Drug & Alcohol Defects

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug that causes birth defects. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a term used to describe the typical birth defects (learning disabilities, mental retardation, irritability, hyperactivity, poor coordination, and abnormalities of facial features) caused by maternal alcohol use.

This early vulnerability of the developing baby has serious consequences.

A woman might not be aware that she is several weeks pregnant and might unknowingly expose her unborn child to the effects of medicines, X-rays, recreational drugs, or alcohol during this most vulnerable period.

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are NOT reversible. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a defect that is becoming more widely known. The symptoms are small head and body, a flattened face, distinctive eyes, retarded physical growth, mental retardation, shorter and lighter in weight than normal, heart defects, and poor coordination.

The safe minimal dose of alcohol in pregnancy is not yet known, but because alcohol is socially accepted it is very easy to forget that its use should be restricted.

Recognizing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD) cover other terms such as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), partial fetal alcohol syndrome (PFAS), alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE). People affected by can have brain damage; facial deformities; growth deficits; mental retardation; heart, lung and kidney defects; hyperactivity; attention and memory problems; poor coordination; behavioral problems; and learning disabilities.

Smoking effects on pregnancy and the fetus

Smoking after the fourth month of pregnancy is a major cause of prematurity and the birth of underweight babies.