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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

The decisions a mom makes during her pregnancy don’t only affect her. They also directly affect her baby. This is why it is so important for moms-to-be to stay healthy and not drink alcohol.

If a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol can affect her unborn baby. This is very unsafe for the unborn child. It can cause a range of issues for the child, which are called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). These conditions can harm the baby’s mind and body. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause the baby to have:

  • Head and face defects.
  • Low body weight.
  • A longer time learning to speak.
  • Other learning difficulties.
  • Problems with remembering things.
  • Problems with paying attention.
  • Poor coordination.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills.
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys or bones.

There is 1 type of FASD called fetal alcohol syndrome. In some cases, this can be fatal for the baby. A baby with fetal alcohol syndrome may have:

  • Growth issues, causing shorter-than-average height.
  • Reduced muscle.
  • Problems with movement and coordination.
  • Problems with social skills and communication.
  • Heart defects.
  • A small head and abnormal facial features, including problems with the eyes, lips and jaw.

The effects of FASDs are permanent. There is no cure for these disorders. Since there is not a safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, abstaining from alcohol is the only way to prevent FASDs. Even small amounts can be harmful.

If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. Let him or her know if you feel you cannot stop drinking. You can also call PerformCare to find out which treatment is right for you.

Sources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, MedlinePlus