What causes fetal alcohol syndrome?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is caused by a woman drinking alcohol during pregnancy. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it passes across the placenta and enters the fetus’ system. Alcohol is a teratogen, a substance known to be toxic to human development. Depending on the amount, timing and pattern of use, when the alcohol reaches the growing baby’s blood supply, it can interfere with healthy development. Alcohol use appears to be the most harmful during the first 3 months of pregnancy, when body systems are developing. However, drinking alcohol any time during pregnancy can be harmful. There is no safe time to drink during pregnancy and no safe kind of alcohol to drink while pregnant. To prevent FAS, a woman should not drink alcohol while she is pregnant, or even when she might get pregnant.

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