What It Is

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the sum total of the damage done to the child before birth as a result of the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. 

No amount of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy. Women who are or may become pregnant are therefore strongly advised to avoid alcohol. Even light drinking (less than three alcoholic drinks per week) during the first trimester of pregnancy has been associated with memory and learning problems. 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of the leading causes of mental retardation in the US. FAS is an irreversible, lifelong condition that affects every aspect of a child's life and the lives of the child's family. However, FAS is 100% preventable -- if a woman does not drink alcohol while she is pregnant. 


FAS involves brain damage, impaired growth, heart abnormalities, and head and face abnormalities.

If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol but her child does not have all the symptoms of FAS, it is possible that her child may be born with Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (ARND).  Children with ARND may demonstrate learning and behavioral problems caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol.

Treatments & Therapies

There is no cure for FAS. However, with early identification and diagnosis, children with FAS can receive services such as special education that can help increase their potential.

  • The description of this disease is provided courtesy of the NIH, and other sources.
  • The information provided on this web site should NOT be used as a substitute for seeking professional medical diagnosis, treatment or care. You should not rely on any information in these pages to replace consultations with qualified health professionals.