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Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)

Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)


A baby can be born with foetal alcohol syndrome if its mother drank alcohol while she was pregnant. It may develop physical problems and problems with behaviour and learning.


FAS is caused by a woman drinking alcohol during pregnancy. There is no known amount of alcohol that is safe to drink while you are pregnant. There is also no safe time to drink or a safe kind of alcohol.

Signs & Symptoms

A person with FAS may have:

  • abnormal facial features such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
  • small head size
  • shorter than average height
  • low body weight
  • poor coordination
  • hyperactive behaviour
  • difficulty paying attention
  • poor memory
  • difficulty in school
  • learning disabilities
  • speech and language delays
  • intellectual disability or low IQ
  • poor reasoning and judgement skills
  • sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • vision or hearing problems
  • problems with the heart, kidneys or bones.


To prevent FAS a woman should not drink alcohol while she is pregnant or even when she might get pregnant. You could get pregnant and not know about it for several weeks.


Foetal alcohol syndrome lasts a lifetime. There is no cure. Research shows that early intervention can improve the child’s development. There are many types of treatment, including medication to help with some symptoms, behaviour and education therapy and parent training. No one treatment is right for every child.

MomConnect and NurseConnect Statistics

MomConnect figures 03/09/2017
1 Cumulative total of public subscriptions using the code: *134*550# 364 860
2 Cumulative total of CHW identified subscriptions using the code *134*550*3# 36 121
3 Cumulative total of clinic registrations using the code: *134*550*2# 1 530 990
4 Cumulative total of facilities with at least one registration 4 648
5 Total number of unique cellphone numbers 1 770 988
6 Total number of opt outs received 144 660

NurseConnect figures 03/09/2017
1 Total Registrations 19 254
1.1 National 9
1.2 Province 1,090
1.3 Facility 18 155
2 Facilities with at least one registration 2 935
3 Total Number of Opt-outs 411