Alcohol Effects on a Fetus - Topic Overview
If you think you might have a drinking problem, talk
with your doctor, counselor, or other support person. Doing this can help you
to see and address how alcohol may affect many parts of your life, including
The child’s father as well as friends and family
members all can help the pregnant woman avoid alcohol and seek help if needed.
When are alcohol effects on a fetus diagnosed?
Signs of FASD don't always appear at birth. A doctor may be able to spot
severe alcohol effects (fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS) in the
child at birth. But less severe effects, such as behavior or learning problems,
may not be noticed until the child is in school.
doctor can find severe problems before the baby is born. If your doctor knows
about your alcohol use, he or she can order a test (ultrasound) to look for signs of FAS in your baby,
such as heart defects or growth delays. The cause of problems that are found
during the test may not be clear. But the findings alert the doctor to any
special care a baby may need after he or she is born.
What is the treatment for a child born with alcohol effects?
Caring for a child born with alcohol effects takes
patience. Help for your child may include extra support in school, social skills
training, job training, and
counseling. Community services may be able to help
your family handle the costs of and emotions from raising your child.
Finding alcohol effects early, even if they are mild, gives a
child the best chance to reach his or her full potential in life. Finding the problem early may help
prevent problems in school and mental health problems, such as
There is no treatment that can reverse the impact of alcohol on your baby's health. And there's no treatment that can make the effects less severe.