Prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause a spectrum of disorders. One of the most severe effects of drinking during pregnancy is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). If a woman drinks alcohol during her pregnancy, her baby can be born with FAS. FAS is a combination of mental and physical defects. FAS is characterized by growth deficiencies, skeletal deformities, facial abnormalities, organ deformities, and central nervous system problems. People with FAS may have trouble with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, and hearing. FAS lasts a lifetime and affects every aspect of a person's life and the lives of his or her family. FAS is 100% preventable if the woman does not drink during her pregnancy. .
Fetal death is the most extreme outcome of FAS. Growth deficiencies, skeletal deformities, facial abnormalities, organ deformities and central nervous system problems are other outcomes of FAS. A baby with FAS may have small body size and weight. A baby with FAS may be born as small as five pounds. They will have slower than normal development and will have failure catching up. They will always be smaller than other children even as they get older. Skeletal deformities include problems such as deformed ribs and sternum, curved .
spine, hip dislocation, bent, fused, webbed or missing fingers, limited movement of joints, and a small head. Facial abnormalities include things such as small eye openings like little slits, skin webbing between eyes and the base of the nose, dropping eyelids, and nearsightedness. Both eyes may not move in the same direction, they may have a short upturned nose, sunken nasal bridge, flat or absent groove between the nose and the upper lip, and an opening in the roof of the mouth. People with FAS may have a small jaw and a pair of low-set or poorly formed ears. Organ deformities include problems such as heart defects, heart murmurs, genital malformations, and kidney and urinary defects.