The Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
The Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

ND-PAE and ARND are overlapping and similar but with a major difference. ND-PAE can be present with or without dysmorphic features whereas ARND is without the presence of full cardinal dysmorphic facial features found in individuals with FAS. Some research suggests that a pregnant person’s environment symptoms of fas may also play a role. Living in stressful, isolated, or adverse conditions may increase the chance of FAS. The frequency, strength, and quantity of alcoholic drinks have an effect, as well as the timing of consumption. Drinking alcohol late in a pregnancy increases the likelihood of FAS.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Effects in Children and Adults - Verywell Health

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Effects in Children and Adults.

Posted: Tue, 01 Aug 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

There is no safe amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy. Even a small amount of alcohol can have adverse effects on a growing fetus. Alcohol seems most damaging in the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy but can affect the fetus at any time during the pregnancy. Unfortunately, people with FAS are more likely to experience legal troubles, have secondary mental health diagnoses, and have higher rates of suicide. People with FAS have better outcomes if they experience a supportive and loving environment during childhood. Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading preventable cause of congenital (present at birth) conditions in the United States.

Symptoms and Causes

Using the information that is available, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other scientists estimate less than 2 cases of FASD in every 1,000 live births in the United States. When researchers look at the whole spectrum of disorders (FASD), the frequency may be as high as 1 to 5 out of every 100 kids in the U.S. and Western Europe. If you're pregnant and struggling with an alcohol problem, talk to a midwife or doctor.

  • The Outpatient Psychiatry Service at Boston Children's Hospital works with children and adolescents to determine if psychoactive medication would be an effective tool in their psychiatric treatment.
  • The beginning of fetal development is the most important for the whole body, but organs like the brain continue to develop throughout pregnancy.
  • To diagnose fetal alcohol syndrome, doctors look for unusual facial features, lower-than-average height and weight, small head size, problems with attention and hyperactivity, and poor coordination.
  • It is the most common known non-genetic (in other words, non-inherited) cause of mental retardation in the United States.

FAS, which comes with subtle facial characteristics, is a subgroup—although not necessarily a more severe diagnosis—of the all-encompassing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol but her child does not have the full, it is possible that her child may be born with alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorders (ARND). Children with ARND do not have full FAS but may demonstrate learning and behavioral problems caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Children with alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD) can have problems with their heart, kidneys, bones, or hearing. Clinicians should be fully aware that fetal alcohol syndrome is preventable. In many cases, prenatal alcohol exposure is unintentional because women continue their normal drinking patterns before they know they are pregnant.


Signs and symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome may include any mix of physical defects, intellectual or cognitive disabilities, and problems functioning and coping with daily life. The CDC explains that there’s no safe time to consume alcohol during pregnancy. Exposure in the first 3 months may cause physical abnormalities, such as those affecting facial features.

If you're pregnant and want to stop drinking, visit Alcoholics Anonymous, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator. Infants born with ARBD typically have defects of the heart, kidneys or bones, or all of the above. Most people with an FASD have most often been misdiagnosed with ADHD due to the large overlap between their behavioral deficits.

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