Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Your baby doesn't have a choice. You do.

Alcohol and Pregnancy:

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

(This is now the name of choice to replace and include FAS, FAE, ARND etc. It is intended to cover the complete range of harm from full physical symptoms with major damage to more subtle and less obvious personality disorders.)

Research and You

Panic and You

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Alcohol and Fertility

Article NZ Herald 14 September 2007

Light Drinking During Pregnancy Not Harmful to Offspring?


Research and You:

When researchers quote a figure for damage, this is an average for a group. In a typical sample, most people cluster around the average figure, with very much smaller numbers at either extreme. This is called a "normal distribution curve", or a "bell curve".

In every group, some (very few) fetuses will be up to ten times more susceptible to damage than the "average" figure quoted, and some up to ten times less.

In the case of FASD, the reasons for this range are not yet understood but are believed to be genetic. Studies of fraternal twins born to alcoholic mothers indicate that frequently only one will be affected though each is exposed to the same conditions.

Panic and You

My wife is a midwife. From time to time she gets a call from an anxious or concerned client who has read somewhere that one drink is enough to cause major brain damage, and this client has had one drink before she discovered she was pregnant.

If this is you, relax.

Very occasionally, one drink at a critical period during early pregnancy - a matter of a few hours - is sufficient in a genetically susceptible foetus to cause significant damage. You place your fetus at greater risk of damage every time you cross a busy street.

Nevertheless it is good practice, once you begin trying to get pregnant, to avoid alcohol - and tobacco and other recreational drugs. My wife - like most midwives - is always happy to discuss healthy diet and lifestyle with someone who is planning to get pregnant.


FASD Home Page


Fetal Alcohol Support Trust
c/o Shirley Winikerei
2 Simon Place

ph 07 847 6752
Tollfree ph 0800 006 752
(Mon-Fri, Office Hours)

email: fast@xtra.co.nz

website: www.fast.org.nz

(Shirley welcomes inquiries from overseas.)