Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

What is Fetal Alcohol Disorder?

The united States Center for Disease Control described FASD as:

“Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix of these problems.”

What are the presenting features FASD?

Facial and head changes:

  • short palpebral fissures
  • hypoplastic maxilla
  • short upturned nose
  • flat philtrum
  • thin upper vermillion border
  • micrognathia or retrognathia
  • posteriorly rotated ears, occ.
  • cleft lip or palate
  • small head size
  • shorter-than-average height
  • low body weight

What are the presenting symptoms of FASD?

individuals with FASD could present with:

  • 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
  • Irritability
  • Tremulousness
  • Inconsolable crying, hypertonia
  • Seizures

What are the risk factors of FASD?

FASD is caused by mother drinking heavily during the pregnancy.

What is the best way to manage a child with FASD?

Children with FASD need to attend special educational programs. Medications might be needed to help with some of their symptoms. Parental training would be an asset in dealing with such children.

Prevention

Women at childbearing age should avoid drinking or limit their drinking only to less than 10 drinks per week. However, if you are planning to get pregnant soon or if you just learned that you are pregnant, you should stop drinking. There is no safe level of drinking during the pregnancy.

Important note:

This document is prepared by the “Mental Health for All” team. The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or care, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider properly licensed to practise medicine or general healthcare in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. Always consult with your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program. Information obtained on the Website is not exhaustive and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment.

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