Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – Symptoms, Pictures, Effects & Treatment

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Alcohol in beer, wine, liquor and other alcoholic beverages is the main cause of physical and psychological congenital abnormalities in the US.  The good thing is it can be prevented by not taking alcohol.

When a mother takes alcohol while pregnant, she jeopardizes her baby and may give birth to a child who will suffer the consequences by having physical and psychological abnormalities for life.

Still, a lot of pregnant mothers take alcohol. About one in every 750 children born every year in the US has physical and mental problems related to fetal alcohol syndrome . Additionally another 40,000 infants are born suffering from fetal alcohol effects.

How much alcohol causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

It is apparent that drinking alcohol while pregnant is harmful. However, what if the mother drinks alcohol only occasionally? How much alcohol causes fetal alcohol syndrome?

No proof at present can verify how much alcohol causes congenital abnormalities. Every women digests alcohol differently. Other things can affect the outcome as well, such as age, duration of drinking, if the drinking is on a regular basis, and if the woman has eaten anything while consuming alcohol.

Complete fetal alcohol syndrome is the consequence of chronic alcoholism while pregnant, whereas fetal alcohol effects may only happen with binge drinking or occasional drinking.

Since alcohol effortlessly passes through the placental barrier and the fetus is less prepared to get rid of alcohol compared to its mother, the fetus is apt to have a higher alcohol concentration, which remains longer compared to when it is in the woman’s body.

Women who take alcohol during their first trimester will give birth to children who have the most serious problems since that is when brain development happens. Once alcohol is present, the connections in the brain of an infant will not develop properly. Unfortunately, in the first trimester most mothers don’t find out that they are pregnantimmediately. That’s why it is necessary for women who are planning to become pregnant maintain a healthy lifestyle prior to pregnancy.

Mothers who do not drink alcohol in the first trimester may drink alcohol in the final trimester. However, there are still a few developmental and mental abnormalities that can happen when the woman drinks alcohol in the second and third trimester. Even occasional and moderate drinking may cause damage to the nervous system that is being developed.

Symptoms and signs

The following are the symptoms and signs of infants who may have fetal alcohol syndrome:

  • (LBW) Low Birth Weight
  • Head circumference is small
  • Presence of failure to thrive
  • Delays in development stages
  • Organ malfunction
  • Abnormalities in the face such as small eye openings, flat cheekbones and underdeveloped groove below the nose
  • Occurrence of epilepsy
  • Uncoordinated fine or motor abilities
  • Lack of ability to socialize, like problems creating and keeping friendships and connecting to groups
  • Deficiency in curiosity and imagination
  • Learning problems such as poor memory, lack of ability to comprehend time, language and money, difficulty in problem-solving
  • Presence of behavioral disorders like hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness, stubbornness, anxiety and withdrawal

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Pictures

fetal alcohol syndrome facial deformities

characterstic facial features of fetal alcohol syndrome

fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms chart

fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms chart picture

fetal alcohol syndrome nail foot dystrophy images

Foot nail dystrophy pictures in goldenhar syndrome

fetal alcohol syndrome brain chart

Source – primehealthchannel.com

FAS Effects

The difficulties related to fetal alcohol syndrome are likely to increase as children age. These can involve psychological disorders, problems with following rules and regulations and dependency.

Children who have fetal alcohol effects are usually not diagnosed. This also pertains to children who have alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorder, a recently documented type of prenatal injury that pertains to children who show only the emotional and behavioral disorders of fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects with no signs of delays in development or physical abnormalities.

Usually, in children who have fetal alcohol effects or alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorder, the behavior can be seen as simple hostility or being stubborn. They may have good scores on IQ tests; however, their behavioral problems usually hinder them in being successful. It is important to have a good education and training for the parents, doctors, teachers and people who took care of these children.

FAS Treatment

There is no treatment or permanent cure for the abnormalities brought about by fetal alcohol syndrome, however, there are particular defensive measures than can be applied to reduce or avoid the occurrence of minor complications related to fetal alcohol syndrome.

There are no available drugs or pharmaceutical treatments that can oppose the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome and other problems related with alcohol congenital abnormalities. There is no treatment to rectify or modify the physical characteristics or brain damage related with alcohol abuse by the mother while pregnant.

However, many of the minor complications that usually occur in people who have fetal alcohol syndrome can be avoided by applying what the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities terms protective factors.

The following protective factors have been seen to help individuals who are suffering from fetal alcohol spectrum problems:

Early Detection: children who are confirmed earlier have better prognosis compared to those who are not diagnosed early. The earlier a child with fetal alcohol syndrome is positioned in the right educational schools and offered needed social services, the better the prognosis.

