Sarah Kovac wrote a very interesting article for allparenting.com concerining Fetal Alcohol Syndrome entitled, Dads Can Also Cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. In it she writes,
“The researchers said the incidence of developmental abnormalities by alcohol use was ‘statistically significant,’” according to examiner.com. “They concluded that paternal alcohol exposure prior to conception causes developmental defects in the next generation. Transgenerational toxicity — a health effect that occurs when a pollutant or toxic substance passes from a parent to an offspring — caused by paternal alcohol exposure ‘is possibly mediated through alcohol-induced changes in sperm’ at the DNA level.”
I have been wondering about this for some time, what part the dad’s drinking has on the fetus. It has bothered me that all the focus is put on the mom, particularly in the case of young moms.
It is difficult for a young woman who is at the height of the partying drinking age to suddenly find herself unexpectedly pregnant. These women are either partnered with someone who is big in to the party scene, or their whole lives can centre around that as their only social activity. In addition you have very young women who, finding themselves pregnant, either leave home or are kicked out of home, to have their babies. These women are left to find housing and support from among the very group that is least likely to act responsibly of any other group.
It is tough to quit smoking, drinking and/or doing drugs at the best of the times. It is even tougher when everyone else around you is continuing with those practices. It becomes nearly impossible when your significant other is the person carrying on.
As soon as a baby is diagnose with FAS everyone points at the mother but there is often ample evidence that the person supplying the alcohol and creating situations for them to drink, is that significant other. Even if the science never backed up that the male’s drinking can have an influence, they are responsible in indirect ways that I do not think should be ignored.
The article goes on to say,
“Tom Donaldson of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) points out that dads have never been free of responsibility when it comes to FAS. “The father’s lifestyle and his support of the mother are always important prior to and during pregnancy because he can have a significant influence on the mother’s choices and her physical and behavioral health.”
Drinking during pregnancy is something we all have to address. Men need to be more responsible, friends and relatives need to be supportive of helping women to stop drinking, These children are too often abandoned to become society’s problems when their developmental delays become too big of a problem for the parents to handle. It makes much more sense to go at this preventably instead of trying to clean up the mess after the fact.