Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) refers to a group of conditions which can affect a person whose mother drank alcohol during her pregnancy. The disorders may vary from mild to severe, and they can affect different systems in the body. The most severe form of FASD is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) which is defined by permanent deficits that may affect a person’s vision, hearing, memory, attention span, and learning and social capabilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of 1,000 live-born infants in the US has FAS. There are the most common symptoms of FAS, as well as the treatment, and prevention of this avoidable condition.

1. Growth Problems

One of the most common symptoms of FAS is problems with growth and development. This is seen as soon as the baby is delivered, as most babies with FASD are born below the 10th percentile in height and weight. Many babies with FASD are also reported to have a smaller head size than the average baby. As the child ages, his growth rate may be slower than the average child. Severe growth deficiency is when both height and weight are at or below the 3rd percentile. Moderate growth deficiency is when either the height or weight is below the 3rd percentile, but not both, and mild growth deficiency is when either height or weight or both are between the 3rd and 10th percentile.