What is fetal alcohol syndrome? Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most advanced type of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), disorders that are caused by alcohol use during pregnancy. These disorders can cause problems in physical, mental and cognitive development of the infant. Other FASDs include alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), which involves intellectual disabilities, and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBDs) that include heart, kidney and hearing problems. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy, no matter how small the amount, can harm your fetus and impair its development. When you consume alcohol, it crosses the placenta into the fetus. The amount and timing affect the extent of damage. Drinking alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy puts your fetus at the greatest risk for developing FASDs, and the more you drink, the greater the risk. Avoiding consumption of alcohol is the best way to prevent FASDs (Source: CDC). Fetal alcohol syndrome has a pronounced effect on the mental and social development of a child, including reasoning, thinking, coordination, and social skills. Fetal alcohol syndrome also affects formation of the heart and skeletal system. A baby with fetal alcohol syndrome is often easy to identify. Common features include a small head, small jaw, absent filtrum (the groove above the upper lip), and narrow-set eyes. Fetal alcohol syndrome drastically affects the quality of a person’s life. Brain damage is common in people with this syndrome, which poses a challenge in all aspects of their lives: social, career, education and health. If you drink alcohol and are pregnant, it is imperative that you stop immediately. Alcohol crosses from the placenta into the womb and impairs fetal development. Seek prompt medical care from a treatment center or other trained professionalsif you are pregnant and unable to stop drinking alcohol.