Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
In The US: 5,000-12,000 annually
Fetal Alcohol Abuse Syndrome
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
American Academy of Pediatrics
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of the leading causes of birth defects and is considered to be the most common cause of preventable mental retardation. FAS is characterized by a group of birth defects that result from a woman’s use of alcohol during pregnancy. The syndrome is present at birth, though it can be detected earlier. Children with FAS typically have characteristic facial abnormalities. They may have heart abnormalities, grow less quickly than other children and have problems with their central nervous systems resulting in mental retardation, hyperactivity, delayed development of both gross and fine motor skills, learning problems, and seizures. Other manifestations in the brain, especially the frontal lobe, can cause poor judgement, organization, and problem solving abilities, distractibility, and impulsiveness. These problems can in turn lead to behavioral issues in school and with the law, drug abuse, and difficulty living independently. There is also an increased likelihood of attention deficit disorder, conduct disorder, depression, and psychosis. Though people born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can live full, productive lives, the syndrome is 100% preventable and expecting mothers should always avoid alcohol when pregnant and nursing.