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Alcohol During Pregnancy: What is FAS?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the name given to a group of physical and mental birth defects cause by a woman drinking heavily during pregnancy. Children with FAS may:

  • Be born small.
  • Have deformed face and limbs.
  • Have heart problems.
  • Have problems eating and sleeping.
  • Have problems seeing and hearing.
  • Have trouble following directions and learning how to do simple things.
  • Have trouble paying attention and learning in school.
  • Have trouble getting along with others and controlling their behavior.
  • Need medical care all their lives.
  • Need special teachers and schools.

Babies born with "fetal alcohol-related effects" may look perfectly normal, but have many of these problems.

Your Baby's Brain: Exposed to Alcohol

See for yourself: these MRI images show a healthy baby's brain, and a baby's brain whose mother drank alcohol while she was pregnant.

two MRI photos showing a healthy baby's brain, and a baby's brain whose mother drank alcohol while she was pregnant

You can also read the booklet "FAS: A Parent's Guide to Caring for a Child Diagnosed with FAS" (pdf) to learn about the problems a child with FAS faces throughout their lifetime.

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