Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Alternate Names : FAS
What can be done to prevent the condition?
Fetal alcohol syndrome is preventable. A woman should avoid alcohol during pregnancy. She should also avoid alcohol if she is trying to get pregnant. Because a woman often does not know she is pregnant until she misses a period, damage can be done before the pregnancy is recognized. The toxic effects of alcohol are most severe in the early months of pregnancy. However, the fetus's brain continues to develop throughout pregnancy. This development can be disrupted by alcohol at any stage.
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
There are many long-term effects of FAS on the child and his or her family. The brain effects continue as the child grows. Mental retardation and learning disabilities can affect schoolwork. The most severely affected children may never be able to function independently.
Many children with FAS are unable to plan ahead. They are unable to think about the consequences of their behavior or learn from their mistakes. This defect has an impact on relationships with family and friends. Major behavioral difficulties are common. These problems are not easily fixed.
Other long-term effects include a tendency to get ear infections. This may lead to hearing loss. The movement of joints, particularly the elbows, is sometimes limited as well.
What are the risks to others?
FAS is not contagious and poses no risk to others.