Fetal alcohol syndrome (also called “FAS”) is a condition that causes brain damage and growth problems. It happens in babies whose mothers drank alcohol when they were pregnant. Compared with normal babies, babies with FAS tend to weigh less, have smaller heads, and be very fussy. When they grow up, they have life-long problems in how they think and behave.
What are the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome?
●A thin upper lip
●A smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose – This area is called the “philtrum.”
●Eye openings that are shorter than normal
Babies with FAS also tend to be fussy and are very sensitive to noise.
In children with FAS, symptoms can include:
●“Developmental delays” – This means they take longer to do things other children the same age can do, such as walking and talking.
●Being more active than normal
●Having weak, floppy muscles
●Having problems with learning, hearing, and seeing
In teenagers and adults with FAS, symptoms might include problems with:
●Thinking and memory
●Paying attention and concentrating
●Getting along with other people
People with FAS are often not able to keep a job or to live on their own.
How is fetal alcohol syndrome treated?
The problems caused by FAS cannot be undone. But a treatment known as “early intervention” can sometimes help. Early intervention programs have different types of experts. They will teach you how to help your child do everyday things he or she might have trouble doing, such as speaking and learning.
Is there a test for fetal alcohol syndrome?
No. There is no test. But your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if your baby or child has it by learning about his or her symptoms and doing an exam. He or she will also ask questions about how much alcohol you drank during pregnancy.
Can fetal alcohol syndrome be prevented?
Yes. Women can prevent FAS by not drinking alcohol when they are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.