Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Written by: John Dicey | Last updated: 07 Jan 2022

Reviewed by: Paul Baker

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is incredibly scary and when most expectant mothers read about it -it makes them think “I want to stop drinking” or reach out to someone to “help me quit drinking”.

This page is designed to help you and answer all your questions but in the first instance, click here if you simply want to know how to stop drinking. while pregnant.

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What is Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)?

Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) result from a baby’s exposure to alcohol within the womb and are the most common uninherited causes of intellectual disability.

Diagnosis is based on the presence of the following clinical features, all of which must be present:

  • prenatal and/or postnatal growth issues
  • facial abnormalities
  • central nervous system dysfunction
  • neurobehavioral disabilities.

FASD is a broader diagnosis that encompasses patients with FAS and others who are affected by prenatal alcohol exposure but do not meet the full criteria for FAS.

We all know that drinking alcohol when pregnant is not good for the baby but please don’t feel awful or ashamed if you’ve struggled to do so. The fact that you have reached out for help here means you are doing all you can to achieve a safe outcome for your baby and you should be congratulated for that.

The effects of foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) / FASD symptoms

The effects of foetal alcohol syndrome are many and varied.

“FASD Symptoms” or FAS Symptoms include:

  • a smaller than average head size
  • poor growth (smaller than average at birth, slower growth as they get older, and grow to be shorter than average as an adult)
  • distinctive facial features – known as “FASD face” or “FASD features”, such as small eyes, a thin upper lip, and a smooth area between the nose and upper lip, though these may become less noticeable with age
  • movement and balance problems
  • learning difficulties – such as problems with thinking, speech, social skills, timekeeping, maths or memory
  • issues with attention, concentration, or hyperactivity
  • problems with the liver, kidneys, heart or other organs
  • hearing and vision problems

Final Thoughts

The problems caused by FASD and FAS are permanent – although early diagnosis, treatment and support can help limit their impact on an affected child’s life. The most important thing for an expectant mother who has consumed alcohol during her pregnancy is to stop now. With the correct support and guidance it can be easy and rather than feel awful about previous consumption of alcohol while being pregnant you can feel great about having finally managed to stop. You can find out how to do it with ease with Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Drinking.

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