Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Alcohol is recognized as the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disorders. Thousands of children are born each year with life-long disabilities because they were exposed to alcohol prenatally.

Crouse Hospital operates the region’s only addiction treatment service. Our experts emphasize the importance of abstaining from alcohol to protect the health of their developing child. A range of conditions can result from alcohol use during pregnancy.

Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one in eight women drinks during her pregnancy, putting her child at risk for a variety of issues including low IQ, learning disabilities, speech and language delays, behavioral problems, vision and hearing problems, and problems with vital organs, among others.

Alcohol can damage the developing fetal brain and is thought to be particularly harmful to the embryo and fetus during the first three months of pregnancy, a time when a woman may not even be aware she is pregnant. Because of this, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that women who are sexually active and not using birth control abstain from drinking, as well as women who are trying to become pregnant.