How do you know if your baby has fetal alcohol syndrome?

It can be challenging to diagnose Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in infants, as some of the characteristic physical and cognitive symptoms may not become apparent until later in childhood. However, if a pregnant woman has consumed alcohol during pregnancy, or if there is a history of alcohol use during pregnancy, it is important to be aware of the potential signs and symptoms of FAS in infants.

The following signs may indicate the presence of FAS in an infant:

  1. Facial abnormalities: Infants with FAS may have distinctive facial features, including a smooth philtrum (the groove between the nose and upper lip), thin upper lip, and small eye openings.
  2. Growth deficiencies: Infants with FAS may have low birth weight, small head circumference, and overall growth deficiencies.
  3. Developmental delays: Infants with FAS may have delays in developmental milestones, including rolling over, sitting up, and crawling.
  4. Cognitive and behavioral problems: Infants with FAS may be irritable, have difficulty with feeding and sleeping, and may later develop intellectual disabilities, attention problems, and behavioral challenges.

If you suspect that your infant may have FAS, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate care. Diagnosing FAS often involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes a physical examination, developmental assessment, and specialized testing. Early intervention services, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and behavioral therapy, can help address developmental delays and cognitive impairments and improve outcomes for infants with FAS.