FASD - Foetaal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

FASD is an umbrella term for all defects caused by fetal exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, she risks brain damage in her unborn baby. This is called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or FASD. In the Netherlands, every year about 500 children are born with FASD.

Drinking one evening can be enough to cause physical and neurological damage to the unborn baby.

The alcohol passes through the bloodstream of the pregnant woman through the placenta into the bloodstream of the unborn baby. The brain of the unborn is in full development and toxic alcohol is a real threat.

These children may have neurological abnormalities, facial abnormalities, behavioral abnormalities and / or delayed growth and are often intellectually impaired and physically impaired.

The physical abnormalities in their face are a straight upper lip, a broad nose, drooping eyes and bad teeth.


Characteristics of FASD at birth

  • Flattened face
  • Flat nose bridge, nose slightly raised (epicanthal folds)
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Eyes are slightly further apart
  • Eyes seem smaller than normal
  • Straight and narrow upper lip (philtrum reduced)
  • Receding jaw and small chin (micrognathia)
  • Low ears
  • Deviations of organs, for example heart, liver and lungs
  • Small head circumference
  • Low birth weight


Characteristics of FAS in children and later in life

  • Bad muscle coordination,

  • Poor sucking reflex, worse chewing

  • Growth retardation, being slight

  • Hypersensitivity to sound, light, touch

  • Problems with sight (seeing)

  • Mood swings

  • Problems with language development

  • Memory problems

  • Learning problems and a lower than average IQ

  • Autistic behavior, ADHD behavior

  • Hyperactivity and easily frightened

  • Increased risk of weak social functioning

  • Increased risk of addictions

  • Increased risk of behavioral problems

  • Increased risk of depression


The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is an irreparable and untreatable condition that a child will have to bear with his or her entire life.


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