drinking during pregnancy

According to some experts, an estimation of 40,000 babies is born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome(FASD) in the United States every year. As per the studies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others, somewhere between 800 and 8,000 babies could be born each year with FAS in the U.S.

What Does Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Mean?

Fetal alcohol syndrome is when a child develops after getting alcohol exposure during pregnancy. FAE results in brain damage and growth problems. The problems caused by fetal alcohol syndrome differ from child to child. However, the sad part is, the defects caused by fetal alcohol syndrome cannot be reversed.

In fact, not even a small amount of alcohol is safe to consume when you are expecting a baby. Even after knowing this, if you still consume alcohol during pregnancy, you are putting your child at a high risk of fetal alcohol syndrome.

In case you know that your child has fetal alcohol syndrome, consult with the doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can help by lowering complications, such as learning difficulties and behavioral issues.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

The severity of fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms differs from child to child, with some children experiencing them far greater than others. Fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms may include any mix of physical defects, intellectual or cognitive disabilities, problems functioning and coping with daily life.

Physical defects

Physical defects that may occur after getting affected by fetal alcohol syndrome are:-

  • Distinctive facial features like small eyes, thin upper lip, a short and upturned nose.
  • Having difficulty in physical growth before and after birth
  • Deformities of joints, limbs, and fingers
  • Difficulties while hearing and seeing
  • Small head circumference
  • Small brain size
  • Heart defects and complications with bones and kidneys.

Brain and central nervous system problems

Complications due to fetal alcohol syndrome on the central nervous system include:-

  • Weak memory
  • Poor coordination or balance
  • Learning disorders, intellectual disability, and delayed development
  • Difficulty paying attention and with processing information
  • Facing difficulty in reasoning and problem-solving
  • Difficulty in decision making
  • Poor judgment skills
  • Hyperactivity
  • Frequently mood swings

Social and behavioral issues

Difficulty while socially interacting with people, such as:-

  • Difficulty in going to school
  • Facing difficulty in being social
  • Poor social skills
  • Trouble in adapting changes
  • Behavior problems and impulse control
  • Unpunctual behavior
  • Problems staying on task
  • Difficulty planning or working for the target

Also Read: What Will Happen If You Are Allergic To Alcohol?

Can One Drink Cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

You will soon get to know the answer. But before that, let’s know about what happens on drinking alcohol during pregnancy:-

  • Alcohol dissolves in the bloodstream and reaches the developing fetus through the placenta.


  • This results in higher blood alcohol concentrations in the developing baby than in you because the fetus metabolizes alcohol slowly than the adult does.


  • Alcohol reaches the developing fetus through the delivery of oxygen and optimal nutrition.


  • Presence of alcohol before birth can be problematic during the development of tissues, organs and can also cause permanent brain damage.

Even a single drink of alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. The more you drink during pregnancy, the greater is the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. In fact, consuming any amount of alcohol can put your baby at risk. 

A human baby’s body parts, such as the brain, heart, and blood vessels, start to develop at the very early stage before you know. Consuming alcohol during this phase can harm your baby. Along with nutrition, alcohol is also used in the developing process of your baby. However, the risk is at any time during pregnancy.

Which Group Is The Highest Risk For Having A Child With FAS?

There is no fixed amount of alcohol consumption allowed during pregnancy. A single drink can be harmful. Therefore, it is strictly recommended not to consume alcohol during pregnancy. After reading this if you still drink alcohol under the following conditions, you are putting your baby at risk:-

  • If you are pregnant
  • In case you think you might be pregnant, or
  • If you are trying to become pregnant

The problematic behaviors of fetal alcohol syndrome (secondary disabilities) that are examined at the time of birth are:-

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Aggressiveness
  • Improper social conduct
  • Misuse of alcohol or drug
  • Mental health disorders, like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders
  • Difficulty in school
  • Having dependent behavior
  • Improper sexual behaviors

How Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevented?

The best way to keep your baby safe from fetal alcohol syndrome is not to drink alcohol if you are trying to be pregnant or even during pregnancy. Here are some of the following measure that can help you to prevent FAS, such as:-

  • Do not drink alcohol if you are trying to get pregnant or think you might be pregnant. It's never too late to stop drinking during pregnancy, but the sooner you stop, the better it is for your baby.


  • Do not drink alcohol till the birth of the child.


  • Many pregnancies are unplanned. Therefore, giving up alcohol consumption during your childbearing years can help your baby remain safe from fetal alcohol syndrome.


  • In case you have an alcohol problem, get help before you get pregnant. Look for the level of dependence and plan your treatment accordingly.

Tags: How much alcohol causes fetal alcohol syndrome, Fetal alcohol syndrome treatment, Effects of drinking alcohol while pregnant