Thus, they usually take time to shift their attention to another task, and could less likely handle multiple tasks at a time.
In addition, O’Connor and Paley (2006) pointed out that early exposure to alcohol through maternal alcoholism during pregnancy the negative effects on learning and memory. Poor neuro developmental outcome is present among these children. Also, Jacobson (2003) noted that children with FAS are found to be poor in what is known as “sustained attention. ” Sustained attention pertains to the ability of the child to maintain focus in an activity amidst distractions. Poor sustained attention is thus a status whereby a child is unable to focus on one thing while exposed to different activities.
Performance in this case is thus low. This further implies that an effective output of such child requires performance of the task alone, without distractions. On the other hand, children who have FAS show low performance in planning. In an experiment conducted where children with FAS were subjected to the “Stepping Stone Maze” test and “Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices” test where complex planning is required, these children show poor performance (Jacobson, et al. , 2002). b. Prenatal Alcoholism in relation to physical condition
Fetal alcohol syndrome is found to have the following physical effects among children (Jacobson, 2003): 1. “short eyelid openings” 2. “flat midface” 3. “thin upper lip” 4. “flat or smooth groove between nose and upper lip. ” This has been affirmed in the study conducted by Coles, et al. (1991) who opined that indeed prenatal alcoholism is related with “physical retardation” and “persistent physical differences” compared to children who are not exposed at all alcoholism. For instance, head circumferences of children who are FAS are found to be smaller compared to those who are not.
These physical manifestations are thus different between children who are exposed to alcoholism during pregnancy in comparison to those who have been getting nutritious vitamins and minerals from their mothers. Simon et al. (2008) also noted that with respect to brain weight in relation to body weight, children exposed to alcohol are found to have lesser brain weight than those who are not. Thus, in terms of physical conditions, children whose mothers have been exposed to a large amount of alcohol during the period of pregnancy are relatively less healthy if not at all during the growing up years.
During this period, it should be noted that the only source of life of the fetus is the mother. Where the mother is unhealthy, and is not properly fed, the same would likewise work for the fetus inside. Thus, where the mother takes in more substances prejudicial to the health, the same is taken by the fetus. It should be noted moreover that during pregnancy, development of important body parts or organs begin. Thus, where no healthy vitamin and mineral intake is taken by the mother, the development of the child would totally be hampered. What is worse is that the same effects will have to last during the lifetime of the children.
c. Prenatal Alcoholism in relation to emotional/social condition Infants whose mothers have been exposed to excessive amount of alcohol during pregnancy are found to be irritable. They react negatively to stimulus and thus generate an unfavorable relationship with others. Moreover, the irritable attitude of these infants is found to be one of the causes of a lesser attachment between them and their parents particularly the mother. Mood swings, tantrums are oftentimes the game of the day and so lesser contact and harmonious relationship with the mothers.
In a two different tests conducted among children, children of mothers considered as under maternal alcoholism are found to be less “socially competent. ” Moreover, they exhibit aggressive tendencies and are less likely favored among classmates in schools and are thus more prone to petty trouble in schools (Jacobson, 2002). In comparison with children of normal pregnancy of their mothers, the latter are more outgoing, gregarious and exhibit friendly relations among peers and are thus the easy objects of friendship and favorable perception among other peers and adult members of society like their teachers (Jacobson, 2003).
In addition, these children are found to exhibit attitude of delinquency during the early stages of growth, also related to aggressive tendencies among them. They are more dominant and aggressive in their dealings with their peers and likely to cause trouble. On the other hand, Also, Cudd et al (2002) opined that children with fetal exposure to alcohol developed to be more anxious than children of normal development. They have more negative outlook in life and see the negative side of every story. They react negatively to social events and have a pessimistic attitude.
They are thus emotionally unstable, and are less likely to adapt to varying events in their lives. They viewed life experiences in a different way and take a different perception in interpreting them, thus leading to their being taken to different paths in their undertaking, such that they tend to violate the laws and are more likely to commit negative acts against other people they deal with. Sexual behavior is likewise negative. They exhibit negative sexual tendencies harmful among others, the reason why they are less likely liked among people of their group. Cudd, et al (2003) also opined that these children are more impulsive.
They always get what they want even if they are wrong. They take the other side of the story and stand by it despite social discrimination or negative social perception. They decide at once instance and do what they have decided without taking into account the consequences of their acts. Especially among children, tantrums is more likely their attitude should they not be able to get what they wanted. In relation to this, Jacobson (2002) noted in a study conducted by him that this negative attitude has a negative effect on the relationship and attachment behavior between the child and the mother.
Cudd, et al (2003) also pointed out that these children develop other variants of personality disorders as they reach higher age and are therefore less liked among peers. They tend to develop negative tendencies about life and toward other people. In sum, it should be pointed out that emotional condition of children exposed to prenatal alcoholism is unstable. Aggressive and impulsive tendencies are developed during the early stages of infancy or growing up years. Maternal attachment is affected in a way that children are less likely attached to their mothers because of the negative attitude towards them.
Moreover, grown up years is more damaging. These children develop aggressive tendencies more likely the cause of their breaking the laws. What is more, they tend to have bad sexual behaviors with their partners. Aggressive behaviors would likewise develop negative perception among their peers and as a result, they develop negative relationships with others, if not, cause trouble among people in their own group. Summary/Conclusion Maternal alcoholism during pregnancy is found to have adverse effects on their children, as to social, emotional, cognitive and even physical conditions.
What is worst among these children is that during their grown up years, attitude problems, personality problems and the like are exhibited as they communicate and deal with other people outside their families. As a result, troubles are likely caused, the reason at times they would be placed behind bars as they become violators of the law. Negative outlook in life is likewise prevalent among them. That is, life is viewed in a different way leading them to commit acts contrary to what is socially accepted or acceptable or even contrary to morals and justice.
In sum, these children develop negative attitude and personalities which are detrimental to their own selves and even to society. Bibliography Cudd, T and Chen, W. (2002). Fetal and Maternal Thyroid Hormone Responses to Ethanol Exposure during the Third Trimester Equivalent Gestation in Sheep: Alcoholism and Experimental Research. Jacobson, J and Jacobson, S. (2002). Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Child Development. Alcohol Research and Health, Vol. 26, No. 4. Jacobson, J and Jacobson, S. (2003).
Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Child Development. Alcohol Research and Health. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Simon, K, et al. (2008). The Effects of Binge Alcohol Exposure in the 2nd Trimester on The Estimated Density Of Cerebral Microvessels In Near-Term Fetal Sheep. Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington. O’Connor, M. and Paley, B. (2006). The Relationship of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Postnatal Environment to Child Depressive Symptoms University of California at Los Angeles.