Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (cont.)

Once a child's FAS-related developmental delays are documented, the child is eligible for curriculum modifications, special education classes, supplemental classroom aids and other services through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Because children with FAS are especially sensitive to disruption, a stable, loving home environment is important. However, caring for a child with FAS can be enormously stressful for a family because of the learning and behavioral problems associated with the syndrome. Social services, such as respite care and stress- and behavior-management services, may help families cope.

Prevention of the secondary conditions associated with FAS may be possible with educational, health and psychological services for both the child and the family. This often means working with a variety of professionals, including teachers, social workers, psychologists, physicians and nurses.


Pregnant women can prevent FAS by abstaining from alcohol throughout their pregnancies. A woman who drinks alcohol only lightly and occasionally before she realizes she is pregnant might or might not harm her developing baby. Because no amount of alcohol use during pregnancy has been proven safe, any woman who suspects that she might be pregnant should stop drinking immediately. Women who are trying to get pregnant should also avoid alcohol. This applies to all types of alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, wine coolers and liquor (such as whiskey, vodka, tequila, gin and rum).

There is no proof that drinking by a father can cause FAS in his child. However, men who stop drinking during their partner's pregnancy may be better able to help their partners avoid alcohol.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • You are or think you might be pregnant.
  • You think you have an alcohol problem or you cannot stop drinking despite your efforts to abstain.
  • You drank alcohol during your pregnancy and think your child might have FAS.

April 1999

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Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2005 11:12:02 PM