Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most recognizable form of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FAS is characterized by a pattern of minor facial anomalies, prenatal and postnatal growth retardation, and central nervous system abnormalities. Those born with FAS often have behavioral and learning difficulties. The consequences of the damages caused by the mother's drinking is lifelong (Wattendorf & Muenke, 2005).
To date, there has been no extensive population-based studies done (Vaux & Chambers, 2012). However, data in one sample demonstrated that approximately 1 in 100 children have alcohol-related effects. In high-risk pregnancies, predicted incidences of fetal alcohol syndrome are approximate and differ because of varied definitions of heavy drinking and inconsistent methods of diagnosis. For this reason, rates range from 4% to as much as 44%.The estimation of FAS in the United States is 1-2 cases per 1000 live births (Wattendorf & Muenke, 2005) .
Fetal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of mental retardation in the Western world. The term Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was first published in a 1973 article in the British medical journal The Lancet (O'Neil, 2013). A group of psychiatrists and pediatricians at the University of Washington Medical school collaboratively defined the defects and developmental delays that can affect children born to alcoholic mothers. They observed both pre- and postnatal growth. Those observations included pre- and postnatal growth defects, minor facial anomalies, and damage to the developing brain that can result in behavioral, learning, and cognitive abnormalities. No two individuals will present the same cluster of deformities and disabilities. Growth, facial defects, central nervous system dysfunction, and alcohol exposure all vary along a continuum. The term FAS implies that the condition is permanent and was caused by prenatal .
alcohol exposure (Astley & Clarren, 2000).