Welcome to day 8 of our 99 day journey of all things FASD. Today’s fact is a surprise to some people – that the physical features visible in those with what is referred to as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS will occur only if a woman drinks within a certain 2 or 3 day period of her pregnancy. (I’ve heard people quote days 19, 20 and 21).
That is only 2 or 3 days! What does this mean? It means many people born without the visible features go undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and/or are misunderstood because they have no visible characteristics. Different countries are updating their guidelines for diagnosis and the terms they use to describe the various degrees people are affected by exposure to alcohol.
Most use the term FASD to encompass the people without the physical characteristics. However injury to their brains is just as serious as those with the visible characteristics.
The following quote is from Pregnancy Birth and Beyond an Australian website:
Much of the research that has been conducted has been in North America by researchers such as Professors Sterling Clarren, Susan Astley and Ab Chudley. Sterling Clarren’s primate and mouse research on alcohol and pregnancy found that the lip and philtrum anomaly of (full) FAS occurred in a very small window of time which would be on the 19th to 20th day after conception in the human – the period called gastrulation. Since the diagnosis of FAS depends on having the full set of facial features then it is likely that only exposures that include the 19th or 20th day will attract the diagnosis of FAS. However, a child can still have a serious brain injury.
Visit tomorrow for the 9th day in the 99 Days to FASDay journey!
More facts, tips, quotes, research and interesting information is on the way.