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What are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders?


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders have been in the new lately, but do you really know what they are?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in people whose mothers drank alcohol during the pregnancy. The symptoms of this disorder can include physical problems as well as behavioral and learning problems. But what are the signs and symptoms of these disorders?

Causes of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

FASDs are caused by a woman drinking alcohol during their pregnancy. The alcohol enters a mother’s blood stream and passes onto the baby through the umbilical cord. Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby throughout the pregnancy regardless of the type of alcohol. It is important for a woman not to drink alcohol while pregnant or when she think she might be pregnant. This is an important distinction because women could get pregnant and not know for up to six weeks. Because brain growth takes place throughout the pregnancy, it is important for the mother to stop drinking as soon as she finds out she is pregnant.

Types and Symptoms of FASDs

There are a few different types of FASDs: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). Each of these disorders has different symptoms that can affect the person throughout their life. People with FAS can have abnormal facial features, growth problems, central nervous system problems, fetal death, and problems with learning memory, attention span, communications, vision, and hearing. FAS sufferers can have a hard time in school and trouble getting along with others. People with ARND might have intellectual disabilities and problems with learning and behavior. People with ARND might do poorly in school and have difficulties in math, memory, attention, judgment, and poor impulse control. People suffering from ARBD might have problems with their kidneys, heart, bones, and hearing.

Signs of FASDs

These conditions can affect each person differently and can range from mild to severe. A person with FASD might suffer from abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the upper nose and lip; a small head; a low body weight; shorter-than-average height; poor coordination; hyperactivity; difficulty with attention; poor memory; difficulty in school; learning disabilities; speech and language delay; intellectual disability; low IQ; sleep and sucking problems as babies; vision or hearing problems; heart, kidney, or bone problems; and poor reasoning and judgment skills. There are many different types and signs of fetal alcohol syndrome disorders. But they can all be helped with our developmental disabilities services. For more information on finding the right help for you and your loved ones, call Family Service Foundation today!

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Family Service Foundation, Inc. has been serving the greater Maryland area since 1936. This nonprofit organization helps Maryland residents across a span of different areas such as mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, and provides interpretation for deaf and deaf-blind individuals. To learn more about autism spectrum disorder or developmental disabilitiesvisit here. Do you “Follow” and “Like?” Be sure to stay active on our official pages for FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest today!