Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) was first named in the early 1970s, and since that time thousands of animal and human research studies have demonstrated that alcohol is a teratogen, meaning that it has the potential to interfere with fetal development and cause permanent birth defects. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term that describes the entire range of effects (including the full FAS) that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities, with possible lifelong implications.

Effects of Alcohol on the Fetus

The fetus is susceptible to alcohol damage throughout pregnancy. Within minutes of a pregnant woman drinking alcohol, it crosses the placenta and the blood-brain barrier, and the blood alcohol ...

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