Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition in a child that results from alcohol exposure during the mother’s pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome causes brain damage and growth problems. The problems caused by fetal alcohol syndrome vary from child to child, but defects caused by fetal alcohol syndrome are not reversible.
Alcohol exposure during the first trimester — perhaps before a woman even knows she is pregnant — can cause major birth defects. Later in the pregnancy, drinking alcohol can cause poor growth and brain damage.