Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder - Minnesota Department of Health

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Condition Description

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. FASD is the most common cause of brain damage before birth (called congenital neurological deficits) and is related to alcohol intake by the mother during pregnancy. Alcohol intake during pregnancy causes a wide range of damage to an unborn child and results in many different disorders. The degree of damage varies according to the amount of alcohol consumed and the particular time during the pregnancy that the alcohol was consumed. Other factors such as maternal nutrition also contribute to the variation in the effects on the baby. A pattern of binge drinking is considered the most damaging (large amounts of alcohol consumed rapidly). Please refer to Center for Disease Control and Prevention website for signs and symptoms, causes & prevention, and treatment information.

Prevalence of alcohol-related conditions is very hard to estimate, though some statistics indicate that up to 20% of children have been exposed to alcohol prenatally. Epidemiologic studies in the US estimate an overall incidence of 1 in 500 live births, occurring in 2-6 births per 1000 Caucasians, 6 per 1000 African-Americans, and up to 20 per 1000 American Indians.

Condition Specific Organizations

Additional information and resources for families are available.
Updated Thursday, 31-Dec-2020 10:49:07 CST