It's a global public health issue that's been getting more and more attention ever since it was given a name more than 40 years ago: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe of a variety of conditions that belong to a larger group of conditions known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). All of the disorders can occur in people whose mothers drank alcohol when they were pregnant. That's because the alcohol in the mother's blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. Physical, mental, behavioral and learning problems can develop from the exchange.
While fetal death can occur from drinking during pregnancy, most babies born with FAS experience some form of defect or disadvantage. Many may have smaller heads and brains. They may have abnormal facial features, have lower body weight and be short in stature when fully grown. Nervous system abnormalities can also occur with FAS. Other symptoms from the spectrum of disorders can include hyperactive behavior, poor memory, poor speech, hearing and vision problems, various learning disabilities, problems socializing and controlling emotions. Physical conditions effecting the heart, kidneys or bones may also occur.
There is no known cure for FASD but treatments including medicine and therapy can often be of benefit. In this country, alcohol related defects affect more babies every year than Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Spina Bifida, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome combined. As many as 12,000 babies are born with FAS each year in the United
States and another nearly 40,000 are born with other alcohol related
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are the only causes of birth defects that you can prevent. You know the answer- and it's a simple one: Don't drink alcohol during pregnancy. If you're pregnant and having issues with alcohol you can get help. Go to http://www.nofas.org/expectant-mother/