What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Published: June 28, 2021
Dear TeenHealthFX,
what is fetal alcohol syndrome? How does a baby get it from a mom?
Signed: What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Dear What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? ,

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is something that can occur when a person drinks alcohol while pregnant. As the baby develops in the uterus, the umbilical cord gets nutrients from the pregnant person to help the baby grow. This means that anything the pregnant person eats, or drinks has potential to end up in the blood stream and go directly to the developing baby.  

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is now known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The CDC explains that drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a variety of issues in a developing baby from mild to extremely severe. A person with an FASD might have:

  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ

There are many tools a doctor has to determine the severity and diagnosis of FASD as well as tools available to help each person reach their best potential. If someone you know is pregnant and has been drinking alcohol,  it is important to be seen by a OBGYN (a doctor who specializes in pregnancy). If you need help finding a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the  Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist. We hope this helps!

Signed: TeenHealthFX