Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Alcohol can cross from the mother's blood to the baby's blood. Even a small amount of any type can harm a growing baby.
|Blood Traveling Through Mother's Placenta to Baby|
|Alcohol travels through this path and affects the baby's development, particularly the heart and brain.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Birth and growth problems depend on when the exposure happened and how much was consumed.
Babies with FAS may have:
- Low birth weight
- Small size and delayed growth
- Small head
- Small eyes
- Short, flat nose
- Flat cheeks
- Small jaws
- Misshapen ears
- Thin upper lip
- Sight and hearing problems
- Heart problems
- Small, unusually formed brain
- Problems seeing
As the infant grows, other symptoms may develop, including:
- Difficulty eating and sleeping
- Delayed speech
- Learning disabilities
- Intellectual disability
- Poor coordination
- Behavior problems
- Lack of impulse control
- Problems getting along with other children
Children do not outgrow these problems. Teens and adults often have social and emotional problems. They may also have:
- Problems at school
- Problems keeping a job
- Trouble living on one's own
- Mental health problems
- Alcohol or drug dependence
- Anxiety problems
- Anger problems
- Legal problems
There is no one treatment for FAS. Early intervention is helpful, as well as a supportive, nurturing home. The doctor may advise hearing and vision tests, as well as testing for any other health problems from FAS.
Professional support helps a family cope with caring for a child with special needs. This includes parent training. You can learn ways to handle behavioral problems and stress.
Programs designed to meet your child's needs can help with learning. Messages may need to be repeated. Tasks may need to be broken down into smaller steps.
A supportive environment:
- Provides direction and structure
- Keeps to routines
- Uses basic rules, limits, and consequences
- Praising good behaviors
- Doesn't use threats and violence. These raise the risk that the child will learn to react in a the same way. Your child may need special training to learn ways to handle anger.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Alcohol in Pregnancy; Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy; FAS)
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation http://www.kidshealth.org
March of Dimes https://www.marchofdimes.org
Greater Toronto Area Intergroup http://aatoronto.org
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
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