Early detection also benefits the family, relatives and educators to comprehend the responses and actions of the child with fetal alcohol syndrome, which can vary broadly from other children in similar conditions.

Social Services and Special Education: studies have revealed that children with fetal alcohol syndrome who have been given special education designed for their particular desires and educational skills are more likely to attain their developmental and learning capabilities. Since children with fetal alcohol syndrome can show an extensive array of seriousness of symptoms, personal learning curricula are significant.

It is also useful if children with fetal alcohol syndrome and their families are given social services like reprieve care, stress debriefing education or action organization education as they typically have more optimistic results than families who do not obtain those types of services.

A milieu that is caring: every child profits from an affectionate, fostering and stable home life, however, children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome have been seen to be even more affected by disturbances, unstable lifestyles and damaging relations. To stop the minor circumstances connected with fetal alcohol syndrome, children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome require sustenance from both family and society.

No Aggression: the existence of aggression in the lives of children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome can influence the probability of their actions later on in life. Research has shown that children with fetal alcohol syndrome who reside in steady and non-violent homes are much less apt to experience problems later in life.

The same is true for children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome that turn out to be victims of childhood brutality. Children who experience aggression, in any form, are much more apt to have further troubles in their life.

29 thoughts on “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – Symptoms, Pictures, Effects & Treatment

  • 16/06/2012 at 10:21 PM

    I am a new mother and I profess that i am an alcoholic. I also drank during the first months of pregnancy because i was so depressed that my boyfriend got me pregnant and left me. As i went through my pregnancy, I’ve started to love the one inside my womb. when I delivered, doctors said that my baby was normal. Why is it that my baby did not turn out to have fetal alcohol syndrome? I am just so glad that he didn’t.

    • 20/11/2012 at 2:17 AM

      Your baby may “appear” normal but you may not be able to tell what effects the alcohol has had on your little one’s brain development yet …. once your baby starts meeting (or not meeting) “normal” childhood milestones you may see big differences. We have adopted 6 of our 7 children and all 6 have fetal alcohol effects. The results range from ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, learning disabilities, central auditory processing disorder, microcephaly, sensory integration issues, and more ares we are discovering even now. Bravo for admitting you had/have a drinking problem…it’s a start. I hope you have support around you to help you be as healthy as you can be. I hope you are able to get the victory over this problem 🙂

      • 22/11/2012 at 6:35 PM

        Hi Lisa, my wife and i are fostering parents, we have 4 foster children at the moment. We suspect they have FAS but we are unable to convince social services to have them diagnosed, as a result of this we are being accussed, judged, scrutinised and are parentel guidence blamed for their behavior. We also feel we are being let down by are fostering agent. Can you advise please regards john

  • 29/11/2012 at 9:55 AM

    hi my name is katerina but i go by kat. i have FAE. My adopted parents got me tested when i was about 12 years old n that was a life changing experience. i had lots of problems when i was growing up from lying to stealing.to running away to skipping school. i often wondered why i couldnt make good grades like my peers..n never able keep friends. even as an adult i cant keep a job, boyfriends, or finish school. i still haven’t gotten my ged n im 20 pregnant with my first child. im trying to go for disability…but it is not that easy for us with FES. we r looked at as the scum of the world. i hate my mother for what she has done to me. but i cant go back to Russia n kill her. so i just have to go day by day n live n pretend that i am normal. i often wonder what others think when they look at me n some of the things that i do. my husband loves me for who i am and he tell me that every day n i am grateful for him. he has taken me all in including my disability. im sometimes ashamed when i do something stupid in public. my attention span is short…n my memory sucks. i try so hard. i get frustrated easily when ive lost some important paper or my keys which happens often.so PEASE to all u to be moms PLEASE dont drink!!! u will never understand how much it relay messes us up n how hard life is for us. so please dont drink while u r pregnant with us!!!

    • 03/02/2016 at 9:02 PM

      You are a wonderful person. I have fas as well….. Never give up on your self. We all can overcome this. Even people without disabilities experience the same things as we do. It just may take us longer to learn. People with disabilities or not all learn differently. Just never give up on yourself. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.

    • 17/03/2016 at 12:55 AM

      Yes, i think your are great too. I often work with kids who have this condition and it would be easy to judge their Mums harshly but I have never walked in their shoes! Good luck and keep your chin up.

    • 29/12/2016 at 7:03 AM

      I was an alcohol and when I found out I was 14 wks pregant I aborted because I was terrified of the damage I already subjected my baby to.

  • 09/04/2013 at 12:17 AM

    Hi, i believe that i saw you visited my web site thus i came to go back the desire?.I am attempting to in finding things to enhance my web site!I assume its ok to make use of some of your concepts!!

