Fetal Alcohol syndrome


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fetal alcohol syndrome


  • Poor growth while the baby is in the womb and after birth

  • Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination

  • Delayed development and problems in three or more major areas: thinking, speech, movement, or social skills

  • Heart defects such as ventricular septal defect (VSD) or atrial septal defect (ASD)

  • Problems with the face, including:

    • Narrow, small eyes with large epicanthal folds

    • Small head

    • Small upper jaw

    • Smooth groove in upper lip

    • Smooth and thin upper lip

  • Complications

    • Abnormal heart structure
    • Behavior problems
    • Infant death
    • Intellectual disability
    • Problems in the structure of the head, eyes, nose, or mouth
    • Poor growth before birth
    • Slow growth and poor coordination after birth

    Causes, Risk Factors

    Using or abusing alcohol during pregnancy can cause the same risks as using alcohol in general. However, it poses extra risks to the unborn baby. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it easily passes across the placenta to the fetus. Because of this, drinking alcohol can harm the baby's development.

    A pregnant woman who drinks any amount of alcohol is at risk for having a child with fetal alcohol syndrome. No "safe" level of alcohol use during pregnancy has been established. Larger amounts of alcohol appear to increase the problems. Binge drinking is more harmful than drinking small amounts of alcohol.

    Timing of alcohol use during pregnancy is also important. Alcohol use appears to be the most harmful during the first 3 months of pregnancy; however, drinking alcohol any time during pregnancy can be harmful.

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