Vegas, Baby!

What up and hello from on vacation!

This is totally an auto-update though, so 😛 no juicy details of what we’re doing. Other than to say that we’re going to see Whitney Cummings tonight (as we pre-bought those tickets; my sister thinks she’s amazing).

I hope all the wrimos out there aren’t panicking too much, but this is the second last day to get your word counts above 50k to ‘win’ 2014 NaNoWriMo. Good luck to everyone doing the last mad dash thing (been there, I feel ya’!), and congrats to those who are already done (I think this is the first time I didn’t need to do a last push to hit 50k). You all deserve cake!

As I’m in Vegas, probably spending every other night at least tipsy, I thought I’d share a little bit of research that’s at least somewhat relevant. Although it’s also kind of depressing. So glad I’m doing this via auto-update 😉

Now, I wrote this short essay on FASD for a 2012 class, so it might be a little out of date, but… NaNo… no time to conduct fresh research, sorry. None of my sources were too old though, so you should be mostly good. Enjoy?


The occurrence of children who are diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FAS/D) ranges anywhere from 0.3% to 3.5% of children born. This percentage varies due to a number of factors.

The chance of having an FAS/D child is dependant on the amount of alcohol consumed, and how the alcohol is processed by both mother and child. Further still is the cultural and social acceptance of drinking. The high end of the previously stated spectrum is taken from the birth rate in Italy where it is common to drink alcohol with meals every day. There is also the question of how reliable self-report methods are in regards to gauging how much alcohol the mother consumed during pregnancy. Additionally, the current criteria for diagnosing FAS/D may be unable to do so. This is due to professionals who believe the syndrome is only the result of maternal alcoholism, and other too restrictive criteria.

The proposed changes in the DSM-V offer a set of criteria that may prove more useable in the diagnosis of children with FAS/D. Further there is a need to develop a standard for determining maternal alcohol consumption. With a better clinical approach to diagnosing the condition attention can be turned towards prevention.

Two main factors would need to be addressed to bring about effective means of prevention. First, the awareness that the current idea of moderation is not effective enough needs to be raised. Second, potential mothers need to be educated about the risks of any alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Moderation does not provide a reliable reduction of the risk associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy. In combining both clinical and social changes to the diagnosis and understanding of FAS/D the condition can be better treated and prevented.



da Costa Pereira, A., Olsen, J., & Ogston, S. (1993). Variability of self reported measures of alcohol consumption: Implications for the association between drinking in pregnancy and birth weight. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 47, 326-330. Retrieved from

Diagnostic Criteria Overview (2004). In Fetal Alcohol Assessment Experts. Retrieved from

“lighttriad” (2007, March 20). The invisible children and families of FASD part 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Malet, L., de Chazeron, I., Llorca, P., & Lemery, D. (2006). Alcohol consumption during pregnancy: A urge to increase prevention and screening. European Journal of Epidemiology, 21, 787-788. Retrieved from

Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. (n.d.). In APA DSM-5. Retrieved from

Siegelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2012). 4.2 the Prenatal Environment. In J. Perkins & N. Alberts (Eds.), Life-Span Human Development, 7th edition (102-116). Belmont, California: Wadsworth.


Some information that I have no sources to reference, just general knowledge from studying FASD –

  • Children sometimes go undiagnosed because the mother is unable or unwilling to admit to drinking while pregnant. This criteria might have changed, but when I was in school, a child couldn’t be given an FASD diagnosis without the mother informing the doctor that she drank during pregnancy. The only exception I have ever heard of is when the mother comes into the hospital to give birth and is clearly drunk. Then even if she denies it, the doctor can report that she drank during pregnancy.
  • Some people believe that an incredibly large portion of people incarcerated for extended periods of time have FASD. The above point made it hard to say for sure what the percentage was, but of the inmates surveyed most reported at least some of the common symptoms of individuals with FASD (poor memory, difficulty focusing, difficulty in school, learning disabilities, low IQ, poor reasoning/judgement skills)
  • There may be a tendency for mother’s to not report drinking due to doctor bias. This is purely from anecdotal evidence; doctor’s are supposed to ask if a mother has drank while pregnant, but sometimes make a comment like, “you don’t look like the type” or “I’m sure you didn’t drink while pregnant”, which can lead to a mother not reporting her alcohol consumption. I honestly don’t know how prevalent that is, but a couple of my profs mentioned encountering such attitudes when they were pregnant (one even said that if she had drank during her pregnancy, she certainly wouldn’t have admitted it after the doctor said that… and that’s from someone who knows how vital it can be for a mother to admit it)
  • There have been reported incidents of a mother having a single drink and the child having FASD, and others of mother’s drinking consistently throughout her pregnancy and the child being born fine. Part of the difficulty with FASD is that the amount of alcohol is not the same for everyone, not can we say 100% for sure that it is only alcohol that plays a role (as a lot of the problems can be replicated by other teratogens that the fetus is exposed to at certain key times). That isn’t to say that alcohol won’t have an impact, just that it still isn’t fully understood yet.


Short, a little sad to think about, but a good starting point if you’re wanting to write about FASD. Especially if you check out the resources I referenced. This can be a fairly heated topic of debate, so you should also be able to find a bunch of youtube video clips from documentaries done on FASD kids and their families.

(And no auto-update for December 3rd… if I’m feeling up for it, I might post something after I get home; so it’ll be a late afternoon post if there is one. Otherwise see y’all on December 8th!)


One thought on “Vegas, Baby!

  1. Pingback: Special Care Needed For Pregnant Women | Find Me A Cure

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