Fetal Alcohol Sydrome

November 14, 2009 at 12:01 am 3 comments

Fetal alcohol syndrome refers to growth, mental, and physical problems that may occur in a baby when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy.

Symptoms
A baby with fetal alcohol syndrome may have the following symptoms:
  • Poor growth while the baby is in the womb and after birth
  • Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination
  • Delayed development and significant functional problems in three or more major areas: thinking, speech, movement, or social skills (as expected for the baby’s age)
  • Heart defects such as ventricular septal defect (VSD) or atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Structural problems with the face, including:
    • Narrow, small eyes with large epicanthal folds
    • Small head
    • Small upper jaw
    • Smooth groove in upper lip
    • Smooth and thin upper lip
Tests & diagnosis

A physical exam of the baby may reveal a heart murmur or other heart problems. As the baby grows, there may be signs of delayed mental development. There also may be structural problems of the face and skeleton.

Tests include:

  • Blood alcohol level in pregnant women who show signs of being drunk (intoxicated)
  • Brain imaging studies (CT or MRI) shows abnormal brain development
  • Pregnancy ultrasound shows slowed growth of the fetus
Prevention

Avoiding alcohol during pregnancy prevents fetal alcohol syndrome. Counseling can help prevent recurrence in women who have already had a child with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Sexually active women who drink heavily should use birth control and control their drinking behaviors, or stop using alcohol before trying to conceive.

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Entry filed under: fetal alcohol syndrome. Tags: , .

Alcohol and Weight Gain Teens and Alcohol

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. laurafernsten  |  November 25, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I can’t BELIEVE that pregnant women DRINK while they are PREGNANT! I want to knock sense into them when they do it ! I don’t understand why they do it !! It makes me so mad.

    Reply
    • 2. taykendall  |  November 30, 2009 at 10:59 pm

      The reason they still drink when their pregnant is because they are addicted. The main way for us to combat FAS is to stop alcoholism before pregnancy. Not sure how to do that, but it is something that needs to be done.

      Reply
  • 3. carolinetheparent  |  December 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks for writing about this.
    I live with my adopted daughter who suffers this affliction. We all suffer from the difficulties she encounters everyday: she looks different, she acts different, she thinks differently from the rest of us.
    I video blog about it as I have found that a good way to help her is by movement therapy.

    Reply

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