What is fetal alcohol syndrome?

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Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the term for severe birth defects caused by alcohol use during pregnancy.

Children who have FAS may have:

  • Distinctive facial features, which include a small head, a flat face, narrow eye openings, a short upturned nose, a flattened groove between the nose and the upper lip (philtrum), and a thin upper lip.
  • Low birth weight and slowed growth.
  • Central nervous system problems, including small head size, poor fine motor skills, or poor eye-hand coordination.
  • Behavior and thinking (cognitive) problems, which may include poor attention, concentration, memory, and comprehension skills; difficulty with math skills; hyperactivity; and extreme mood changes.

A child who has FAS may also have birth defects that involve the eyes, ears, heart, urinary tract, or bones.

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