Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – Strategies of reducing alcohol consumption during pregnancy

The effect of FAS is permanent and cannot be reversed. Therefore, proper prevention strategies should be developed and implemented to reduce occurrences of FAS in children (Gemma, Vichi and Testai 221-229). These include educating the public to increase their awareness about FAS; incorporating training and education in professional curricula and implementing routine screening of pregnant women for alcohol consumption.

Public awareness and education

Women should be encouraged to stop consuming alcohol. They need to seek psychiatric help in cases where trauma or depression triggered alcohol abuse; adopt healthier approaches to handling boredom such as volunteering or taking up sports activities; learn how to be assertive to avoid stress and work on their self esteem through counseling and self development. Hanson, Venturelli and Fleckenstein note that prevention of alcohol consumption will reduce dependence problems and reduce the risk of FAS during pregnancy. They propose constructive methods of handling stress, assertiveness in managing societal pressure, and education and career development to promote self confidence (488).  Further strategies for increasing public awareness about FAS include marking am official day for awareness about FAS, announcements through the mass media; putting warning labels on alcoholic drinks; restricting sale of alcohol to pregnant women and educating public through seminars and meetings (NOFAS 1).

Training professionals

Proper training of health providers about the cause, symptoms and impact of FAS is very important. These health professionals come into contact with pregnant women who may be exposing their unborn to FAS due to excessive alcohol consumption. With adequate knowledge and training in handling FAS, these health providers may provide support to pregnant women who want to abstain from alcohol. Also, the training will help the health providers identify FAS and set up appropriate programs that cater for FAS patients. Zoorob, Aliyu and Hayes agree that most pediatricians in the United States do not know about FAS and its symptoms. Because the pediatricians do not have this knowledge, they do not actively prevent FAS through alcohol abstinence programs. They recommend that FAS be incorporated in medical programs at graduate and pre-doctoral level. This way, residency directors are informed of the importance of knowing about FAS and will properly allocate resources to its teaching. The knowledge learned will assist health workers in promoting alcohol abstinence to pregnant women (379-385).

Health professionals should collaborate in preventing FAS through multidisciplinary teams. Individuals with FAS need dedicated medical care from physicians to geneticists and psychologists. The participation of all health professionals is important in managing and treating FAS. The multidisciplinary approach allows members to understand more about the syndrome and formulate appropriate FAS prevention strategies (Manning and Hoyme 230-238). Furthermore, government policies making FAS education mandatory when applying for a professional license should be implemented. That way, physicians applying for licenses are aware about NAS and will be prepared to handle such cases. Also, training on FAS should be mandatory for all social service professionals such as social workers. This will help them identify symptoms of NAS and enable them to take appropriate action (NOFAS 1).

Screening programs in prenatal clinics

Screening programs are effective in diagnosing risk of FAS in pregnant women. These programs ensure that FAS is identified and diagnosed early enough to be controlled. In agreement are Manning and Hoyme who point out the need for early recognition and diagnosis of FAS in pregnant women. They especially note that proper screening will provide health professionals determine the level of medical care suitable for children or adults with FAS. A diagnostic system is proposed to assist health professionals in identifying patients with high risk factors to FAS. Further, a complete medical examination and comprehensive medical history of pregnant women is needed to help health workers accurately diagnose FAS during pregnancy (230-238).

Screening should be performed at all prenatal clinics and should be monitored by hospital administration to ensure that the programs are followed. Zoorob, Aliyu and Hayes cite ignorance about FAS and lack of commitment by the health workers as reasons why screening programs are ineffective. They recommend that health workers should be trained on RAS so that commitment to screening programs is improved. In addition, health providers should hold regular discussions on FAS and the benefits of screen for alcohol in pregnancy (379-385). Preventive measures include giving drug education to pregnant teens at prenatal clinics; screening pregnancy on drug treatment centers should be encouraged; educating child abuse victims about FAS and having interventions for women who chronically abuse alcohol (NOFAS 1).

Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of maternal mortality. Therefore, interventions for maternal alcoholics should be encouraged. These interventions are not only for the prevention of FAS but also to reduce the mortality rates of the women (Berg, Lynch and Coles 603-610). Further, routine screening for pregnancy on women at substance abuse treatment centers should be carried. This will assist health providers in handling and managing cases of FAS as they arise. This is also a preventive measure to guard against maternal mortality and prenatal miscarriages. Go to conclusion here.

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