Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Caring For Your Baby
British Columbia Specific Information
When you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, the safest option is to not drink alcohol at all. Drinking alcohol during your pregnancy puts your baby at risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is the leading known cause of developmental disabilities in children. Taking drugs during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may also harm your baby. This includes prohibited drugs but could also include the misuse of prescribed or over the counter drugs.
For more information about FASD, substance use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and where to find support, see Alcohol and Other Drug Use During Pregnancy or speak to your health care provider.
Caring for your baby who has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) requires special attention to detect and manage problems that he or she may have. These problems can range from mild to severe, but may include:
- Sensitivity to stimulation. Your baby may be very sensitive to touch, sounds, and light.footnote 1 Watch for things that may be overstimulating to your child. If your baby seems irritable and colicky, try to soothe him or her in a quiet, dark room. Avoid as much as possible taking your baby to places that are crowded and noisy. Don't buy clothes with tags or seams that could bother your baby's skin. Be aware that your baby may refuse to eat certain foods, may flinch at the slightest touch, and may not respond appropriately to hot or cold temperatures.
- Sucking problems. Difficulty sucking can prevent your baby from getting the nutrition he or she needs to grow and develop. Feed your baby smaller amounts more often, maybe as often as every hour. If you bottle-feed your baby, use a nipple made for a premature infant.
- Developmental problems. Talk with your doctor about milestones you should watch for and how to encourage the development of those skills. Encourage your baby's development by reading and talking to and playing with him or her often. Write down your baby's developmental achievements to help you and your doctor identify your baby's strengths and weaknesses.
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ernest L. Abel, PhD - Reproductive Toxicology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of: November 20, 2015
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