Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) describes a continuum of permanent birth defects caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, which includes, but is not limited to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Approximately 1 percent of children are believed to suffer from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Over time, as it became apparent through research and clinical experience that a range of effects (including physical, behavioral, and cognitive) could arise from prenatal alcohol exposure, the term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, or FASD, was developed to include Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) as well as other conditions resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure. There are a number of other subtypes with evolving nomenclature and definitions based on partial expressions of FAS, including Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (PFAS), Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND), Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD), and Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE).

The term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is not in itself a clinical diagnosis but describes the full range of disabilities that may result from prenatal alcohol exposure. Currently, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the only expression of prenatal alcohol exposure that is defined by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems and assigned ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnoses.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy[citation needed]. Because of this, the current recommendation of both the Surgeon General of the United States and the British Department of Health is to drink no alcohol at all if one is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

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