Fetal alcohol syndrome

A rare condition consisting of a combination of congenital defects that result from the continuous consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol by the mother throughout pregnancy. The affected baby has diminished growth, delayed mental development, a small head, a small brain, and small eyes. He or she may have a cleft palate, a small jaw, heart defects, and joint abnormalities. As a newborn, the baby sucks poorly, sleeps badly, and is irritable as a result of alcohol withdrawal. Almost one-fifth of affected babies die during the first few weeks of life; and many who survive are, to some degree, mentally and physically handicapped.


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