Cumberland Times-News

Latest news

March 25, 2012

Mother’s drug, alcohol use can hurt infants

Local parent association vice president speaks on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

2012 — CUMBERLAND — As the vice president of Allegany County’s Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, Shirley King has been seeing a rise in the number of infants affected by their mother’s drug or alcohol use.

“It’s scary,” said King. “The ones that really get hurt are kids. I had never seen it in Cumberland before.”

Studies have shown that consumption of illegal drugs during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruption, fetal death and even maternal death, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

King, who has adopted two children, knows what it’s like to raise infants whose mothers abused drugs or alcohol.

After working on the board of directors for social services, King and her husband decided to foster and adopt children.

“You just fall in love with the babies,” said King.

The Kings adopted two boys: an 8-year-old who was born to a drug-addicted mother and a 7-year-old who was born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

FASD is a group of conditions that can occur  when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy, with effects ranging from mild to severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

FASD can affect each person in different ways and can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. King’s 7-year-old son has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and speech problems, due to the fact the muscles in his mouth did not fully develop.

“With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome parts of the brain don’t develop or are shrunk,” said King. “My son’s had an MRI on his brain and everything is perfect.”

The Kings’ 8-year-old  required open heart surgery because his biological mother used drugs while she was pregnant.

“Alcohol can do more damage than drugs because it messes with the brain in many cases,” said King.

The Kings also fostered an infant girl, whose biological mother used drugs while pregnant. The girl had to have open heart as well as eye surgery. She also had to take medication and wear an oxygen mask, according to King.

The girl’s symptoms have since disappeared and after the Kings had her for eight months she was adopted by another family.

In addition to their two adopted children, the Kings have seven older children.

King was told that if a mother is an alcoholic and drinks in her first trimester it is likely that the infant will have FAS. If a woman stops taking illegal drugs during her first trimester, it increases the chances of having a healthy baby, according to the John Hopkins Health Library.

Drug-addicted babies tend to cry a lot, are uncomfortable and have diarrhea, according to King.

“You can tell something is not right inside. But as time goes by they can become a normal child. It takes awhile,” said King. “Infants just need a little medicine and need to be held and loved. The more you hold them the better it gets.”

The Allegany County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, which meets the first Thursday of the month, has had doctors and psychiatrists speak to the group about prenatal FAS and drug abuse.

More and more doctors in the county are becoming aware of infant addiction and the local hospital has done more to cater to these infants, according to King.

Help for addicted mothers and infants can be found at the CAP at the John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. CAP offers an innovative approach to help mothers and infants deal with the physical, emotional, and social problems caused by addiction, according to the John Hopkins medicine website.

For more information about CAP, see www.hopkinsmedicine.org.  

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Latest news
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years