How to Recognize Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can severely harm a developing fetus and may have lasting health and developmental consequences known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).  One of the most distressing disorders caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). It is a lifelong condition and yet one of the most preventable causes of birth defects and intellectual disability. If you notice any symptoms of FAS, see your child’s doctor as soon as possible to help formulate a treatment plan that may alleviate symptoms.
Part One of Two:
Recognizing the Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Edit
Be aware of your child’s risk for FAS. The exact cause of FAS is alcohol consumption. The more you drink while pregnant, especially during the first trimester, the greater the risk of your unborn fetus developing FAS.  Being aware of your child’s risk for this disease can help you recognize it and get a diagnosis and treatment in a timely manner.
- Alcohol reaches the developing fetus through the placenta and causes higher blood alcohol concentration levels in a fetus than in you. A fetus metabolizes alcohol at a much slower rate. 
- Alcohol interferes with oxygenation and nutrition delivery to your unborn baby. This can severely impact the fetus’s developing tissues and organs, including the brain. 
- You may have consumed a lot of alcohol before you realized you were pregnant, putting your unborn baby at risk for FAS.  Keep this in mind during and after your pregnancy. 
Recognize physical symptoms of FAS. There are many different physical symptoms of FAS that may be mild or severe. From distinctive facial features to slow growth patterns, identifying these common markers may help get your child a diagnosis and medical treatment.
- Symptoms can appear while the baby is still developing in utero or at birth. They may also only present later, such as behavior issues. 
- Facial features such as wide-set eyes; an extremely thin upper lip; a short, upturned nose; and lack of lip folds between the nose and upper lip may indicate FAS.  A child with FAS may also have narrow and small eyes. 
- Deformed joint and limbs may indicate FAS. 
- Slow growth patterns both before and after birth may indicate FAS. 
- Vision and hearing issues may indicate FAS. 
- Small head circumference and underdeveloped brain may indicate FAS. 
- Heart defects and issues with kidneys may also indicate FAS. 
- Many symptoms of FAS resemble those of other diseases and conditions. If you suspect your child or another might have FAS, it’s important to see a doctor and/ or get a second medical opinion.
Observe brain and central nervous symptoms. FAS may also present itself as problems with a child’s brain and central nervous system. From poor memory and hyperactivity, observing these common neurological symptoms may help you identify FAS and get your child a diagnosis and medical treatment.
- Children with FAS may have poor coordination and balance. 
- Children with FAS may have intellectual disabilities, learning disorders, poor memory, trouble with paying attention, or hyperactivity. 
- Children with FAS may have trouble processing information, reasoning, and poor judgment skills. 
- Children with FAS may also have rapidly changing moods or anxiety. 
Notice social and behavior issues. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can also manifest itself in social and behavioral issues. From poor social skills to problems with impulse control, noticing these behavioral markers may help you identify FAS and get your child a diagnosis and medical treatment.
- Poor social skills including getting along with others may indicate FAS. 
- A child with FAS may have difficulty in school or problems staying on task or working towards a goal. 
- A child with FAS may have problems adapting to change or with impulse control. 
- A child with FAS may have a poor concept of time.