Pre- and Post-natal Growth Deficiencies and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
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Maternal consumption of alcohol (ethanol) during pregnancy can inhibit prenatal growth, resulting in fetuses that are small for gestational age. Those prenatal growth deficiencies can have lasting consequences for early childhood development and are often reflected by low weight and stature. Those alcohol-induced pre- and post-natal growth deficiencies ("failure to thrive") are among the abnormal developmental criteria used to identify Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS is characterized by minor facial abnormalities and deficiencies of the central nervous system as well. A deficiency in prenatal growth is often referred to as an intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), a general term that refers to stunted fetal growth that may be a result of genetic or environmental factors.