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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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by Wood D

(Alcohol in Pregnancy; Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy; FAS)



Birth and developmental defects depend on when the fetus was exposed to alcohol and how much alcohol was consumed.
Babies with FAS may have the following physical symptoms:
  • Low birth weight
  • Small size and delayed growth
  • Small head
  • Small eyes
  • Short, flat nose
  • Flat cheeks
  • Small jaws
  • Unusually shaped ears
  • Thin upper lip
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Sight and hearing problems
  • Heart defects
  • Small, abnormally formed brain
  • Vision problems
  • Ear infections
As the infant grows, other symptoms may develop, including:
Children do not outgrow these effects. Teens and adults often experience social and emotional problems. They may develop secondary conditions, which include:
  • Problems at school
  • Inability to hold a job
  • Trouble living independently
  • Mental health problems
  • Alcohol or drug dependence
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Difficulty controlling anger
  • Legal problems


Efforts to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome are important.


National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome



Alcoholics Anonymous of Canada

Women's Health Matters



Chaudhuri JD. Alcohol and the developing fetus—a review. Med Sci Monit . 2000;6:1031-1041.

Drinking and your pregnancy. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Available at: . Published 2006. Accessed July 26, 2013.

Fetal alcohol syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated December 12, 2012. Accessed July 26, 2013.

Nayak RB, Murthy P. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Indian Pediatr. 2008;45(12):977-983.

Prenatal exposure to alcohol [review]. Alcohol Res Health . 2000;24:32-41.

Thackray H, Tifft C. Fetal alcohol syndrome. Pediatr Rev . 2001;22:47-55.

Treatment and support. National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome website. Available at: .


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