Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
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What is Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?
If alcohol is consumed during pregnancy, it passes from mother to baby through the placenta. Your baby cannot process alcohol well, which means it can stay in their body for a long time. Alcohol can damage their brain and body and stop them from developing normally in the womb. This can result in the loss of the pregnancy. Babies who survive may be left with lifelong problems and could be diagnosed with FASD.
Every child is different but common characteristics of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) are problems with:
- movement, balance, vision, and hearing
- learning and behaviour, such as problems with thinking, concentration, and memory, managing emotions and developing social skills
- hyperactivity and impulse control
- communication, such as problems with speech
- the joints, muscles, bones, and organs, such as the kidneys and heart
Some children have characterised facial features such as small eyes, a thin upper lip, and a smooth philtrum (the groove between nose and upper lip). They may also have poor growth, low birth weights and small heads.
The risk is likely to be greater the more you drink. These problems are permanent, though early treatment and support can help limit their impact on a child’s life.
The Chief Medical Officers for the UK recommend that if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Experts are still unsure exactly how much – if any – alcohol is completely safe during pregnancy.
Most women do give up alcohol once they know they’re pregnant or when they’re planning to become pregnant. Women who find out they’re pregnant after already having drunk in early pregnancy should avoid further drinking. If you’re concerned, talk to a midwife or doctor.
If you need further support visit: Alcohol, drugs and substance misuse – NELC | NELC (nelincs.gov.uk)
Currently in North East Lincolnshire there is not a formal pathway for diagnosis for FASD.
In light of the NICE guidance published in March 2022, we are currently reviewing this.
At present we can provide support on a case by case basis, if you have any concerns or if you require further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.