Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

What are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of disorders that happen when a person’s mother drank alcohol while pregnant. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord.  

FASDs can include physical, behavioral, and learning problems. People who suffer from FASDs usually have a mix of these problems.  

Physical problems can include a low birth weight and slow growth. Development of vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys, and damage to parts of the brain may also occur.  

Behavioral and learning problems include learning disabilities, hyperactivity, difficulty with attention, poor communication, reasoning, and judgment skills.  

Most people with FASDs have a variety of complications which tends to lead to lifelong issues with school, professional, and social skills. People with FASDs often have trouble living independently, mental health and substance use issues. 


To prevent a child from having an FASD, a woman should not drink alcohol while she is pregnant. A woman could get pregnant and not know for up to 4 to 6 weeks. So if there’s a chance a woman could be pregnant, she should not drink alcohol.

If a woman is drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop drinking. Because brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy, the sooner a woman stops drinking the better it will be for her and her baby.  

Resources are available here.


Parents and caregivers of children with FASDs can learn more about the treatment and support by attending our upcoming virtual conference:  
FASD Online Workshop: Essential FASD Supports featuring Nate Sheets
Tuesday, August 17 | 9AM – 3PM | No cost to attend | Event FlyerClick here to register via Zoom

Children with FASDs require specific supports in a world that does not understand them, and many families live in a continual state of stress because of lack of access to services that are FASD-informed. This workshop is meant to help decrease that stress by helping parents and caregivers understand that they are not alone and that there are ways to move forward. 

** The first 100 participants will receive a copy of the book “Trying Differently Rather Than Harder: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders” by Diane Malbin, M.S.W. **

**Certificates available upon completion of this workshop**

This initiative is funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.