What Are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, behavioral, mental, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. FASD can include Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (PFAS), Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) and Central Nervous System (CNS) problems.
Why shouldn't I drink alcohol while I'm pregnant?
- Of all substances of abuse, alcohol causes the most serious long-term effects in a fetus, resulting in permanent brain damage.
- FAS is the leading known cause of intellectual disabilities in western civilization and is 100% preventable.
- Fewer than 10% of individuals with FAS are able to take care of themselves and live on their own, regardless of their IQ.
How much alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy?
There is no known safe amount of alcohol or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. If you are drinking alcohol, don't get pregnant.
What are some of the signs of FASD?
Only trained professionals can diagnose FASD. Most individuals with FASD are never diagnosed. This often happens with children who exhibit only the behavioral and emotional problems related to FASD, but do not display any signs of developmental delay or physical growth deficiencies. Problems related to pre-natal alcohol exposure can include language and motor delays, cognitive delays including intellectual disabilities, facial abnormalities, heart defects, and vision and hearing problems. Infants as young as six months can demonstrate difficulty integrating sensory stimuli and difficulty being comforted. Behavior problems, often severe, can present as young as twelve months of age.
Is FASD curable?
FASD is a lifelong disability, there is no cure and no one can recover. The brain damage to an unborn baby that is caused when a mother drinks is permanent. However, FASD can be prevented -- if a woman does not drink while she is pregnant.
Why is diagnosis important?
Problems associated with FASD tend to intensify as children move into adulthood. These can include mental health problems, troubles with the law and the inability to live independently. The younger the child is diagnosed and appropriate interventions and services are initiated for the child/family, the higher the probability they will live independently and function well in society. Early diagnosis and intervention contribute to positive long-term outcomes that can lead to a more productive life.
If I have been diagnosed with FASD, is there a chance my child will have it as well?
FASD cannot be inherited and is 100% preventable. If women abstain from alcohol while pregnant, there is no chance their children will have FASD.
What should I do if I suspect my child, or a child in my care, has FASD?
If you think a child may have a disorder related to prenatal alcohol exposure, contact The Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic and Intervention Clinic. The Clinic can provide you with information on diagnostic evaluation and intervention services available in your area. The number to call is 1-800-587-1385.
What are FASDs?
How are FASDs caused?
How common are FASDs?
How are FASDs diagnosed?
Can FASDs be cured?
Can a father's drinking cause an FASD?
Can an FASD be passed along through breast milk?
What costs are associated with FASDs?
What are the main concerns for parents and family of a child with an FASD?