What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder? What are the Causes and Symptoms of FASD?

A recent study concluded that 1 out of 13 women who consume alcohol during pregnancy give birth to a child with fetal alcohol syndrome. Here are all the details you should know about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, their causes and symptoms.


There are certain diseases that we do not usually talk about leading to a lack of their awareness. One such disease is Fetal Alcohol syndrome. According to researchers, 8 in 1000 kids are born with fetal alcohol syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Here are some important things that you need to know about fetal alcohol syndrome. (ALSO SEE What is Sepsis? What are the Causes, Symptoms and Effects of Sepsis?)

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FASD is a group of medical conditions that occurs in a person as a result of his/her mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Due to this syndrome, a person may face issues like an abnormal appearance, short height, low body weight, small head size, and poor coordination. Other major health concerns include low intelligence, behavior problems, sight issues and problems with hearing. There are different types of FASDs including:

fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)

partial fetal alcohol syndrome

alcohol-related birth defects

alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder

neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure

Causes of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FASDs

As mentioned above FASD is caused by women drinking alcohol during pregnancy. This is because some of the alcohol they consume passes across the placenta to the fetus. While bodies of adults can process alcohol better, a fetus does not have the ability to process this concentrated alcohol. As a result, vital organs of the foetus are devoid of the required amount of nutrition and oxygen leading to disorders. Alcohol consumption in the first few weeks of pregnancy causes the damages to the fetus leading to FASDs. Several studies show that the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome is highest during the first three months of pregnancy. A recent study concluded that 1 out of 13 women who consumed alcohol at any stage of their pregnancy gave birth to a child with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Say No to alcohol during pregnancy
Say No to alcohol during pregnancy

Symptoms of FASDs

FASDs have several mild to severe symptoms including a small head, hyperactivity, lack of focus, poor coordination, below average height and weight, learning and intellectual disabilities, abnormal facial features, heart problems, kidney defects, deformed limbs or fingers, and mood swings. Usually, when a growing baby shows signs like abnormal physical features, hearing and vision issues and poor coordination, it could mean that he/she is suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. Most children diagnosed with FASD require lifelong care.

Simply put, FASDs are a range of physical and mental disorders caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The best way to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is for women to not consume alcohol during pregnancy.

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