All alcohol that a pregnant woman drinks is shared with the fetus. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and transferred to the fetus via placenta.
All fetal organs may be affected and cell development may be impaired. The brain is particularly vulnerable because it develops throughout the pregnancy.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of
- premature delivery
- poor fetal growth
- diminished intellectual capacity
- learning disabilities
- behavioural and social problems
- concentration and memory problems
- restlessness and hyperactivity
- difficulties of understanding the consequences of one's actions
The risk of injury increases if you drink a lot and often.
Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)
The disorders are classified under the umbrella term foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
The most severe diagnosis is foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Children with FAS are typically affected by
- poor growth
- brain damage
- distinctive facial characteristics
The risk of FASD increases the more alcohol the mother drinks, and the more often she drinks.