Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are caused by the effects of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most clinically recognizable form of FASD andis characterized by a pattern of minor facial anomalies, prenatal and postnatal growth retardation, and functional or structural central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities.
The consequences arelifelong, and the behavioral and learning difficulties are often greater than the degree of neurocognitive impairment. Alcohol related neuro developmental disorder also is a clinically recognizablediagnosis in the continuum of FASD and describes the clinical outcome when the facial features typical of FAS are absent.
FASD is nonhereditary; alcohol causes neuronal damage and cell loss in the fetalbrain through direct action as a toxin. No prenatal period has been shown to be safe from the deleterious effects of alcohol. CNS damage may result from alcohol exposure in any trimester, even before thetime of a pregnancy test. Women should be advised not to drink from the time of conception to birth.
Alcohol (wine, beer, or liquor) is the leading known preventable cause of mental and physicalbirth defects in the United States.
When a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy, she risks giving birth to a child who will pay the price — in mental and physical deficiencies — for his or her entirelife.
Yet many pregnant women do drink alcohol. It's estimated that each year in the United States, 1 in every 750 infants is born with a pattern of physical, developmental, and functional problemsreferred to as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Problems associated with FAS tend to intensify as children move into adulthood.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?
It's clear that abusing alcohol duringpregnancy is dangerous, but what about the occasional drink? How much alcohol constitutes too much during pregnancy?
No evidence exists that can determine exactly how much alcohol ingestion will...
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