11th May 2013 .
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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term which describes a continuum of permanent birth defects caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, which includes, but is not limited to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Establishing the prevalence of FASD is very difficult, but it is estimated that at least 1 percent of children in the U.S suffers from FAS or other alcohol-related birth defects.
Over time, as it became apparent through research and clinical experience that a range of effects (including physical, behavioral, and cognitive) could arise from prenatal alcohol exposure, the term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, or FASD, was developed to include Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) as well as other conditions resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure.
The term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is not in itself a clinical diagnosis but describes the full range of disabilities that may result from prenatal alcohol exposure. Currently, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the only expression of prenatal alcohol exposure that is defined by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems and assigned ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnoses.
There is no known safe amount of alcohol or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Because of this, the current recommendation of the government agencies of several countries is to drink no alcohol at all if one is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.