Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) refers to the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol while pregnant. The effects can include lifelong physical, mental, cognitive and behavioural disabilities.

FASD is an umbrella term that can include:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS)
  • Alcohol Related Neuro-developmental Disorder (ARND)

FASD is often called a "hidden" or "invisible" disability because most people affected do not have noticeable physical features. While individuals may share common features, every individual is unique with their own strengths and challenges.

Individuals with FASD are more likely to have trouble with:

  • memory
  • understanding cause and effect (consequences)
  • getting used to changes in routines
  • sensory stimulation – handling a lot of different sensations or feelings at one time
  • learning life skills
  • forming and keeping healthy relationships

There is no known safe amount of alcohol that can be used while pregnant, so it is best to avoid alcohol when pregnant or planning to become pregnant. The more alcohol a woman drinks, and the more often she drinks, the greater the chance of harm to the fetus.