Symptoms and causes of fetal alcohol syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a very serious condition in a child. It results from the unconditional alcohol intake of the mother during her is also a most dangerous fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Fetal alcohol syndrome may often lead to severe disability in children. It doesn’t have a cure but somehow, early diagnosis and supportive therapy can help them to live a better life.


 What is fetal alcohol syndrome?


In FAS, the fetus is exposed to alcohol in its intrauterine life. It occurs just because of his mother who takes alcohol during pregnancy. Then it goes to the bloodstream of the mother. And through the umbilical cord reaches the fetus.


What happened after it?


In intrauterine life, the fetal liver is not formed properly. As a result, the liver cannot metabolize alcohol and gradually it becomes absorbed by the fetal cell.


How does alcohol work in the fetus?


  Alcohol is a teratogen. It leads to fetal alcohol syndrome which is very toxic for babies. This may interfere with systemic growth and development. Alcohol also disturbs the function of the central nervous system( brain and spinal cord). 

In the United States, a mother drinking alcohol may lead to a baby having birth defects and developmental disabilities along with a wide range of physical, behavioral, and learning problems.


Sign and symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome


Physical signs

  • Low body weight
  • Below-average height
  • Poor condition
  • Small head size
  • Small eyes
  • Joints, limbs, and finger deformities
  • Abnormal facial features, such as smooth skin between the nose and upper lips.
  • Bone deformities


Behavioral signs

  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Sleep problems
  • Poor social skills
  • Poor impulse control
  • Resistance to change
  • Difficult in suckling as a baby


Learning and cognitive disabilities

  • Difficulty remembering
  • Moodiness
  • Trouble in paying attention
  • Finding school challenging; especially subjects such as math
  • Intellectual disabilities or low IQ
  • Poor judgment and reasoning skills


Cause of fetal alcohol syndrome


Alcohol is the only cause of FAS. it transfers from mother to child during pregnancy through the umbilical cord. Though a fetus has an underdeveloped liver, it can not be metabolized in it. and lastly, absorbed by the fetal is very noxious during the first three months of pregnancy.


According to a guideline from the American Academy Of Pediatrics, consumption of alcohol any time during pregnancy can be harmful.


Pathophysiology of FAS


  • The mother takes alcohol during pregnancy.
  • It passes through the umbilical cord and reaches the fetus
  • The fetal liver is not fully formed and absence of alcohol dehydrogenase(ALDH) and antioxidants like glutathione.
  • There is the occurrence of metabolic error
  • Also, the amniotic fluid acts as an alcohol reservoir and prolonging fetal exposure
  • Acetaldehyde disrupts cell divisions, growth, DNA, and protein synthesis and also restricts cell migration.
  • Acetaldehyde and ethanol modify the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  • They all together decrease the transfer of amino acid, glucose, folic acid, zinc, and other nutrients across the placental barrier. 



There is no laboratory test present to prove fetal alcohol syndrome. but, many physical examinations help to diagnose it. 

 They are:

  • Unusual facial features
  • Lower than average height and weight
  • Small head size
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity
  • They also ask the mother about her drinking status during pregnancy.


Pharmacological treatment for fetal alcohol syndrome



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