What is FAS?
FAS is the leading cause of mental retardation
FAS stands for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. FAS is caused by a mother's drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects.
There is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy.
Even one drink can cause damage.
The World Health Organisation says that FAS affects approximately one in every 500 children born in Australia, Europe and North America, and seems to be even more frequent in some developing countries, like South Africa.
These are typical FAS features
The primary symptoms of prenatal alcohol damage are:
- Poor Impulse Control
- Poor Judgement
- Immature or Inappropriate Behaviour
- Small birth weight
- Growth deficiency for height or weight
- Characteristic face
- Central nervous system damage
- Fine or gross motor problems
- Learning difficulties
- Developmental delays
The highest incidence of FAS is reported to be in the Western Cape of South Africa. This is because of the poor economic situation and the wine farmers paying their workers in wine. This system is called the Dop system. This is reputedly dying out as the farmers become more aware of the problems caused by the pregnant women drinking any alcoholic beverage.
The poor economic situation is caused by the lack of jobs and little or no proper housing. In the informal settlements, where shacks are constructed from just about anything from cardboard boxes to plastic bags and anything else that is to be found. Every third or forth house is a "Shabeen" where all sorts of alcoholic drinks are sold.
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