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Neonatal Problems: Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Description

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a series of mental and physical birth defects that can include mental retardation, growth deficiencies, central nervous system dysfunction, craniofacial abnormalities and behavioural maladjustment's, which are the direct result of a woman's drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Foetal Alcohol Effect (FAE) is a less severe set of the same symptoms.

In 1991, The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that FAS is the leading known cause of mental retardation. At least 5,000 infants are born each year (in the US) with FAS, or approximately one out of every 750 live births. 30 to 40% of babies whose mothers drink heavily throughout pregnancy have the Syndrome. FAS/FAE is a problem found in all races and socio-economic groups. FAS and FAE are widely under diagnosed. Some experts believe between one third and two-thirds of all children in special education have been affected by alcohol in some way.

No amount of alcohol has been proven safe to consume during pregnancy. The World Health Organisation suggests that there is really no safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and that no alcohol at all is the safest approach.

There is no cure for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. Once the damage is done, it cannot be undone. However, FAS is the only cause of birth defects that can be completely prevented.

FAS and FAE are 100% preventable when a pregnant woman abstains from alcohol.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: http://www.nofas.org/


Other HON resources 
   From MedHunt
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Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
(www.hon.ch)
Dermatology Image Atlas


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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
 

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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/neonatal_problems/fetal_alcohol.html Last modified: Jun 24 2002