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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are caused by alcohol use in pregnancy. The greatest risk is from daily alcohol use and binge drinking. Since there is no known safe level of alcohol use, pregnant women and women trying to conceive should avoid alcohol use. FASD symptoms can include birth defects with changes to facial features, heart and other organ defects, and skeletal defects. Developmental delays can include learning disabilities, attention deficit, and impaired executive functioning (reasoning, understanding right and wrong), and behavioral issues. Individuals with more involved symptoms may require lifelong care and medical attention.

There is no safe amount or type of alcohol to consume during pregnancy.

Any amount of alcohol, even if it is one glass of wine, passes from the mother to the baby. It makes no difference if the alcohol is wine, beer, or liquor (vodka, rum, tequila, etc.).

A developing baby can't process alcohol.

Developing babies lack the ability to process alcohol with their liver, which is not fully formed. They absorb all of the alcohol and have the same blood alcohol content as the mother.

Alcohol used during pregnancy can result in FASD.

An estimated that 5 in 100 newborns each year are affected by FAS, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or have FASD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, with damage ranging from major to subtle. In Utah, 3% of women report drinking alcohol in their last 3 months of pregnancy, affecting about 1,500 births each year.

FASD is under-diagnosed

FASD is difficult to diagnose, especially when the person does not have symptoms and the mother's alcohol use in pregnancy is not known.

Maternal alcohol exposure is the leading preventable cause of fetal brain damage and birth defects in the US.