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fetal alcohol syndrome signsren with FAS are especially likely to develop problems with violence and substance abuse later in life if they are exposed to violence or abuse at home. These children do well with a regular routine, simple rules to follow, and rewards for positive behavior. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, some of that alcohol easily passes across the placenta to the fetus.


When a person drinks alcohol during pregnancy, it acts as a toxin and interferes with the normal growth and development of the brain and body of the developing infant. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome have facial features such as small eyes, a thin upper lip, and a smooth philtrum . The primary disabilities of FAS are the functional difficulties with which the child is born as a result of CNS damage due to prenatal alcohol exposure. There is some controversy surrounding the “zero-tolerance” approach taken by many countries when it comes to alcohol consumption during pregnancy. In addition, special care should be taken when considering statistics on this disease, as prevalence and causation is often linked with FASD, which is more common and causes less harm, as opposed to FAS.

Diagnosis and Tests

The “4-Digit Diagnostic Code” allows for mid-range gradations in growth deficiency and severe growth deficiency at or below the 3rd percentile. Growth deficiency contributes to diagnoses of FAS and pFAS, but not ARND or static encephalopathy. These conditions believed to be related to prenatal alcohol exposure, such as spontaneous abortion and sudden infant death syndrome , are also considered to be on the spectrum of related disorders.


Attention, short term memory, flexibility and planning, auditory memory , and spatial visualization all may be affected . These children may also have motor problems, including delayed motor development, impaired fine motor skills and difficulties with balance . The Intelligence Quotient in children with FAS is highly variable, ranging from 50 to 115. In the six-year-old offspring of mothers with ‘problem’ drinking during pregnancy, a mean decrease of seven IQ points was found . Streissguth et al found a similar decrease in IQ in six-year-old children who had been exposed to ‘binge’ drinking in utero. In a study by LaDue et al , adolescents and adults with FAS were found to have intellectual functioning in the mild to moderate range of impairment, with 46% scoring an IQ of less than 69.

What is fetal alcohol syndrome?

Their report in a French pediatric journal drew little attention. Focus on FAS only came after it was independently re-described in 1973 by K.L. Jones and colleagues from Seattle (U.S.) in eight children of mothers with chronic alcoholism. Their report in the British medical journal The Lancet triggered an avalanche of reports of FAS. Kerns KA, Don A, Mateer CA, Streissguth AP. Cognitive defects in nonretarded adults with fetal alcohol syndrome. Jones KL, Smith DW. Recognition of the fetal alcohol syndrome in early pregnancy.

Many don’t know they’re pregnant for the first few weeks of pregnancy . This is because it takes time for your body to build up enough hCG to be detected on a pregnancy test.