Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder


What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

Prenatal drug exposure can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. It is a disorder with three classifications – Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS, Fetal Alcohol Effects, and Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder. The most severe complication in the spectrum is FAS.


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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD manifests when a pregnant mother continues to consume a substantial amount of alcohol on a constant basis. It can also develop when a woman who’s pregnant continues to do drugs like cocaine, heroin, or even legal drugs like pain medicines. It is prevalent these days, and studies show that there are at least four babies born in the United States from drug-addicted mothers. 30-40% of those babies delivered, if they do not perish in the womb, the children grow up with behavioral or neurodevelopmental disorders. It is on top of the FASD effect list.

What are these behavioral or neurodevelopmental disorders? You can expect addicted babies to show signs of mental retardation, physical defects, facial deformities, mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, extreme stress, schizophrenia, and many others. The list goes on and on really. There is no one positive effect of alcohol or drugs in a pregnant woman.


More On Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

It is termed as the most severe illness classification because it bears the gravest effects on babies and growing kids if their mothers were addicts while pregnant with them. The condition is permanent, long-lasting, and you guessed it right, forever. It cannot be stressed enough. There is no turning back for a child with FAS, and the mother can only feel guilty when she sees her child suffer; that is if she is lucky enough to hold and take care of her child, being an addict and all.

If a child has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, it is highly likely that he or she will be exhibiting learning deficiencies, memory problems, severe focus issues, communication troubles, vision impairment, and hearing complications. When they get to schooling age, the children won’t be able to function well. They might as well have low IQ’s and will need special education. It is also possible that the children will fail subjects and lessons. This feature can also add to their mental health issues – feelings of worthlessness, or no success.


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Characteristics Of Kids With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

What is the worst that can happen to a baby inside the womb of an alcohol-addicted mother? The babies can die in-utero. They will have weird-looking facial structures, physical growth deficiencies, and illnesses related to their weak central nervous system. What else is there on the FAS characteristics list?


  • Thin, short, small-framed and physically weak babies and kids
  • Facial defects like small eyes or deformed mouths
  • Deficient hand-eye coordination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Learning disorders
  • Speech and communication delays
  • Low IQ
  • Daily life difficulties
  • Poor choices
  • Impaired decisions
  • Lack of logical judgment
  • Sleep disorders in children
  • Sucking problems


There are also psychiatric or psychological problems in kids with FAS. They may not be born with it, but the characteristics mentioned above are due to the fact that the children have the syndrome. They have acquired it unwillingly.


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Prevention Of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FAS is fully preventable. It is simple to avoid. If the mother stops drinking alcohol while pregnant, then, there will be no FAS to deal with when the child grows up.

Now, for those who are chemically dependent, stopping their addiction is a big issue. With this, the assistance of chemical dependency counselors and professionals is imperative. They will provide programs that can help pregnant mothers quit their alcohol addiction. When the habit curbs, the child, and mother are safe.