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Fetal Alcohol Exposure and Family Health

  • By: Debbie Fraser
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Ingestion of alcohol during pregnancy has been shown to interfere with normal fetal development, leading to life long consequences for the child, the child's family, and society. Fetal alcohol exposure is one of the leading causes of mental retardation in developed countries, and the resulting cost of lost productivity, medical intervention, and educational efforts has been estimated to be upward of $5.4 billion annually in the United States and $5.3 billion in Canada, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Brenda Stade and colleagues.

This entry reviews the current nomenclature used to classify infants and children who demonstrate the effects of fetal alcohol exposure, identifies risk factors for and features of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and discusses interventions to decrease the ...

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