Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Native Americans [Trends]

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Did you know that most women do not even know that they are pregnant until they are 4 to 6 weeks along? In this crucial developmental stage, a woman drinking alcohol may not even know to be worried about the effects on an unborn child. However, drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to serious consequences, with the best-known being Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Native American women are impacted heavily by this. Due to generational trauma from government oppression, alcoholism and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are prevalent conditions among Native Americans. Rural areas often have fewer resources available for treatment, resulting in more untreated Native American mothers and babies.

So what if you are already struggling with alcoholism and then become pregnant? Alcohol addiction is a serious illness requiring rehabilitation treatment, and now your baby’s life depends on it as much as your own.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction while pregnant, please call 405-583-4390 today. Our specialists can guide you to the addiction treatment center that fits your needs. Native American tribal members too can benefit from this service.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome 101

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is developmental damage to an unborn child caused by the mother drinking alcohol while pregnant. Alcohol passes through the umbilical cord from the mother’s blood, affecting the baby’s mental and physical development, which will last a lifetime. 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome statistics show that the highest fetal alcohol syndrome rates are among the Native American tribes, ranging from 1-9 for every 1000 births. As the rest of the United States population has a rate of 0.2 for every 1000 deliveries, this is a clear indication that the problem disproportionately affects Natives.

Alcohol addiction is rampant throughout the Native American tribes due to generations of oppression, poverty, and injustice. The generational trauma experienced by the Native American tribes weighs heavily on them to this day. Later on, we will look at resources specifically designed to address these problems, but first, let’s take a look at the full spectrum of fetal alcohol disorders.


FAS is part of a continuum of medical complications called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. These can manifest as developmental problems, mental handicaps, and even physical deformities. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) also serves as the blanket term for the potential mental and physical effects on a child born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

FASD symptoms are wide-ranging and can manifest in several different ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the potential effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, otherwise known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder symptoms, are:

  • Low birth weight
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Coordination problems
  • Memory problems
  • Hyperactivity
  • Learning difficulties, especially with math
  • Slow progress with speech and language
  • Low IQ
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Heart, kidney, and bone problems
  • Low height and weight for their age
  • Smaller than average head size
  • Facial deformities

In addition to FASD symptoms, the American Psychiatric Association recognized Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE) as a condition in 2013. This condition is life-long, and there is no cure. There are also no tests that can be conducted to diagnose such a condition. Therefore, doctors can only review physical abnormalities and problems within the central nervous system to make an educated diagnosis.

Patients may be asked if they are aware of their mother drank during pregnancy. However, that is simply an effort to understand and does not need any form of answer or confirmation.




The safest thing you can do right now if you are struggling with alcohol addiction while pregnant is to check into an addiction center to detox safely. Both you and your baby need to be taken care of, and quitting “cold turkey” is rarely a safe option. Suddenly ridding your body of your substance of addiction can cause harmful effects on your body and your baby. Withdrawal symptoms are intense, and pregnancy can cause additional complications.


To ensure that you and your baby are safe, protected, and cared for, call our addiction specialists today. Whenever you feel scared to ask for help or assume no one can help you, remember that you are not the first person to have gone through this, and you will not be the last. Other people have been where you are and have success stories to show for it. Rise above the fear and reach out to a rehabilitation specialist to discover how we can help you detox safely while pregnant.


Additionally, surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends is an excellent framework for building your support system. Family is an essential part of both pregnancy and recovery. Be sure to add helpful, loving people into your sacred space during this challenging and rewarding time in your life.



Fetal Alcohol Syndrome does not have a cure. However, treatment is available to hopefully head off the damage as early as possible. When the baby is born and begins treatment for FAS’s effects, it is essential to reinforce your sobriety. Understandably, your body will be sore, tired, and in deep need of rest and recovery. The start of your new life with your newborn child is a fresh start toward healthy living.

Engaging in prevention programs and support groups is a useful tool to provide maintenance for your condition and keep yourself in check. For Native American tribal members, celebrating ancestral traditions such as sweat lodges, talking circles, and sacred dances can be an important part of recovery.


Alcohol addiction treatment among Native American tribes includes harmonic synchronicity with nature, the spirits, and the animals to heal the person and not just the illness. Throughout treatment, Native American tribal members can have other tribal members weigh in on treatment options that best uphold the culture and spirit of the Native American people.

Native Americans



By federal law, all insurance must provide coverage for inpatient behavioral and mental health services. However, the level of coverage varies from state to state and company to company. Each insurance company has regulations determining if coverage extends to some visits or some programs.


Native American tribal members have access to in-house treatment on tribal land. However, with funding at rural locations frequently limited, access to specific treatments may be unavailable.


Instead, call an addiction specialist at (405) 583-4390 to speak with a representative who can take your insurance information and provide you with the best options to fit your specific rehabilitation needs.



Generational trauma is specific to Native Americans for their long history of abuse and oppression by the United States government. Because of this, Native American tribal members have an alarming rate of alcohol addiction and dependency, with Native American women at significantly higher risk than others of delivering a child with FAS symptoms or FASD symptoms. Alcohol addiction has led to generations of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder babies. 


The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced an entire group of people from their homes at the behest of a callous US president, Andrew Jackson. Native American populations were forced into impoverished rural areas and denied the right to bear witness against any white man; countless Native lives were lost in the process. This is only one example of the generational trauma that Natives face. Harsh oppression from the United States government has taken a devastating toll in terms of addiction, overdose, and deaths in coping with depression, anxiety, and loss.


For pregnant Native American women who believe their unborn children may have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the best course is to call an addiction specialist and start treatment as early as possible. Early treatment and preventative measures are your best bet for reducing FAS’ effects as much as possible, so do not wait.

We can help you


Rehabilitation Treatment Care Center offers treatment options throughout Oklahoma. The Native American Cherokee Nation tribal government is also located in Oklahoma. This allows for minimal travel for Native American women to seek solace, care, and safe treatment. We can connect you with drug and alcohol treatment, detoxification treatment facilities, and rehabilitation. 

FAS statistics place Native American women at a high rate of FASD symptoms, making it urgent to reach out to an addiction specialist before Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS symptoms develop. Women and their babies’ health is the number one concern when treating a pregnant patient for addiction.


We understand that life is messy. Some things do not always go the way we plan, and unexpected events are going to happen. We are not here to judge you, shame you, embarrass you, or belittle you. Our professionals chose a profession of healing in order to help people. At Rehabilitation Treatment Care Center, you will be treated with dignity, honor, and respect every step of the way. We honor your struggle and can offer evidence-based therapies, medications, and support services to bring you toward a healthy life you are proud of.

If you are pregnant and worried about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or alcohol addiction, it is time to put an end to the needless suffering. Your health, your life, and your family are worthy and valid.

Inpatient treatment is the most beneficial option, as it provides around the clock care. During your pregnancy, it is important to relax as much as possible not to add undue stress and hardship.

Rehabilitation Treatment Care Center

Pregnancy is never easy, but alcohol addiction and the effects of FAS make it even more difficult. FAS statistics place Native American tribal members at an increased rate of children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Generational trauma is the root cause of alcoholism and addiction among Native American tribes, caused by the United States government.


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome symptoms range from mental disorders to physical abnormalities. There is no cure for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. However, detoxification and tailored medications can clean out the body, clear the mind, and help you resist temptation during pregnancy and after giving birth.


If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction while pregnant, call the Rehabilitation Treatment Care Center today and speak to an addiction specialist. These representatives offer advice, provide resources, and connect you with the right treatment programs, therapies, and support systems to bring mother and child to a healthy life.


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