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Module 2: Effects of Alcohol on the Fetus

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Some features seen in FAS, such as epicanthal folds, short jaw, and short nose, occur naturally in certain ethnic groups. Therefore, without knowing a person's background, it should not be assumed that a child has FAS based on these characteristics. Features specific to FAS, such as a flat philtrum, need to be seen.

African American baby without FAS   Baby with FAS laying down smiling

To view an FAS facial anomalies demo, visit www.fhs.mcmaster.ca/pblonline/fas.htm Exit Disclaimer Graphic

According to the Institute of Medicine, partial FAS is sometimes used to describe individuals who have some of the facial features associated with FAS in addition to confirmed maternal alcohol exposure and evidence of one of the following: growth retardation, brain damage, or behavioral or cognitive abnormalities. When facial features of FAS are present, it is possible to diagnose FAS without confirming maternal alcohol exposure.19

Multimedia Video: Ann Streissguth, PhD, discusses the varying effects of alcohol on the fetus.

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