  • 21/08/2013 at 4:32 AM

    I have a question about FAS. A granddaughter was said to have FAS due to her mother’s drinking. She has a very slight philtrum, but otherwise looks all right. She has a slight speech defect that was worked with when she was in school.

    There were times when I corrected her and she gave me absolutely malevolent looks that I found chilling. She steals and she seems to have the ability to present a great face to others. What are the emotional ramifications of FAS? Is a lack of a conscience one of those? She worries me and I don’t trust her? My daughter said she was diagnosed with FAS and I was asking her questions at a later date and she asked me what did I mean that her daughter didn’t have FAS and was hostile, slightly and didn’t want to talk about it. Should I just leave it alone? I don’t guess there is any reason to try to talk to her about it. At the age of 18, what good would it do?


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  • 28/02/2014 at 1:29 PM

    I have a very important question. Well I have a friend who says she drank once during her 3rd month , the month she found out. & she’s been crying ever since. She is now 7 months and is terrified what the results of having her baby. Should she be worried?

  • 07/10/2014 at 4:51 PM

    I have a sister whom is 21 years old. Unfortunately she has (FAS). She has been having several seizures. She had an MRI yesterday and the MRI did show that her brain was extremely small. I have done research before and I know that this is normal in people and/or children with (FAS). The MRI did show a mass on the right side of her brain. I am not sure what it is at this time. I know I had read before somewhere that the life expectancy is not very long. Would you please email me with your opinion in regards to the life expectancy? ~Min

  • 24/06/2015 at 11:55 AM

    my family have been trying to help a 29 year old girl that seems to have fas. she is an active alcoholic but seems to want to stop. both my mother and I are sober and would like to try to help. she is very stubborn and doesnt seem to have much social understanding. She just comes and crashes at our house after drinking… she is trying but we have warned her that she cant be drunk at our house. How can we better help her?

  • 29/07/2015 at 9:29 AM

    Unfortunately. You can’t! Like it or not, at 29 she is an adult and as such in our country has the legal right to consume alcohol. Continue to support her as a friend but definitely do not allow her to stay at your home while intoxicated–it is your home! But also realize that her substance misuse is a very complicated psychiatric issue and you as a non-professional are not equipped to fix it. Leave it to the pros!

  • 07/09/2015 at 6:44 AM

    I know a girl who is 14 and has Fas really bad she can’t walk and talk her mum drank heavily from the beginning of the pregnancy to the end And was delivered at 7 months. The mother never ate just lived on alcohol. The girl should have been taken off the mother.

  • 06/01/2016 at 1:24 AM

    My daughter adopted, was born with FAS. Sadly in foster care very young she was subjected to extreme abuse and this left her with Traumatic Brain Injury. I have and and still do work with her on a daily basis. Our home is stable and loving with good communication. She has come so far that it is truly a miracle. She is now a young adult. Can you please give me some input as to the future as she ages? Thank you

  • 03/04/2016 at 1:11 AM

    hey iam a mum of 7 kids and my last born is born down syndrome and the doctor give me a letter to the sassa office and they say unsuccesfull and the doctor give me another letter and the

    y say i must come back the 12 April 2016 she turn 2yrs and will i get the care dependency grand

  • 15/07/2016 at 3:35 PM

    It very sad that alcohol is drunk by women .

    And just came to know it effects the kid in womb.

    Nice post

  • 26/07/2016 at 6:24 AM

    I have 2 daughters in their 40’s who are both handicapped. I never drank while I was pregnant but their father was an alcoholic. Is it possible that he infected his daughters with this condition? I am an old woman now but still have them at home with me. They are both seriously handicapped and will not be able to survive in this world when I am gone. I have had them both tested and tested again since they were very young but was told that they fall into a grey area where there is no diagnosis. I am completely disgusted and depressed to think that there is no help for them in this world.

    • 31/07/2016 at 10:34 AM

      Judy, were your daughters vaccinated with DTP during infancy?

    • 22/09/2017 at 1:47 AM

      There is scientific evidence that drinking by the father before conception, can have deleterious affects on his sperm.

  • 01/08/2016 at 7:26 AM

    I’m the son of an alcohlic and know that my mother drank with me while pregnant. I’ve had many issues growing up, been diagnosed with drepression, bipolar, HIV and have had other issues like being a very tiny baby to having sever hearing loss as a child. Also a hard time in social situations, learning in schools and still to this day Delong with day to day things.I’ve never been diagnosed with FAS could this be a true diagnosis for me? My new physicstrist doesn’t think I’m bipolar. I just want a better understanding of why everything seems so much easier for everyone else but me. And is there a way for me to be tested?

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