Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) - Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Mar 27, 2018
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor should I consult if my child shows symptoms suggestive of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)?

You should consult a pediatrician or child specialist.

2. I had consumed alcohol before I knew that I was pregnant. Will it affect my baby?

Stop drinking as soon as you find out. Alcohol is not safe for the baby during any stage of the pregnancy, but children of mothers who stop drinking earlier fare better. You may discuss

your concerns with your doctor.

3. If I drank during my pregnancy, will my child suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome?

Not all babies will be affected in the same manner. Other factors such as the health of mother, nutritional status, other habits such as smoking, and genetic factors may play a role too. If you suspect that your child may have FAS, consult your doctor or a child specialist to discuss your concerns.

4. Can I consume alcohol when I am planning to get pregnant?

Most women donít know they are pregnant untill about six weeks into their pregnancy. If the woman consumes alcohol during this period, the fetus is at risk from all the effects related to alcohol, including FAS. It is best to stay away from alcohol as soon as one decides to plan having a baby.

5. Will my baby get FAS if I drink while breastfeeding?

Alcohol can pass via breast milk and affect the baby in many ways. While it is best to avoid alcohol while breastfeeding, it is advised that a minimum of two hours should be allowed between drinking alcohol and breastfeeding or expressing breast milk.

6. Are there any safe limits for drinking alcohol during pregnancy?

Drinking even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can affect the fetus. There is no defined safe level for drinking. Miscarriage, premature birth and still births and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) are known to occur related to even small quantities of alcohol exposure.

7. Can FAS be cured?

At present there is no cure for fetal alcohol syndrome. However, early diagnosis and a multipronged approach with involvement of the child specialist, speech and occupational therapists, psychologist and educational counselors will help the child achieve maximum possible.

8. Are there any medicines to treat FAS?

There is no specific treatment to cure or treat fetal alcohol syndrome. However, certain classes of medications are prescribed to address the symptoms of FAS such as anxiety, depression, aggression and disruptive behavior, attention deficit, learning problems, sleep problems and anti-social behavior.

9. I have a baby with FAS. What are the chances of having another child with FAS?

There is no scientific evidence available that FAS is hereditary. There is no known risk of having another child with FAS unless the mother drinks alcohol during each pregnancy.

10. Does alcohol consumption by father affect the baby?

Drinking by the father during pregnancy is not known to cause FAS. However, it affects the sperm, and can cause low birth weight in the newborn.

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