Alcohol and Pregnancy – the Tragic Costs

Alcohol and Pregnancy – the Tragic Costs

It’s an established fact that no amount of alcohol consumed by an expectant mom during pregnancy is good for the infant.

For expectant moms who suffer from alcoholism or alcohol dependency – the impact on the child is often very grave, producing children with a condition called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).  Common symptoms of that disorder include:

Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
Small head size
Shorter-than-average height
Low body weight
Poor coordination
Hyperactive behavior
Difficulty with attention
Poor memory
Difficulty in school (especially with math)
Learning disabilities
Speech and language delays
Intellectual disability or low IQ
Poor reasoning and judgment skills
Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
Vision or hearing problems
Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones

Medical researchers at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences have now studied the economic costs of FASD. 

Here is what they found:

“Total costs per person were estimated about $23,000 per year for children and $24,000 for adults with FASD (in 2017 dollars). There were significant differences in the cost categories: costs for residential care were higher in children, while healthcare costs were higher for adults. Average costs for special education were about $7,200 per year for children and $4,600 for adults.

The data also suggested that FASD leads to substantial costs due to productivity losses — for example, among caregivers for children with FASD. There was also evidence of high costs to correctional and criminal justice systems due to FASD. Because of the inadequacy of evidence on these cost categories, the researchers believe their cost estimates are likely conservative.

…Estimated costs for children with FASD exceed those for autism ($23,000 versus $17,000), and the costs of FASD in adults are greater than those for diabetes ($24,000 versus $21,000).” 

That works out to a cost of over $1.65million per person.

And sadly – FASD is a completely preventable problem.

So, what does this all mean?

According to the researchers, the answer is simple.  The U.S. must invest more in effective alcohol dependency treatment strategies – targeting women at high risk who are of childbearing age.

We agree.

If you’re struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and need help in Connecticut, New Hampshire or southern Maine, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help.  Our unique model of personalized, family-centered in-home care is giving clients a better chance of recovery when compared to traditional inpatient rehab care.  To learn more or to talk to one of our Recovery Specialists, visit