What is FASD?

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause irreversible damage to an unborn baby.  If a baby is prenatally exposed to alcohol, they are at risk for having Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).  FASD is not a diagnosis, but is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. There are many terms under the FASD umbrella, including these medical diagnoses:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • Alcohol Related Neuro-developmental Disorders (ARND)
  • Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
  • Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS)

FASD is a lifetime disability that affects each child differently.  Some children with an FASD have specific facial features and tend to be smaller in height and weight. They often have brain injury that never goes away. This means both the child’s thought process and behaviors may be very different than a child who was not prenatally exposed to alcohol. The brain damage is the most challenging part of this disability.

Find support for and learn more about FASD in your family, as an expectant woman, or as a professional.

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