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4 Facts About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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4 Facts About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of a range of disorders, related to alcohol affecting fetal development. Learn about at the causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of several conditions, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), that cause a wide range of different physical, behavioral, and learning symptoms.

It can be difficult to determine the exact prevalence of FASDs, but according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “experts estimate that the full range of FASDs in the United States and some Western European countries might number as high as 2 to 5 per 100 school children (or 2% to 5 % of the population).”

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are caused by alcohol use during pregnancy; however, the relationship between alcohol, pregnancy, and FASDs is complicated, with researchers unsure about the exact number of drinks needed to cause the disorder.

Fast facts on fetal alcohol syndrome

Here are some key points about fetal alcohol syndrome. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • The FASD spectrum includes several different conditions, each with different signs and symptoms.
  • Not drinking any alcohol during the entire pregnancy is the best way to prevent the development of FASDs.
  • Symptoms are physical, neurological, and behavioral.
  • There is no cure for fetal alcohol syndrome.

What causes fetal alcohol syndrome?

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it passes to the baby through blood flow in the umbilical cord and placenta. Alcohol can cause problems even before a woman knows that she is pregnant. Because a developing baby is much smaller than an adult woman, a baby metabolizes the alcohol much more slowly. The presence of alcohol in baby’s blood can interfere with oxygen and nutrient delivery to the body tissues and can harm their development.

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