FAS – The Preventable Syndrome

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS is a wholly preventable syndrome caused by women who drink too much during their pregnancy.

How much is too much? It’s very hard to say exactly because women all process alcohol differently. The amount of alcohol also hinges on such things as the age of the woman, the frequency of her drinking and whether she has eaten any food.

Binge drinking – even just once – can be enough to cause FAS. The danger is that this type of heavy drinking may be done before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
Seeing as the first 3 months – or first trimester – is the time when the infant brain is developing, a lot of damage can be caused by binge drinking.

The effects of FAS are long term and incurable. They include

Learning difficulties – including inability to concentrate
Behavioural problems – including social withdrawal or hyperactivity
Poor co-ordination
Failure to thrive
Low birth weight
Facial abnormalities

FAS is difficult to diagnose because not all kids will display the physical symptoms, showing the behavioural problems only. This is known by the rather cumbersome name of Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND).


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