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FAS & FAE  


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) are a group of severe physical and mental birth defects, which are caused by drinking alcohol while you are pregnant. FAS is the number one known cause of mental retardation. FAE is not as severe as FAS, but still has significant effects on your baby's development. Some research indicates, at least, 1/3 of all children needing special education intervention have been irreversibly affected by alcohol in some fashion.

Babies, who develop FAS or FAE may be very irritable, have frequent tremors, and be sensitive to external stimuli, such as light or touch. They may have poor sleep patterns or have trouble eating. Also, they may have long and excessive periods of crying. There may be organ dysfunction and growth retardation before and after birth. It is possible for these babies to have central nervous dysfunction, which may result in the development of a learning disability and a low IQ. Research has found these symptoms to be common in babies, who are exposed to alcohol, and are similar to symptoms seen in babies, who have been exposed to cocaine or other drugs. Heroin use causes the most severe symptoms in babies.

The best way to prevent FAS or FAE is to avoid drinking any alcohol or using illicit drugs while you are pregnant. We don't know how much a woman can safely drink without any risk to the baby. The likelihood of your baby having FAS or FAE increases with the amount and frequency of your use of alcohol or other illicit drugs. When you stop drinking, at any point during your pregnancy, you dramatically reduce your risk of your baby being born with FAS or FAE.

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, it is a good idea to avoid alcohol now. It's never too late to stop drinking alcohol or using an illicit drug. If you have trouble avoiding alcohol or the use of an illicit drug, such as cocaine, heroin or marijuana seek help. There are numerous programs to help you overcome your urge for your drug of choice. Talk with your caregiver or call your local health department. People are ready and willing to help you.

For further information, check with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
 
And these websites:
 
 
 
 




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