Effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Baby with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; an overview of (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). FAS and FASD are a 100% preventable diseases.

I think it is better to have professionals describe the disorders. Please read on.






Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Fetal alcohol syndrome is growth, mental, and physical problems that may occur in a baby when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy.


Using alcohol during pregnancy can cause the same risks as using alcohol in general. But it poses extra risks to the unborn baby. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it easily passes across the placenta to the fetus. Because of this, drinking alcohol can harm the baby’s development.

A pregnant woman who drinks any amount of alcohol is at risk for having a child with fetal alcohol syndrome. There is no “safe” level of alcohol use during pregnancy. Larger amounts of alcohol appear to increase the problems. Binge drinking is more harmful than drinking small amounts of alcohol.

Timing of alcohol use during pregnancy is also important. Drinking alcohol is likely most harmful during the first 3 months of pregnancy. But drinking alcohol any time during pregnancy can be harmful.


A baby with fetal alcohol syndrome may have the following symptoms:

Poor growth while the baby is in the womb and after birth

Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination

Delayed development and problems in three or more major areas: thinking, speech, movement, or social skills

Heart defects such as ventricular septal defect (VSD) or atrial septal defect (ASD)

Problems with the face, including narrow and small eyes with large epicanthal folds, small head, small upper jaw, smooth groove in upper lip, and smooth and thin upper lip

Exams and Tests

A physical exam of the baby may show a heart murmur or other heart problems. As the baby grows, there may be signs of delayed mental development. There also may be problems with the face and bones.

Tests include:

Blood alcohol level in pregnant women who show signs of being drunk (intoxicated)

Brain imaging studies (CT or MRI) after the child is born

Pregnancy ultrasound


Women who are pregnant or who are trying to get pregnant should not drink any amount of alcohol. Pregnant women with alcohol use disorder should join a rehabilitation program and be checked closely by a health care provider throughout pregnancy.
Above: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000911.htm


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FAS Statistics

1. Women between the age of 15-44 report at the rate of 1 in 20 of binge drinking (15-44 is considered child bearing age.
2. 1 in 9 women report binge drinking in the first trimester of pregnancy.
3. 1 in 5 women report drinking during their first trimester.
4. Between .05-2 per 1000 live births are children born with FAS.
5. 40,000 children born each year (it is estimated) have FAS it may be as many as 80,000 with half going undiagnosed.
6. It is estimated that a child born with FAS will cost $2 million over their lifetime between treatment and disability.
7. The cost to the nation is about $6 Billion per year.
Above from: http://healthresearchfunding.org/fetal-alcohol-syndrome-facts-statistics/

FAS broadly refers to a spectrum of disorders more precisely called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

FASD Signs and Symptoms

FASDs refer to the whole range of effects that can happen to a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These conditions can affect each person in different ways, and can range from mild to severe.

A person with an FASD might have:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones

Types of FASDs

Different terms are used to describe FASDs, depending on the type of symptoms.

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): FAS represents the severe end of the FASD spectrum. Fetal death is the most extreme outcome from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. People with FAS might have abnormal facial features, growth problems, and central nervous system (CNS) problems. People with FAS can have problems with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, or hearing. They might have a mix of these problems. People with FAS often have a hard time in school and trouble getting along with others.
  • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND): People with ARND might have intellectual disabilities and problems with behavior and learning. They might do poorly in school and have difficulties with math, memory, attention, judgment, and poor impulse control.
  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD): People with ARBD might have problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones or with hearing. They might have a mix of these.
    Above from: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/facts.html


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is 100 percent preventable.  That means FASD need never occur again.

This is a snapshot of the front of a 42 slide Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and/or PDF.  PDFs can be viewed on any computer, so not having PowerPoint won’t exclude you from accessing the presentation.  Clicking on the image will cause a new page to open and that page has the download links. You will not be subjected to advertising, the download is free.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


This information is good for anyone who works with developing children, for anyone who knows a child with FASD, for anyone else who wants to prevent FASD, and many others.

If you drink and are planning on getting pregnant this is a must see for you.  Forty two slides on fetal alcohol syndrome (FASD) is not too much information.  In fact it is just the right amount to help you do what is necessary to prevent this disease.  FASD is 100 percent preventable.  If you believe yourself unable to quit drinking try this phone number for them.  They can help you find the resources to have an alcohol free pregnancy.

1-800-STOPFAS (787-7327)

Here is another resource from Do2Learn.  This is probably for professionals but it could be useful to anyone. I found this link on the NIAAA website.  Click the image to go to the site. I won’t try and explain.  I think the image does a better job of it than I can.


I am a man so I cannot get pregnant but it is terrifying to me that people like me (alcoholics) would have an excuse that would allow them to put their child’s, or anyone’s, for that matter, health and well being in jeopardy.  It isn’t like forgetting to put a jacket on a kid and they get a cold, FASD persists until that person dies.  It’s monstrous.

Seems odd that I would say that, I have put peoples well being in danger every time I drove a vehicle while intoxicated.  But this, it is somehow much worse to me.  Again, I don’t have children and am a male so I cannot have them.


Give up alcohol by yourself
What to do when you relapse