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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Prevention of FASDs

FASDs are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These conditions can affect each person in different ways, and can range from mild to severe. They can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning.

FASDs are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These conditions can affect each person in different ways, and can range from mild to severe. They can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning.

Signs and Symptoms of an FASD:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones

Living with an FASD

The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) has conducted a series of interviews, Get to Know Me: My Life with FASD, focusing on the interests, achievements, and challenges of people living with FASDs. These interviews are intended to inspire persons living with FASDs and and help others to learn more about these conditions.

Treatment for Children with FASDs

  • FASDs last a lifetime. There is no cure for FASDs, but research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child's development.
  • There are many types of treatment options, including medication to help with some symptoms, behavior and education therapy, parent training, and other alternative approaches. No one treatment is right for every child. Good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups, and changes as needed along the way. Read about treatment options.

Video about living with FASDs: The Story of Iyal

Video about living with FASDs: The Story of Iyal

Get Help!

  • If you think your child might have an FASD, talk to your child's doctor and share your concerns. Don't wait!
  • If you or the doctor thinks there could be a problem, ask the doctor for a referral to a specialist (someone who knows about FASDs), such as a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, or clinical geneticist. In some cities, there are clinics whose staff has special training in diagnosing and treating children with FASDs. To find doctors and clinics in your area, visit the National and State Resource Directory from the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS).

What is CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) doing about FASDs?

Research and Tracking:
Photo: A woman holding baby talking to healthcare professional NCBDDD works with partners across the country to develop systems to monitor exposures and outcomes, conduct epidemiologic studies and public health research to identify maternal risk factors associated with giving birth to a child with an FASD, and implement and evaluate FASD prevention and intervention programs.

Training:
NCBDDD is committed to training and educating medical and allied health students and practitioners to improve screening and care for women at risk of an alcohol-exposed pregnancy and identification, diagnosis, and referral to treatment for individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure. NCBDDD supports education and training activities with multiple partners.

Get involved! Be an advocate for healthier babies!

If any woman in your life is thinking about having a baby, send her a health e-card:


More Information

  • Page last reviewed: December 19, 2011
  • Page last updated: December 19, 2011
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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